April 14, 2024

Donna’s Day: Rosemary cashews for holiday giving

Before COVID-19, my holiday traditions this time of year began with a gathering of five neighborhood friends for an early-morning coffee klatch at one of our houses.

We originally met when our sons were just 5 years old, and our friendship continued through Cub Scout activities, softball games, bike rides and picnics at the neighborhood park. Off they went to college, and we attend their weddings together.

Since we still lived within blocks of one another, we’d take turns hosting the annual get-together. For the one in charge, it offered an opportunity to use our fanciest or quirkiest tableware for serving fruit, pastries and coffee.

We’d exchange little memorable, sometimes homemade, gifts, too. I liked to bring something from my kitchen, like this rosemary cashew appetizer or snack I prepared last year.

The tasty cashews were such a hit, I decided to make the recipe in multiples this year and fill wide pint-size canning jars I picked up at the store. Tied with holiday ribbon, gift tags and a shiny mini-size gold ornament for extra bling, it is a unique, personalized gift.

Make these in an afternoon with your school-age kids, who can assist in doing a step or two. For starters, let them take charge of pulling the fresh rosemary leaves off the stems before you chop the fragrant herb with a sharp knife. Then put the kids in charge of decorating and writing the tie-around gift tags.

Rosemary Cashews


3 cups roasted, unsalted cashews

1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the cashews in one layer on a cookie sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, or until warm and lightly toasted.

Combine the rosemary, brown sugar, salt, melted butter and pepper, if you want an extra kick, in a large bowl. When the cashews are heated, immediately pour them in the bowl with the spice butter mixture. Toss thoroughly.

Cool and serve. Store in an airtight container up to two weeks.

Note: If you prefer, substitute 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup for 1 tablespoon brown sugar.

To find more of Donna Erickson’s creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com. © 2020 Donna Erickson distributed by King Features Synd.