Spread on pumpernickel bread toasts, cashew butter spiked with citrusy red yuzu kosho becomes a delicious dessert. Slideshow: More Citrus Recipes
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a bare simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the mandarins and vanilla seeds and pod and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mandarins are softened and slightly translucent, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat; discard the vanilla pod. Let the mandarins cool in the syrup, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the cashews on a baking sheet and toast for about 20 minutes, until deep golden. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let the cashews cool completely.
In a food processor, pulse the cashews until finely chopped. Add the sugar, salt and yuzu kosho. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the oil until well blended. Scrape into a medium bowl.
Spread the yuzu kosho cashew butter on the toasts and drizzle lightly with maple syrup. Top with the drained candied mandarins and serve.
The yuzu kosho cashew butter can be refrigerated for 2 weeks. The candied mandarins can be refrigerated for 1 week; bring to room temperature before serving.
Red yuzu kosho is made with yuzu zest (from the sour citrus fruit), green chiles and salt. It’s spicy and packed with citrus flavor. Look for it at Asian markets and on amazon.com.