There’s something about cardamom that really gets me. It has this faraway way about it — like your eyes are closed and you’re not actually where you think you are.
I remember when I tried my first chai tea latte. I was in high school and I was working at this coffee shop in downtown Niantic. It was a great place to work. On the weekends, we baked big, fat, size-of-your-head muffins, and everyday we sold bucketfuls of Cafe du Monde chicory roast. We never had much business, so I often worked in the shop on my own, and my friends would drop by and keep me company. We ate a lot of muffins. And ice cream, and bagels, and cinnamon rolls — all the things that only teenagers can manage to independently sustain themselves on. We also drank a lot of chai tea lattes. I have had many jobs, but none as quite as wonderful as my job at Mariner’s Cafe.
Chai is specific. It’s like BBQ sauce or banana bread. When it’s right, it’s so right, but it can certainly be gotten wrong. If all the ingredients are there — the cardamom most importantly — and they’re in the right proportion, you turn a key and something is unlocked. And then you’re somewhere else — and, if you also happen to have some cashews, you are somewhere else with a snack.
Spiced Chai Honey-Roasted Cashews — Gluten-Free and Paleo.
Adapted from Joy The Baker.
- 3 cups raw cashews
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + a bit more to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (less if you prefer your nuts less spicy)
- 3 tablespoons honey
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with oil or cooking spray. Place the cashews on the lined baking sheet and toast in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a small bowl. After the nuts have toasted, remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool a bit. Drizzle with the honey and, using your hands, toss to coat them evenly. Sprinkle the spice mixture and continue to toss with your hands. Spread the cashews out on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a bit more sea salt, to taste.
Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for an additional 8 minutes. When they are finished, remove them from the parchment and place on a plate or in storage jars as soon as possible. The honey will harden and they will be difficult to remove when they have cooled completely.