To obtain cashew halves, use the back of a small metal spoon to split raw cashews. Cashew halves are often used to decorate the tops of round cashew cookies or the crescent-shaped ones.
Raw cashews (above) are easier to split than roasted ones. However, it takes a little practice to split cashews neatly into halves. Also, after several tries, you will quickly learn that cashews that have a neat 'C' shape are easier to split than the odd-shaped ones.
If the ingredients in your cashew cookie recipe asks for eg. 50g cashew halves and 100g ground cashews, this is what you should do. Split the cashews till you get 50g of cashew halves. Then set them aside. You will find that you have several 'unsuccessfully' split cashews. Gather these to make up the 100g ground cashews.
Baked Cashew Cookies
To make delicious cashew cookies, make sure you roast the cashews well before use, but not to the point where they burn (burnt cashews really don't taste good in cookies). Toast raw cashews at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the oven towards the end of the roasting session and take the cashews out before they burn. On the other hand, cashews should not be undertoasted. Undertoasted cashews make bland-tasting cookies. The cashews should be baked till a beautiful golden brown colour and should smell nutty and aromatic.
To obtain ground cashews, I usually grind them AFTER roasting. Has anyone tried grinding them before roasting? I wonder if that would make any difference to the final cookies' taste and texture.
The above instrument on the right is the crimper which I used to create patterns on the kueh bangkit cookie dough (see video on kueh bangkit in this blog). Here is a close-up view of the crimper, since it wasn't featured clearly on the video.