Cashew burfi is an Indian dessert made from ground cashews typically mixed with sugar, milk, and a ground spice called cardamom. The ingredients are usually mixed and heated on a stove top before the cook pours the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet and spreads it thin. The dessert can be cut into small squares or other shapes once it cools. It is popular for its light texture and nutty flavor without the heavy sweetness of some similar desserts.
The first step in making cashew burfi typically involves grinding the required amount of cashews in a food processor. Some cooks like to leave a few larger pieces of the nuts in the mixture for added crunch, though others prefer a finer cashew powder. While many traditional versions of this cashew fudge recipe call for only the cashew nut, some home bakers also add ground almonds or walnuts. Once the nuts are ground to the needed consistency, they are typically roasted in a skillet only enough to lightly brown them, usually for about five minutes.
Many cashew burfi recipes require a mixture of boiled sugar mixed with milk, although some bakers find that water is a good substitute in order to avoid scorching the milk. The sugar and either milk or water are first heated slowly over a medium temperature before being brought to a boil. Experienced cooks often report this step of cashew burfi needs the most attention since it can be relatively easy to overcook this resulting syrup mixture. It should typically be removed from the stove burner once it reaches a light golden brown color. This color is usually visible when the ingredients reach a temperature of 230° F (about 110° C) as measured with a candy thermometer.
Once the sugar syrup is ready, the ground cashew nut mixture and the cardamom can be stirred into it. Since cardamom can have a strong taste, some cooks prefer smaller amounts of it. This Indian spice is also available in green or black varieties. Black cardamom can sometimes have a smokier flavor and is used less frequently in many cashew burfi recipes.
Before pouring and spreading the finished mixture, some cooks also like to add small amounts of a clarified butter known as ghee. This ingredient is derived from unsalted butter that is heated until any milk-based proteins separate from the rest of the butter. Ghee is a popular addition to many types of burfi recipes because it adds a rich flavor to the cashews.