Kaju Katli (Cashew Fudge)
This vegan kaju katli is rich, creamy, and nutty. Swapping the ghee for coconut oil makes this cashew fudge recipe dairy-free!
I love traveling, but when I can’t travel, sometimes trying sweets and treats from around the world is a good substitute. This past year I’ve made Tahô and Haupia, and now we’re traveling (virtually!) to India to enjoy kaju katli!
What Is Kaju Katli?
Kaju katli is a popular Indian sweet made with ground cashews, sugar, and ghee. (My vegan version substitutes the ghee for coconut oil.) The name itself translates to “cashew slice” in Hindi, and it’s commonly cut into diamond-shaped pieces. It has an absolutely irresistible melt-in-your-mouth texture, a little bit like chocolate fudge—which is probably why it’s often referred to as cashew fudge.
Sometimes also known as kaju barfi, kaju katli dates back hundreds of years and is believed to have been brought to India by Persians, who first introduced the sweet to Mughal courts. It was traditionally made on special occasions like Diwali, weddings, and other festivals. Today, kaju katli has become a popular treat throughout India and the Indian diaspora.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Whole raw cashews – Buy these in the bulk section of the grocery store for the best price.
- Granulated sugar – Be sure to use vegan sugar; some granulated sugar is refined with bone char.
- Coconut oil – This replaces the ghee. It’s important to use coconut oil and not another oil, as it is solid at room temperature.
Optional Flavour Additives:
- Rose water extract
- Cardamom powder
What Is Rose Water Extract?
Rose water extract is a fragrant liquid made by steeping rose petals in water. It has been used in Indian cuisine for centuries and adds a delicate floral aroma and flavour to desserts. If you can’t find it locally, feel free to omit it or substitute with almond or orange extract.
How to Make Vegan Kaju Katli
Making Indian cashew fudge is easier than you think! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Process the cashews. Place the cashews in a blender and blend them into a powder.
Strain the cashews. Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the cashew powder into it. Shake and scrape the sides of the strainer to separate the larger pieces from the fine powder.
Repeat. Return the large pieces back to the blender, then blend and strain again. Continue to repeat until all of the cashews are blended into a fine powder.
Heat the water and sugar. In a medium saucepan, stir together the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil and keep boiling, whisking often, for approximately 4 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the cashew powder until the mixture thickens. Add the coconut oil, along with any flavour additives you’re using, and stir to combine; the mixture should resemble a firm cookie dough.
Roll out the cashew fudge. Generously grease a cutting board with coconut oil and turn out the kaju katli onto it. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out until it’s about 1/4-inch thick.
Cool and cut. Let the cashew fudge cool slightly, but not completely, then cut it into diamond shapes with a large, sharp knife.
Tips for Success
These simple tips will help you make perfect kaju katli:
- Don’t over-blend. If you blend too much, the oil from the cashews will start to release and create a wet, sandy texture.
- Be careful when boiling the water and sugar. If you overcook it, the fudge will be too hard. Be sure to cook just until it reaches a syrup stage.
- Adjust as needed. The finished kaju katli mixture should not be dry and crumbly, nor should it be wet and sticky. If the dough is crumbly, add more coconut oil a teaspoon at a time until the texture improves. If the dough is too sticky and doesn’t hold its shape, place the pan back on the stovetop over low heat and cook, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough thickens.
While the fudge is still warm and not quite set, you can gently press cashews, pistachios, saffron threads and/or dried rose petals into the top for some extra flavour and a decorative touch. Edible silver leaf, or varak, is another popular embellishment for kaju katli.
How to Store
Store kaju katli in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for up to 1 week.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze kaju katli for up to 3 months. Allow the fudge to cool completely before freezing it in an airtight container or zip-top bag. Thaw the fudge in the refrigerator before serving.
More Vegan Sweets and Treats
- Air Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Mug Brownie
- Vegan Apple Pie Recipe
- Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream
Enjoy friends! If you make this kaju katli, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Vegan Kaju Katli (Cashew Fudge)
- 2 cups whole raw cashews, 280 grams
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, 150 grams
- ½ cup water, 185 grams
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 12 grams
- ⅛ teaspoon salt, 285 milligrams
Optional flavor additives:
- 1 teaspoon rose water extract, 4 grams
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder, 0.5 grams
- Add the cashews to a blender and blend into a powder. Do not blend too much or the oils from the cashews will start to release and form a type of wet sandy texture.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and dump the cashew powder into the strainer. Shake and scrape the sides of the strainer to strain all of the fine cashew powder into the bowl. Add any large cashew pieces that won’t go through the strainer back to the blender and pulse into a powder. Return the contents of the blender to the strainer and shake again to release the cashew powder into the bowl. Repeat this process until all cashews are blended into a fine powder.
- In a medium saucepan, add the water and sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil and keep boiling, whisking often, for approximately 4 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cashew powder and stir to combine. The mixture will quickly start to thicken.
- Add the coconut oil, and any flavor additives if preferred and stir to combine.
- The cashew fudge is done when the dough mixture resembles a firm cookie dough. It should not be dry and crumbly at all and it also shouldn’t be too wet and sticky. You should be able to scoop it with a spoon and have it hold its shape without breaking into crumbly pieces. If the dough is crumbly, add more coconut oil, 1 teaspoon at a time, and mix until combined and the dough is the right texture. If the dough is too sticky and doesn’t hold its shape, add the pan back to the stovetop over low heat and cook, stirring often, for about 1 – 2 minutes until the dough is slightly thickened.
- Generously grease a cutting board with coconut oil and place the dough on it. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out until it is 1⁄4 inch in thickness.
- Allow the cashew fudge to cool slightly, but not completely, before cutting it angled into diamond shapes. I recommend using a large knife for easier cutting. Store the cooled fudge in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.