You know when you have this really great idea in your head that you just have to try? You’re so convinced that it’s going to work out a certain way and think that it’ll be the most amazing thing ever…right?
Enter these cookies.
I’m so wired to think “peanut butter cookies” that all of the other nut butters have just never stood a chance. Then a few weeks ago, my brain woke up. Cashew butter…I could just swap it for the peanut butter, right? Brilliant! Oh, and what do I associate with cashews? Caramel, of course! (Ben & Jerry might be responsible.) Nuts…caramel…SALT! Eureeeeeka.
Joy the Baker (I know, I just mentioned her in my last post!) posted a recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies that is awesome because it only involves four ingredients. I made them several months ago, and they were a hit among gluten-free and gluten-full friends and colleagues. A few even asked for the recipe! I thought about just subbing cashew butter for the peanut butter, but then was curious about what cashew butter recipes might be lurking around the internets. One of the first recipes I found was very similar, but used an extra egg and a bit more baking soda. Sure, why not!
So, with the assumption that these cookies would behave somewhat like the peanut butter ones, I planned to put halved caramels on top and sprinkle them with salt. Wellll, this dough was more like normal cookie dough and also spreads quite a bit. In fact, it spread faster than the caramel melted, so there were little caramel squares in the middle of big, flat cookies, which is not what I was going for. [EDIT: turns out my aunt prefers these!] My next idea was to put whole caramels inside the dough, then sprinkle salt on top. Success! And so my idea of cookies with melted salted caramel on top turned into salted pillow cookies…I’m okay with that!
Flourless Salted Cashew Butter and Caramel Cookies
adapted from The Merlin Menu
The next time I make this recipe, I would try 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. I also think that maybe they wouldn’t have spread quite so flat if the temperature of the oven weren’t so hot, so I’d try 350F instead of 375F. It’s good as is, though! (I’m in an experimental mood.)
1 cup cashew butter
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup brown)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
caramels (about 24)
coarse salt, such as kosher or sea salt
1. Cream together the cashew butter and the sugar.
2. Add the eggs and baking soda (and salt if you’re using it) and thoroughly combine.
3. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F (or see my note above) towards the end.
4. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, drop tablespoonfuls of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart. (I put 9 on a sheet, which was perfect.)
5. Place a caramel in the middle of each dough ball, then add a little more dough on top (~1/2 tsp). Cover the caramels completely with the dough above and below them.
6. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the tops of each and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are slightly brown around the edges.
These somewhat delicate cookies are a combination of light, chewy, more chewy, and of course, sweet and salty. Bonus: you can make these for your friends and family with wheat and dairy allergies and everyone will love them!