It was a sparkling blue day in Maui, and we had spent an hour hiking down to the Nakalele blowhole. The kids ran ahead, hoping from rock to rock like nimble mountain goats. The sun was on our backs, sweat turning our tank tops a darker shade . . . we were all hungry. At the highway a jovial local couple greeted us from under the shade of their roadside stand. Would we like cold water and to sample their chocolate cashews? But of course. One taste of the chocolate-covered cashew and coconut mixture, and we were hooked. This recipe is my rendition of the sweet and salty Maui treat.
Note: When selecting dark chocolate, always choose one that is 73 percent cocoa content or higher. The higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar content. If you’re new to dark chocolate, it may take a little while to modify your palate from uber sweet milk chocolate, but soon anything lower than 73 percent cocoa will taste sickly sweet.
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add the cashews to the skillet. Cook, mixing often, for 5 minutes. Add the coconut flakes and salt to the skillet. When the cashews and coconut flakes are toasted, remove from heat.
Place the chocolate, coconut oil and almond extract in a small pot and place that pot in a medium skillet with an inch of water. Place over medium-low heat, stirring often until the chocolate mixture is smooth. In a large bowl, combine the toasted cashews, coconut flakes, and melted chocolate.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chocolate mixture over the rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take a big spoon and break up the mixture every 10 minutes to prevent large pieces from sticking together. Enjoy!