By Kevin Williams
I had seen the signs in rural Highland County before, small, nondescript signs pointing the way to Yoder's Famous Cashew Crunch. Mmmmm, that sounded good. The signs led the way to a small Amish bent and dent shop on Duff Road. The first time I tried, it was on a Thursday and the store was closed. Recently, I was able to make it back - on a Wednesday - and the store was open. But there was no cashew crunch to be found. I asked the two shy young Amish ladies behind the counter about it and they shrugged, not seeming to know what I was talking about. I then made reference to the sign outside. The girls couldn't have been older than 15 and they later told me that they don't usually work at that store, they were just filling in, so I guess I'll excuse them for being ill-informed about the cashew crunch. One of the girls eventually offered to run to the nearby farmhouse and ask about it. Finally, as I awkwardly waited, making stilted small-talk with the young woman who remained, the girl returned with package of cashew crunch tucked under her arm.
"Great, thank you! How much?"
The two girls looked at one another. Neither knew how much, I offered to just give them a $5 and let them keep the change, but - true to the Amish being a very transactional culture - they refused. One of the girls ran back to the farmhouse to find out the cost. Turns out, it was $5.
There was an old question and answer board game from when I was a child (the name escapes me), but one of the questions was: Name a nut that sounds like a sneeze.
The answer: cashew
So I’ve never been able to see or eat a cashew without thinking of a sneeze sound. But this stuff is amazing: cashew crunch. I’m not sure how the recipe caught on among the Amish, but it really has. Some even call it “Amish crack.” And it is good stuff. This recipe below comes from an Amish woman and I'm sure it's the same basic recipe that Yoder's uses. Make some of this, put it in a colorful tin, and give it away as awesome Christmas gift for someone.
Amish Cashew Crunch
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 2 cup cashews
- Lightly butter a cookie sheet.
- In a heavy pan cook and stir the butter, sugar and corn syrup over low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Cook until it starts to turn golden brown (290 degrees F on a candy thermometer) like peanut brittle.
- Remove from heat. Quickly stir in cashews.
- Pour out onto prepared cookie sheet. Cool completely.
- Break up into pieces. Store in airtight container.