Day 263 – National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day

I can get behind any day that celebrates nuts and chocolate, and I’ve certainly seen my share of them. When I saw this one on the calendar, I didn’t get that worried because I was pretty confident on how to make them. I’ve made other chocolate covered nuts before and this would be the same thing. The only difference was the introduction of cashews, but from an execution stand point, it doesn’t matter what nut you put in the chocolate – the process is the same. So when I was at the store the other day, I picked up some roasted, salted cashews and my plan for celebrating today was to just cover them in chocolate.

When I think of cashews, I think of my sister because she has always been a big fan. In fact, at some point in her younger years, she would even ask for a can of them for Christmas – something she could have all to herself. I think that’s what happens when you are the youngest child and you have two older brothers that are pretty quick at a buffet line – you start coveting the crumbs that trickle down to you. You hold on to your favorite foods like they are treasure. That’s why there was always an oddly wrapped can under the Christmas tree every year with her name on it. In a cruel twist, her son is actually allergic to cashews (a lesson she learned the hard way), so she doesn’t usually keep a secret stash of them in her house, although I’m sure she still craves them. I can’t imagine that she would object to ones that are covered in chocolate.

I didn’t really know chocolate covered cashews was a thing, although it doesn’t surprise me. I would have figured it would be a specialty items at one of those fancy food mail order places like Harry & David’s or William Sonoma. But apparently they have found their way into the snack aisle (or is it the nut aisle? maybe the chocolate aisle?). They can indeed be found in most stores and are readily available with brand names such as Planter’s, Godiva and even Ghirardellis. They are a thing. I could have gone super easy and just picked up a bag today, but I knew they were easy enough to make so I stuck to my original plan.

I made them this morning before work. They really only take about 15 minutes from start to finish. You melt your chocolate first and I was using the standard Nestle semisweet chocolate morsels. I put a pot of water on the stove, brought it to a boil, and then placed another pan on top where the chocolate went in and melted double-boiler style. I also added in about a tablespoon of coconut oil. Adding a fat to the chocolate helps it melt easier and allows it to cover the nut more. When it was all completely melted, I dropped the nuts into the chocolate right from the bag (I was using Emerald Nuts brand which seem to be pretty good – no broken pieces or scraps). When the nuts were all covered, I took them out with a fork and placed them on a sheet pan on a layer of parchment paper. Then I put them in the fridge to chill. Then I had to go to work. It was going to be a long day at work so I made sure I got the nuts done early in the day so I wouldn’t have to worry about it on the other end.

I got home about ten hours later and took them out of the fridge. I had to break them up a little as they dried in clumps, but they still came out looking good. They were nice and chocolatey and the salt form the nuts came through on every bite. Cashews have kind of their own unique taste to them. They are like a peanut, but softer and a little bit more flavorful. The addition of chocolate to them was a good pairing. The chocolate was still chilled and so each bite had a thick crunch to it which made them even better.

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I made myself a little something to eat when I got home and then I was kind of craving something sweet for dessert. I had the cashews available, but kind of had the ice cream hankering. Then I realized that ice cream and chocolate covered cashews would be a pretty good combination. So I scooped out a bowl of vanilla and topped it with some of the fresh nuts. It still needed a little something extra. Normally I would add in chocolate syrup to the ice cream, but that would mean I was having chocolate on chocolate action. I decided to use some caramel topping instead. All in all, I made myself a nice little treat.

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Someone should tell Ben & Jerry about this. It was super good and the perfect way to end a long day. After my snack, I sat down and worked on this (my blog entry for today). Usually I work on that the morning after a celebration, but because I have to work tomorrow and Lola is coming home tomorrow night, I knew my Saturday morning would be busy cleaning up and making it look like I wasn’t living the bachelor life for the last five days. I’ll make the bed, put away my clothes, tidy up and you know – just make it look nice. That covers up my path of laziness and also means Lola can come in to a comfy home. I have a short window in the morning to get it all done, so I figured I’d bang this out tonight (especially when riding the sugar high of the ice cream). I’ll be excited to see her.

Chocolate covered cashews are delicious – there’s no doubt about that. Cashews seem particularly amenable to having a nice coat of chocolate on them. The taste of the cashew just melds well with the sweet chocolate, plus the saltiness from the nuts broaden the overall flavor. It’s a good time and I would even say they were better than chocolate covered peanuts. Cashews are at the top of the nut world in my book. Plus they make a great topping on vanilla ice cream.

Next up: National Jelly Bean Day 

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