When unpacking a box recently, I ran across my cookbook for vegan cheeses and sauces and thought I’d post about cashew cream this morning. The key to enjoying these nut cheeses and sauces is not to compare them to traditional cheeses and cheese sauces. They are different. They do not taste the same….but they are very good, and if you are trying to live without or cut back on dairy, they can work very well. That said, I guarantee you will not like them if you compare them to the “real” thing Think of them as their own entities…These are cheeses that are new and different and they do NOT taste like “real” cheeses, ok?
Open your mind and your taste buds and you’ll be blown away, because they taste really good!
Cashew cream is the new black. It is rich and full of flavor, but does not have the nasty side affects of dairy cream.
- Add the water to the measuring cup and microwave on high for a minute, until it is steaming. Pour the cashews into the hot water and set aside for 1 hour.
- Pour the cashews and their water into a blender and blend on high for a few minutes until it is very smooth. Add extra water 1 Tbsp at a time to get it to flow smoothly and quickly through the blender blades. Rub it between your fingers; you should not feel any graininess. Set aside.
Here is a recipe for Cashew Cream Caramels:
- ½ cup cashews
- ⅔ cup water + extra if needed
- 6 Tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ cups white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment so that it hangs over the edges. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
- Measure our your water in a 2-cup measuring cup and heat in the microwave until boiling. Add the cashews and set aside to soak for at least 1 hour.
- Place the cashews and their soaking liquid in a blender and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer back to your measuring cup; you should have just a bit less than 1 cup of cashew cream. Add water to bring it up to an even cup.
- Place the cashew cream, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and place over very low heat until the butter is melted, stirring often. Be sure that it does not boil at all, even around the edges. Also, don’t do this in the microwave.
- While the cream is warming, place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan (larger than you think necessary, such as a 4-quart. A light-colored yet heavy-bottomed pan works the best). Stir until the sugar is evenly moistened. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan so that the heat sensor is immersed in the sugar mixture (but not touching the bottom!).
- Place over medium heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil without stirring. Let the mixture cook (again, without stirring) until it reaches 300-310F. If necessary, tip the pan to fully immerse the thermometer in the mixture to get an accurate reading.
- Once the mixture reaches 310F, remove from the heat and slowly pour in the warm cashew cream/butter mixture while stirring rapidly. It may spatter a bit while you do this; be careful!
- Once the cream is all mixed in, return the pan to the heat and continue to cook over medium heat again without stirring until the temperature reaches 245F (your thermometer may initially read higher than this; that’s because it is still coming down from when you added the cream).
- When it reaches 245F, quickly remove it form the heat, stir in the vanilla (without scraping the bottom) and pour it into your prepared pan (again, without scraping).
- Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a couple hours before cutting into smaller pieces. Wrap individual pieces in wax paper and store at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, or in the fridge or freezer for much longer!
-This recipe makes rather soft, melt-in-your-mouth caramels. If you’d like a more chewy variety, decrease the butter to 4 Tbsp and only use ¾ cup of the cashew cream.
-Make sure you use the Earth Balance original butter, not the whipped one.