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Description:

Cashew cream has exploded in popularity over the last few years and for good reason. As more people give it a try, they realize how useful and delicious it is in the kitchen, and how easy it is to make yourself. Hailed as one of, if not the ultimate plant based dairy replacement for most recipes, it’s also incredibly useful in so many additional ways. The impressive cashew alone can often replace store-bought products that feature long lists of ingredients you may or may not recognize. Looking for a plant based way to make mac and cheese or a creamy Alfredo? A warm comforting soup on a cold day? Perhaps you just want a yummy creamy salad dressing, or a veggie and cracker dip or spread? Or maybe you’re feeling more like something sweet such as cheesecake, or maybe some icing or frosting? You have so many options when it comes to making a wide range of delicious foods when using cashew cream!

Why are cashews alone mixed with a bit of liquid so versatile in the kitchen, and such a good dairy replacement? Well, they have a few things going for them. Raw cashews have a very mild and relatively neutral flavour, which means they will blend into your recipe without imparting cashew flavour, making them the best kind of blank slate when it comes to cooking. Their fat content coupled with being relatively soft, especially when soaked, makes them rich and creamy enough when blended to mimic the creaminess dairy offers in many recipes. They also have a high starch content and raw cashews can contain up to 20% starch, this means once blended into a cream or paste they can and will thicken up or be used to thicken other liquids. Cashews are also by no means a filler food low in nutrition, they’re packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy oils which make them a satiating and nutritious addition to your everyday diet. 

Ingredients:

Raw cashews, soaked until soft
Water or broth

Additional common and optional ingredients:
Salt
Herbs & spices
Garlic
Nutritional yeast
Lemon juice or zest
Cocoa powder
Dates
Liquid sweeteners such as maple syrup
Vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

Directions:

We’re going to talk you through how to make just about any kind of cashew cream you may need, not just one kind that you can only use for certain recipes. The recipe photo shows two different styles of cashew cream. The one so thick you can stand a spoon in it is made with a food processor and 2 tbsp of water, just enough to get it processing. The thick liquid cashew cream is made with 1 cup of water blended with the soaked cashews. 

Why soak your regular dried cashews before using them to make cashew cream? You’ll end up with a much nicer end product if you do, trust us, it is worth the extra step and time. Your cashew cream will be a lot smoother and creamier if you use soaked cashews to make it, plus then it also wont excessively thicken up your recipe from the cashews absorbing more of the moisture than intended from the recipe itself. We also find that soaking the cashews milds their flavour out even more, which is usually a good thing when it comes to most uses for cashew creams. 

Start by pre soaking your dry raw cashews. To do this place the cashews in a bowl and cover with at least an inch of cool clean water. Leave the cashews to soak for 8-12 hours, or until they’re noticeably softer when you give them a squeeze with your fingers. If you don’t have enough time to soak for that long, you can also do a quick soak by pouring boiled water over the dry cashews and let them soak as the water cools for 30 minutes to an hour. Again, just give the cashews a squeeze with your fingers to check when they’re softened. This will be after the water has cooled enough to comfortably touch anyways, so don’t risk burning yourself by checking too soon.

To make cashew cream you will need a blender or a food processor, and to make a truly silky smooth cashew cream you will need a high powered blender. You can make cashew creams or pastes with a food processor, but we find when using a food processor we can never get it as silky smooth, which depending on the intended use for the cashew cream that can be a good or bad thing. We usually make cashew cream in a high powdered blender and let it run on the highest setting for 3 – 4 minutes, if you’re starting with a cold liquid base you can blend until it starts to warm. Don’t cut your blending time short if you want a silky smooth cream. 

What kind of liquid to use will depend on what the cashew cream is for. We use water the far majority of the time we make cashew creams, the main exception being for soups or some spreads where a broth is used instead. If you are making a soup we highly recommend using a soup broth instead of water to blend with the cashews. If you want to make cashew cream to drink, for use in anything sweet, or any recipe you don’t want a specific flavour in, use water. 

How much liquid you use will depend on what style of cashew cream you want or need. You can use no additional liquid in a food processor to make a thick paste for something like a spread or pâté, or as much liquid as your blender can hold for a milk style cashew cream. When making a cashew paste if you’re using only a small amount of soaked cashews you might need to add a little water to get things moving, add slowly, a tablespoon at a time. When we make cashew cream and start with 1 cup dry raw cashews we tend to use 1 cup liquid for a really thick cream to make a cashew gravy, or 4 cups to make a thick creamy soup base, and 5-6+ cups for cashew cream or milk to drink or cook with. Remember, you can easily add some additional liquid if needed to thin out most recipes, but it can be very difficult to thicken it more. 

What optional extra ingredients should you use? Most recipes will direct you with what to add to your cashew cream, but if your free-styling your own recipe you’ll have to make some decisions and maybe play around a little to perfect things to your liking. Again, start with less and increase your add ins slowly tasting as you go, since you can’t take them back out once they’re blended in.