Living most of my early childhood out in the country, my family and I often went “uptown” on the weekends to shop at the big department stores. I can vividly remember walking past the beautifully dressed sidewalk windows and through the heavy glass doors of the first floor entry. Just inside, we came upon the nut and candy display. Narrow trays of every conceivable nut sat warm and glistening under the curved glass cabinet, perfectly lit from the Art Deco chandeliers above.
I knew no matter how miserable the shopping trip became — as my mom and grandmother dragged me all over that store — I’d feast on a small white bag of nuts on the way out. It was the promise at the end of our day. Even now, warm cashews make me smile.
A friend shared her twist on Ina Garten’s delicious Rosemary Cashews recipe, which I share with you today. Heavenly Contessa Cashews are a grown-up version of my childhood favorite. My friend uses roasted, lightly salted cashews and bakes a sweet and savory mixture on the nuts, giving them a deep, spicy flavor.
Preheating the oven is the longest step to these warm and savory cashews. Preparing them is hardly the struggle that shopping with a preschooler is, but you’ll still smile with satisfaction at your first nibble.
Heavenly Contessa Cashews
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
2 cups (lightly salted and roasted) whole fancy cashews
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons dark or light brown sugar
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss together nuts with rosemary, sugar, pepper (if using), and butter until mixed well. Spread in single layer on prepared sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until warmed through. Serve warm or cool and store until ready to serve.
Approximate values per 2 tablespoon serving: 132 calories, 10 g fat (2.2 g saturated), 2 mg cholesterol, 3.5 g protein, 6.6 g carbohydrates, 0.7 g dietary fiber, 36 mg sodium.