Come Spring and the mind summons the Easter scene – unfolding as if in slow motion, spreading out like a grand Monet on a green-washed park tucked into a rippling river-bend. Distant church bells chime rhythmically, as bouncy rope-skippers chant sing-song ditties, and daisies nod along eagerly. Whispering fronds of tall willows trail little girls in pastel dresses..while the boys, scrubbed clean, have no thoughts to spare for spiffy, formal duds.
Squeaky swings sway back and forth with these little ones cradled in, as diligent Dads watch on, and the multitasking Moms check on table settings and tuck colorful eggs under the bushes while Cottontail bunnies acquiesce from close quarters. When the egg hunt begins, the frantic hunters outplay the coy ones, their spoils piled high in bright baskets, scampering around toddlers plopped on the grass, captivated with the first sweet surprise found. Unto this charming setting, we tote our Cashew Kissed Cookies – dainty, fluffy confections speckled with a cashew crunch, for you and yours to savor at your Easter table.
Cashew-Kissed Cookies (Meringues)
(Makes about 50 small cookies)
2 Egg whites, at room temperature (See Note)
½ Teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 Cup castor sugar (See Note)
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Cup roasted chopped cashewnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Clean and thoroughly dry a mixing bowl and the beaters of your electric mixer. Pour in the egg whites and start whipping them until they are frothy and multiplied in volume. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating for a minute or so. As the mixture thickens, keep the mixer going and start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl often. The batter will turn a lustrous white and become very thick. When stiff peaks can be seen upon lifting the beaters, blend the vanilla in and fold in the cashews.
You can pipe out the cookies using a zip-top bag or an icing bag without a nozzle, with about half an inch of the bag’s tip cut out. This will ensure that all the cookies look similar and are of the same size. Squeeze out mounds that are about an inch tall, in neat rows and columns, or just use 2 teaspoons to plop some interesting shapes onto the baking sheets. Put the sheets in the oven , switch the oven off and leave them in undisturbed to dry for about 2 hours. At this time, taste a cookie to see if it has crisped all the way through to the inside. If not, turn the oven on to 200°F and bake for half an hour or so until the meringues are no longer soft and chewy in the middle.
These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of days, if you are making them a little ahead of your Easter egg hunt. Be warned though, and we share from personal experience here, that it takes a strong will to keep from wolfing down a bunch of these cookies at a time, especially knowing that there’s not even a whiff of fat or cholesterol in these airy little Sweet Nuthings.
- Separate the egg whites when the eggs are cold, right out of the fridge and reserve the yolks for another use. Then, allow the whites to come to room temperature before starting the recipe.
- If even a trace of the egg yolk stains your whites, it is better to save that egg for your breakfast omelette. Wash and dry the mixing bowl again before separating a new egg for the recipe.
- As with all baking recipes, have all the ingredients ready before you start beating.
- To make castor sugar, grind regular granulated sugar in your food processor/mixie until powdery, and then measure out 2/3 cup for this recipe.
- Avoid making meringues on a rainy day, since the humidity will keep them from getting crisp. In case of a baking emergency, try and counter this by baking them longer.
- The cookies should remain pale. If they start browning, turn down the oven immediately.