I had been reading about the Arusuvai chain on Indian blogs for a while and watching everything like a silent passerby when I realized I could ask to be part of it. For after all, wasn’t that the reason I took to blogging in the first place—to meet other foodies and to learn? Imagine my elation, then, when I heard from Sayantani! She put me in touch with Rachel, a lovely blogger from Chennai, who dispatched my “mystery ingredient” in no time. Man, was I happy to get the parcel!

You would be, too. If you got this:

Would you believe it? She sent me a lovely, warm letter, a set of six hand-painted (no, self-painted) serviettes, and a couple of organic vanilla beans from Fabindia. I spent several hours just looking at the lovely stuff and feeling so special. Then I went straight to Spicyana’s page and (finally) downloaded her lovely recipe for cashew cookies. Except, I didn’t roll and cut the cookies, and I did away with the white chocolate altogether. And I used Rachel’s lovely vanilla. The result was a nice and wholesome cookie—the kind that I like–with a hint of gorgeous vanilla. Next time, I’ll also add some lemon zest.

Here is the recipe with my changes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashew nuts
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod

Method:

  1. In a hot oven (or as I did, in a really hot pan on the stove), roast the cashews until fragrant. Cool.
  2. Powder the nuts and half the sugar in a coffee grinder and keep aside.
  3. In a food processor (or by hand), cream the butter and remaining sugar until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs and scrape off the seeds from a slit vanilla bean into the food processor. Beat until well combined.
  5. Now add the flour and ground nuts and pulse until just combined.
  6. Remove onto a sheet of cling film and wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  8. Remove and shape into small balls, about the size of a betel nut.
  9. Place these balls on the baking sheet and press down this way and that, using a fork.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bottoms pink up.
  11. Cool on a wire rack and store in an air-tight jar.