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I rarely see cashews in traditional American bakeries. This starchy, tropical nut defers to peanuts, pecans, and walnuts in the canon of old school American sweets. But like the macadamia and the pistachio, I think it's time that cashews got another look.
What I like about cashews is their mild flavor. You can add them to a dish without overwhelming it with nuttiness, though on the flip side, that means it can require a flavor booster (like salt) to highlight its taste. The texture is also something to consider with the cashew—they're softer, almost creamier, than many other nuts, meaning you don't have to disrupt a dish's texture when you add them in.
These cookies take advantage of both of those cashewian properties. They add a subtle nutty flavor while still letting the slightly bitter dark chocolate be the star. They add chew to the already chewy cookies as opposed to breaking up the texture with a hard crunch. Just don't forget the flakey sea salt— it ties together the components and makes these cookies more than the sum of their parts.
About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios