Monday, 17 January 2011

Cashew Nut Cookies

Chinese New Year, the first day in the new year of the lunar calendar, falls on the 3rd of February, and where I come from, that usually means extensive visiting of extended relatives for families, monetary gifts in red packets (angpow in the local language) for the children, and biscuits, sweets and all forms of confectionery for all. Over here in London however, scores of working professionals and students would either gather around a table and reminisce about home, hopefully with festive treats brought here. For those unfortunate to be without friends or treats however, the experience can often be one of isolation, even loneliness. I cannot do much about the former (other than to advise to get out more, especially for the events organised by the government back home), but I can certainly hope to take care of the latter by providing a relevantly-themed post, hopefully to encourage others to try baking Chinese New Year goodies to alleviate some of the homesickness my friends may be experiencing.

While searching for recipes, I came across this post, and have been struck by the thought that despite being separated by two continents and the Mediterranean Sea, I am able to mark the occasion in solidarity with fellow countrymen (or countrywomen as the case might be) through the blogosphere. I was hoping to participate in Aspiring Bakers #3: My Favorite CNY Cookie (Jan 2011), but unfortunately, the cookies did not turn out well. More on that later.

In keeping with the general theme of this blog however, and bearing in mind the general background of my readers, I will stick to using only Sainsbury's Basics ingredients where possible. Today's featured item in the Sainsbury's Basics range is their Roasted Cashew Nuts. I had to trek to the Sainsbury's hypermarket in Finchley Road in order to get one of these, having no luck finding them in my local one. I realise that being salted, they may not actually be suitable for use in baking cashew nut cookies, but I figured that I could probably get away with rinsing them briefly before use. These offer pretty good value, giving you 200g of cashew nuts for less than half the price per unit weight compared to the higher-priced option, but you will have to contend with varying sizes, and nut halves compared to say, the whole nuts you get in Sainsbury's Jumbo Cashews.

The recipe that I will be using for this post can be found at My Kitchen Snippets. For brevity's sake, I will not quote the recipe verbatim, sticking to posting photos, with additional commentary when appropriate. I have left out the vanilla essence in the recipe, and aside from the ingredients that I have taken in the photo above, I will be using regular caster sugar, baking powder and cornflour.

Unfortunately, most of the cookies other than the nine shown above completely crumbled on transfer to a surface to cool. This is all that's left. On the positive side though, they did taste like the cookies I remembered from home, so I guess it's a bittersweet conclusion to this post.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Roasted Salted Cashews£1.32200g+£0.39 for 100gMore consistent sizes, whole nuts instead of halves.

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