Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Birthday Memories

There's something about birthdays that evokes both fond memories and reality checks in equal measure.  Memories in the form of childhood days days brimming with fun, laughter, and playtime that seemed to last forever.  Birthday parties replete with friends, party games and a fancy cake.  I vividly remember the parties my parents hosted for both my sis and me when we were in school, right upto the time we made it to double digit years.  Honestly, those memories are so precious, like treasured jewels taken out once in a while to pleasure the mind & soul, before being tucked back into a warm corner of your heart even as you turn to face real life crashing into you like a ton of bricks.   Now I feel my birthday serves more as a reality check to remind me of the never-ending list of things on my bucket list (which I shall reserve for another post).

A few days ago, A's cousin celebrated her birthday, happily coinciding with a creative spell that I was experiencing.  Here’s what I came up with as a gift idea for her – Cashew Candy Jewels.

This recipe was adapted from a post on Indian Curries.  I did not use saffron or cardamom, as mentioned in the recipe, but replaced these with food grade colouring to achieve a jewelled look on the finished pieces.  The next time around, I shall also try and use different flavours as well.

The packaging was a recycled box, which I covered with gift wrapping paper to conceal the original design which had long since peeled off.  I placed the candies in multi-coloured paper cases and spruced up the box-lid with some brightly coloured ribbon.  
Cashew Candy Jewels
(makes about 60 pieces)


Cashew nuts (unsalted) - 1 cup
Milk powder - 1 cup
Icing sugar - 2 cups
Milk – a few spoons
Food colour – a few drops


  1. Grind the cashew nuts into a fine powder in the mixer.
  2. Empty into a large bowl and add the icing sugar and milk powder. 
  3. Mix well and knead into a firm dough using milk, as required.
  4. Divide the dough into as many portions as you have food colours.
  5. Add a few drops of colour to each portion and continue kneading till the colour spreads evenly throughout.
  6. Take small lumps of the coloured dough and mould them into desired shapes.
Happy Birthday, Neetu!

1.    While grinding the cashew nuts, be careful to run the blender only till such time that the cashews turn to a dry powder.  Any more whirring and the cashews will start releasing their oils and turn the powder into a paste.  While your final product will still taste great, your dough will be of a very sticky consistency making it difficult to shape and mould. 

2.   Don’t fret in case the colour is not spreading evenly while kneading the dough.  It does get a little difficult.  An uneven spread will simply result in a speckled look, which is just as pretty!

What is your favourite birthday memory?  Are you in the habit of making birthday resolutions?  Are you able to achieve them?  What about your personal bucket list?  I'd love to hear about all these, if you feel like sharing them in the comments section. 

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