Cashew Curry Cookie Do-Over

As I write this, for possibly the first time ever, my Instagram feed on this blog has no pictures of food. At all. Instead, it's flooded with images from my trip to Wyoming last week. I have a lot to share about the mountains and the geysers and the huckleberries but I'm still working my way through approximately 1000 pictures, so this week it's all about cookies!

Unbaked Cashew Curry Cookies.jpg

These just might be the heaviest cookies ever created.

If I were to hand you one but you are allergic to tree nuts, you could use it as a paperweight.

You could play hockey with one.

You could go skeet shooting.

You could do anything else requiring a small, dense disk-shaped object.

But if you can eat them, then do. The unassuming tan and beige color scheme masks their exotic nature, and I promise you they are goooooooood.

Their origin, however, was not so amazing. San Francisco is a great food town (duh) with a lot of restaurants and bakeries and tea shops and bars in my own neighborhood but infinitely more outside of it. So sometimes I trek over to another neighborhood for a long-anticipated meal at some buzzy place or other. On one of these occasions I found myself walking at 7 am on a Saturday all the way down to the Mission, passing tents with still sleeping occupants under the freeway and encountering only a muttering gentleman who seemed very surprised to have company that early, to breakfast at a much lauded bakery, to try everything on their menu except the item they are most famous for (because I have weird food dislikes).  But I found other items on the menu that, upon seeing them, seemed to me to be the most strange or brilliant idea ever and so I ordered them. And then I ate them. And they were so, so BORING. 

The most underwhelming was a cookie, appearing of the peanut butter variety, but claiming to in fact contain cashew butter instead, with a healthy flavor enhancement of curry. But all it tasted like was a plain peanut butter cookie. It didn't even really smell or taste anything like curry. Great idea, no execution. I resolved on the spot to try to do better in my own kitchen. Months later, I finally got around to it.  These cookies smell like curry, taste like curry without being overpowered by it, and the cashew is subtle but unmistakably there. I'd say I NAILED IT.

If it sounds like I'm really encouraging you to never visit this bakery, I should add that I have since been back, and they sell many delicious items, most especially a chocolate sour dough bread that is just plain dangerous to be around. And I no longer have to haul myself all the way to another neighborhood to get it, since from the looks of it they finally started construction on the second outpost scheduled to open Spring 2015!*

*Sure, it's almost Labor Day but at least maybe this means I'll have chocolate bread within walking distance by Christmas!

Curried Cashew Cookies

Inspired by Craftsman and Wolves and adapted from Martha. Makes about 1 dozen cookies.

For the cookies

3/4 cup cashew butter (store bought or homemade, see below recipe)
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup cashews, for garnish

Cashew Butter

8 oz raw cashews (1 3/4 cup)
1 tsp canola oil
pinch sea salt

  1. Make cashew butter. Heat oven to 300 degrees. On a baking sheet, stir together cashews, oil, and salt, and then roast 25 minutes until very fragrant, stirring a few times. Let cool, then puree in a food processor. This should make about 3/4 cup.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer on medium speed, combine cashew butter, butter, both sugars, and curry powder until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.  
  3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. 
  4. When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll 1/4 cup scoops of dough into large balls, place them on the cookie sheet 1 inch apart and then press flat. Garnish with cashews.  
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until cookies harden and begin to split around the edges , rotating sheets halfway.