In eighth grade Spanish class, we were asked to bring in an authentic Mexican dish to share with the class. I brought homemade cinnamon churros and chocolate sauce.
These treats were my first foray into the wide world of deep frying, and I remember admiringly peering into the stock pot full of oil as the little pockets of dough puffed up and became something.
And then I tossed them in cinnamon sugar and dunked them in chocolate.
These days, I think of the chocolate and cinnamon combination to be a mature one. I’m not sure why. I think it’s the traditional third element of a spicy heat, which, in the case of these spicy cashews, comes in the form of cayenne powder. Cocoa, cinnamon, and fire: The trifecta of the Mexican Chocolate Experience.
But, as much as a Mexican-spiced chocolate makes me feel like an Adult Chocolate Lover, it also makes me feel a bit like an eighth grader in my mother’s kitchen, frying donuts for the first time in my life. And loving every moment of it.
For me, these cashews touch both of those two places. They are fancy-adjacent, but they also recall something — and the splendor of the former and the significance of the latter are not lost on me. Not at all.
Mexican Chocolate Honey-Roasted Cashews.
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch of cayenne (to taste!)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- sea salt
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 cocoa powder, cinnamon, and cayenne 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 cocoa and 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.