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Cashew Roca is a sweet little treat that will allow you to keep a taste of the holidays in your home even as January arrives.

It’s over and I feel cheated a little. Does anyone else feel that way? Is it ever enough time? And then the fact that it was so different this year without some of our family.

I spent the week before Christmas each day carving out a little time to bake. Intentionally, I established a routine of celebrating Christmas like I’ve never experienced before. It would be different, therefore, I will embrace it differently — starting with holiday baking.

Cashew Roca is not a traditional candy I make each year. If you’re like me, holiday baking extends well past Christmas landing a little past the New Year. A week before the holidays and even now, I wake up before six each morning — not because I’m overly ambitious; just to be alone with my thoughts. It’s one of those sacred rituals, elevated from a simple daily routine by my full presence in the moment and special details that make it one of the most enjoyable rituals of my day. I don’t get to enjoy this luxury every day, but it is something I slip into like some might slip into a warm coat. It’s my new thing when I want to savor memories.

This year, I thought of all the Christmases in the past when the boys were little. They were coming in and spending the night. Each morning, when I baked their favorites, I felt as though I was contributing to the “specialness” I remembered. They’re expecting the baked goods. I would not disappoint.

This toffee-like candy can be made ahead of time and it won’t lose its freshness. It’s simple and only requires a candy thermometer to make it happen. I served this in little candy boxes so the boys could take it home. The time I spent preparing for the snowy reception, waiting patiently as Christian drove through the bad weather to get to me, nothing meant as much as when he arrived safely.

It was a Christmas to remember. It just didn’t last long enough! But I’m still eating this sweet little number!

Cashew Roca

1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted cashews; Reserve 1/4 cup

1 cup packed, light-brown sugar

2 sticks salted butter

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Butter a large cookie sheet. Pour the chopped cashews over the pan, spread evenly. In a heavy stock pan at medium-high heat, melt butter and add brown sugar. Stir until boiling. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low heat and boil, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 300 degrees.

Remove from the heat and pour hot mixture into the pan of cashews. Smooth evenly. Top with chocolate chips, then allow it to sit to melt. Using a spatula, spread melted chocolate over top of the cashews. Press the remaining cashews over top of the chocolate. Allow to cool, then cut into squares or pieces.

Janet McCormick is the author of “10-Minute Meals” and owner of Let’s Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.

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