Now I don’t generally opt for candy like M&Ms, Snickers, or Butterfingers. I mostly don’t like the way milk chocolate tastes or the use of high fructose corn syrup in chocolate. However, I was intrigued by the newest member of the M&M line-up: pretzel M&Ms. Growing up if I had M&Ms I would go for the peanut butter ones, much better than Reeses Pieces in my opinion. I wanted to try the pretzel M&M because I like the interplay of salty, crunchy, and sweet.
First it comes in a blue bag. I like the color blue. It has a picture of one of the M&M characters putting an x-ray up to his chest showing a traditional knotted pretzel inside. I knew that the pretzel inside the real M&Ms were not going to be the knotted kind, but I had to make sure this was the case. I would have been very impressed if they were able to do that. I sucked one of the giant candy spheres (these are much larger than the typical M&M and spherical in shape) until the chocolate was gone and I was left with the pretzel. Yep, pretzel ball. It is not a knotted pretzel inside. I was somewhat disappointed but not surprised.
I would not go out of my way again to eat these M&Ms. They do however have the low calorie count compared to many commercial chocolate candies: 150 calories for the small bag. This doesn’t mean these are a good snack option though.
Here I have the thing that killed my landlord’s rubber spatula. It was supposed to kaju katli, that delightful Indian sweet which is somewhere between cashew butter and brittle, that melts in your mouth. Well, mine is delicious but it is not kaju katli and it killed my landlord’s spatula.
I first encountered kaju katli with my friends Rachel and Lindsay. We bought some at an Indian market next to a head shop in a seedy strip mall in Simi Valley. This does not really narrow down the location since there are a lot of seedy strip malls in Simi Valley with head shops, but this one has a great little Indian market with Indian sweets. The kaju katli was delicious. It is sweet and a little salty and melts in your mouth. I loved it and I was really excited to find a recipe for it on the VeganYumYum blog.
Recipe Adapted from VeganYumYum
- 1 cup cashews, raw and unsalted
- 1 tsp. cardamom
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water
1. Grind the cashews into as fine a powder as you can. The writer at VeganYumYum suggests using a coffee grinder or a high powered blender. I do not have a coffee/spice grinder or a high powered blender so I used my little two cup food processor. I could not get a very fine powder with this so my cashews were still fairly chunky.
2. Mix cardamom powder, salt, and cashews together. Heat water and sugar in a pan until boiling. Add cashews and stir well with a rubber spatula. Cook for abut 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Now here is where things started going wonky for me. My cashew mixture started to burn and it melted my spatula in half. Seriously, in half. I wish I took a picture of it. Pretty amazing stuff.
3. Pour out the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and let cool. Once cooled knead until glassy and roll out a 1/4″ thick. Then cut into diamond shapes. Now, I never got to the kneading or rolling part because mine was wrong wrong wrong looking and I had to rush to work. I did taste it and it was delicious.
I’m not sure what went wrong. Maybe I had the heat on too high but she never specified if you were supposed to lower the heat after adding the cashews. The burners on my stove are really hot and strange. Low is hotter than medium and high is burn your entire kitchen down high. It’s all messed up.
I would definitely make this again though with the expectation that it would not be kaju katli, but cashew brittle instead.