Browned Butter Cashew Crispies

1 cup cashews, divided
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, beaten until frothy with 1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


1. Make cookies: Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, and preheat to 350°F. 

2. Place cashews in bowl of a food processor and pulse until chopped medium-fine.  Remove about 1/3 cup of nuts and set aside for garnish. 

3. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, melt  butter over low heat and slowly cook until browned and nutty. Add remaining chopped cashews to browned butter  (mixture will foam up for a few seconds). Continue to cook nuts on low heat for 1 minute longer. Set aside and cool until tepid. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Stir 3/4 cup of sugar into  pot containing browned butter and cashews, then blend in vanilla extract.  Add beaten egg white/water mixture and stir well to combine. Add dry ingredients in four additions, blending well with a wooden spoon.

4. Roll dough in palms of your hands into 1" balls  (the dough will be oily). Place 3" apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using heel of your hand, flatten each cookie to about 21/2" in diameter and 1/8" thick. 

5. Make garnish: Combine remaining cashews with sugar. Brush tops of cookies with beaten egg white/water mixture. Place about 1/3 teaspoon of  nut/sugar mixture onto center of each cookie, pressing it down lightly with your fingertips. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. To ensure even browning, rotate sheets top to bottom and front to back after 9 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 2-3 minutes before loosening with a thin metal spatula. Transfer to cooling racks.

6. Store in an airtight container layered between strips of waxed paper for up to 2 weeks. These cookies may be frozen.