Saturday, October 29, 2016

Indian cashew fudge (caju apples)

This post comes in wake of a monumentous holiday that people in India celebrate. Known as the festival of lights, it is one I could never fully comprehend, but honestly loved when everything in the city I first lived in post-adult (and I still don't think I've grown up) was illuminated with colorful bulbs, dancing people, loudspeaker music and of course, honeyed confections. It can be likened to a Christmas/New Year/July Fourth party, all in same room. Where the sweetmakers/confection artists across the streets of the Indian subcontinent work overtime so people could merrymake a bit more tastily. And really, would you pass by a day that mandated boxes of neatly arranged dessert be parcel to good fortune? That too, people, from a nation unashamed to bust out copious amounts of sweetmeat in salute to public celebrations/personal birthdays/anniversaries/inlaw-coworker-stranger-on-road appeasement, even births of  your neighbor's four children.

Caju, translated cashew, for those of you illiterate in the Indian national language, myself included,  is our Iron chef ingredient today. These snacking nuts are ground to a form, just shy of butter. A powder-soft sift that your Ninja processor helps you achieve, combined with only one other necessary element, turns pliant in your own hands, or if you're like me, again with aid of machine. The results: a thick soft candy made impressively with Just Two Ingredients and can beyond doubt make the world a better place.

Within minutes(no kidding) we see mini-spheres of a super popular package filler, likes of which people spend time and money, to just get in on the spirit.

For the many of whom in no way can fathom how this could taste, I feel for you, but not too long. Think it to be the peanut butter ball, swapping the creamed peanut with an elevated substitute, that of creamed/cooked cashew. Trust you can see this is insane. Taken beyond levels that truly have you envision sugared possibilities transcending all reason.

There are recipes claiming that sugar syrup is absolute prerequisite to mold our dough treats into apple rounds. I may commit heresy now, by proposing that you really don't need that addition of labor. A base, where sugar is mere dissolved, with the powdered nut stirred and combined works in unison to lean forward for equally, maybe more mindboggling worthiness.

Moreover, if you can bring yourself to overlook the the cup and throw of sugar, even replacing white for raw, you may be keen to see the gluten-free/paleo prospect in the making. Health purists, do you hear?  It's gold at the end of a righteous rainbow.

There it is. All done within a few hours. For you to create your own Diwali. Holiday. Memory.

Thus, it may surely light up nightly dessert rotations, outlooks, even lives.

Apple painting. It's therapeutic.
In the name of tastetesting:  I consumed about 10 "apples" in one sitting. No need to mention the Two that share roof with me were not at all pleased.
  • 1 cup cashews (I used roasted, salted)
  • 1-2 strands saffron
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • red food grade gel color
  • handful whole cloves
  • In a food processor, pulse the cashews to a dry fine powder, making sure of it not becoming and oily greasy, butter form. Add saffron stands and pulse 2-3 more times.
  • In a deep set pan add sugar, water. Have it it come to a boil, with sugar fully dissolved, approximately one- two  minutes.
  • Mix in the  powdered cashew. 
  • Stir mixture until it pulls off from sides and becomes thick and glossy. Like fudge.
  • Add ghee. Stir to incorporate.
  • Transfer this dough to a greased sheet pan or parchment and once able to touch(should still be warm) knead a few minutes until dough becomes pliable and smooth. If it stays sticky add drops of ghee, slightly,  one at time and turn dough out until smooth and shiny.
  • Shape into one inch balls. Remember you are food artist. We are thinking baby apples here. So work it to your best.
  • Take the paint brush and dip into red paint to your heart's desire. You can have it resemble your favorite  Braeburn/Jonagold/Honeycrisp. All good.
  • Top with a clove for the stem. Other than looks, you need it. It scents/flavors so very well.
The "kneading" can be in the food processor, after it is combined/ reduced with the syrup. Just pulse until a smooth dough forms.

I have used roasted, salted cashews, not plain raw, which is what more traditional recipes call for. Because. I like it better:-)

Ghee is totally optional. The nuts have natural oils that come through after the processing/kneading.

Showing me some love in ways that extend beyond our dialogue here would be greatly beneficial, especially since I belted out three posts in The Month Of October. I don't have a load of  happening social media, but we can change that ;- ) If you like it here, do like it there, Instagram, FB, even rev up the almost defunct twitter feed.  So, follow on. Like up.
Without getting too creepy in the process:-)
Exotic holiday mood? Try this~
Vermicelli pudding
Jackfruit kheer
Jesus. True Light. Never disappoints. Never leaves. He "keeps my lamp burning"(Ps 18:28), enlivening, illuminating, guiding, enlightening.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." (John 1:4 KJV)


  1. So pretty! My kids love kaju katli and I don't know why I am not making it for them...

  2. So beautiful! Those are some very different fudges...wish I could have one :-))


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!