There's something so nostalgic about peanut butter cookies. I don't recall making them all that often with my mother (I think we made them more often in my Girl Scout troop), and yet, they call to mind the days when my mittens were clipped to my coat and my feet would dangle off the edge of my chair.
My favorite peanut butter cookies are barely cookies - just peanut butter and sugar bound together with egg. Regular peanut butter cookie recipes seem to lack that real nutty flavor, so I usually use this recipe and forget about using flour all together.
As I looked for a cashew cookie recipe to make for a coworker's birthday (she eats cashews all the time, so I thought it would be a nice touch), I came across a recipe in an old Martha Stewart magazine that looked good. A few tweaks here and there (what, you expect me to buy the right kind of brown sugar?!), and I had to stop myself from devouring them all straight out of the oven. I had found a cookie that tasted strongly of nuts but still had flour (so they're less fragile than the flourless ones). This might just be my new go-to for nut butter cookies.
For this batch, I followed the instructions for mixing in the crushed nuts, then baking as balls and flattening (I used the bottom of a glass) a few minutes into baking. That worked fine, but they're not very pretty. I would suggest a few ways of making them look nicer. Try omitting the chopped nuts, then press a whole cashew into the middle of the cookie after flattening. Or leave in the chopped cashews, but flatten with a fork (a la old school peanut butter cookies). The original recipe called for a drizzle of caramel (which would, of course, make these very pretty), but I think the caramel would make the cookies too sweet, and you'd miss a lot of the cashew flavor.
Cashew Cookies (adapted from a Martha Stewart cookie magazine) (specifically this issue)
2 1/2 cups salted cashews (or 1 cup cashews and 1 cup cashew butter)
2 Tbsp canola oil (omit if using cashew butter)
1 stick salted butter, softened
3/4 packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350°. Roughly chop 1 cup of cashews and set aside. In a food processor, chop remaining nuts until fine; add oil and process until creamy. (Obviously, skip this step if using jarred cashew butter).
Combine cashew butter, butter, and sugars in a bowl and beat until fluffy and uniform, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Slowly add in flour and chopped cashews.
Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place evenly (about 2 inches apart) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 6 minutes, then flatten slightly (see note above about different ways to flatten); bake for another 6 or 7 minutes or until edges just start to brown. Cool on a wire rack.