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Salted Cashew Crunch Cookies

January 20, 2013

If I thought testing three scone recipes was hard, nothing could have prepared me for the class I just finished.  In Advanced Baking Principles, we were required to take a control recipe (I chose scones, of course) and modify it to cater to different dietary needs.  I made gluten-free, vegan, and reduced-calorie scones.  Arriving at those final recipes required 17 different trial batches.

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Honestly, I really enjoyed testing recipes and learning more about ingredients like sugar replacers, egg replacers, and non-wheat flour blends.  There’s something to be said for perfecting a recipe before you share it with others, and making positive changes to any recipe requires an impressive control over the scientific basics of baking.  If I’d had more time, I definitely would have done more trials of all of my scones; I could have been happier with the final results, even after the better part of 20 test batches.

But man, when I finally pulled my last batch of scones out of the oven, I was determined to make something else.  Anything else.  Something chock full of fat, gluten, and animal products.  The more calories the better!  ANYTHING.

The first recipe I decided to try was these salted cashew crunch cookies.  Just after I put them in the oven, I realized that, in the Universe’s penchant for irony, these cookies were gluten-free.  And, of course, they were absolutely delicious.

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A quick note regarding the salt level of these cookies: in order to maintain their status as “salted” rather than “salty,” be conscious of the products you add.  If you use cashews that are pre-salted, reduce the amount of salt in the dough.  If you only have iodized salt in your kitchen, don’t sprinkle it on top of these cookies, as it doesn’t act the same way as sea salt does.  Instead, use it to lightly salt the nuts when you toast them.

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Whether you need to eat gluten-free or just enjoy oat-filled cookies as much as I do, these are a fantastic addition to any recipe collection.  Enjoy!

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Salted Cashew Crunch Cookies

Adapted from Bake or Break

2 c (200 g) rolled oats  *use certified gluten-free oats for a truly gluten-free product

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 c (4 oz) butter

3/4 c (158 g) sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 c (288 g) cashews, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

Maldon sea salt, as needed

1. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the rolled oats for 30 seconds, or until a coarse oat flour forms.  In a small bowl, combine the blended oats with the salt and baking powder.  Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix just until combined, scraping down the bowl well.

3. Add the combined dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fold in the chopped cashews.

4. Scoop the cookies by the rounded tablespoon onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.  These cookies will not spread, so use the bottom of a glass or a greased palm to flatten the cookies slightly.

5. Sprinkle very lightly with Maldon sea salt and bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown.  Allow to cool completely before devouring.

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