The U.S. Presidential Election is on Tuesday. Even here in storm-ravaged New York City, alongside images of the havoc left by Sandy, newspapers and magazine covers are adorned by the determined visages of Obama and Romney. As the sun comes up over the Big Apple this weekend after days of gloomy skies, electricity has finally returned to most of Manhattan. As I’m out getting the Sunday morning newspaper, I can hear fellow New Yorkers asking each other which subway lines are running and speculating on who will win the election. I get caught up on the election myself, wading through dizzying numbers of articles and news reports about polls and theories by various pundits. As Canadians living in the United States, like all foreigners with green cards, Sean and I can’t vote in the election but we certainly pay taxes. So, we sort of have to pay close attention. It looks like it will be a tight race between Obama and Romney, and you can be sure that between now and late Tuesday night we’ll hear all about battleground swing states, how Sandy has disrupted voter turnout, and the technological weaknesses of electronic voting. Some predict Tuesday will be a very long night, depending on how things go.
As we all wait to see what happens, here’s a tasty snack that you can enjoy while watching the election results roll in: Sweet & Spicy Glazed Cashews! These cashews are seriously addictive, so whether you’re nervous, excited, or dispassionate about the election, you can happily munch on these on Tuesday night. I found the recipe a couple of years ago and have made it several times, modifying it to make it foolproof. It yields 3 cups of glazed cashews that are richly sweet, lip-smackingly salty, and spiked with red chilli all at the same time. They usually disappear as soon as I put them on the table. My dad eats them by the handful until we tell him to slow down. It keeps for a long time in a glass jar + makes for a great gift idea if you tie a red ribbon around it.
The original recipe calls for white granulated sugar, but I find that using maple syrup produces better results as it gives the cashews a richer, nuttier taste.
Sweet & Spicy Glazed Cashews (adapted slightly)
- 3 cups unsalted cashews, unroasted
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (you might need a touch more)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Spread cashews out on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350F degrees. Allow to bake until cashews are golden brown in color (15 minutes). Keep an eye on them in case your oven is hotter than average — mine needed exactly 15 minutes, no more.
- Remove from oven and slide nuts onto a platter to cool slightly.
- Place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil plus the chili flakes and cayenne pepper. Stir the chili into the oil.
- When oil is hot (flakes and cayenne should begin to sizzle a little), add the nuts. Stir-fry until nuts are coated with chili oil (about 20 seconds).
- Add the salt stir well. Then add the maple syrup. Stir-fry constantly about 1 minute. Don’t over-cook or it will burn.
- Remove from heat. Slide nuts onto a sheet of wax paper and cool. While cooling, taste it and see if it needs anything extra. You can add another sprinkling of dried chili flakes if it’s not spicy enough. Add a little more salt if you prefer them saltier.
- Enjoy your sweet and spicy cashews on their own as a snack, or with beer or party drinks. These nuts are also excellent in salads.
Recipe adapted from Easy Glazed Nut Recipe