Crispy Cashews at Dinstuhl’s Fine Candy Co.

When the Fine Candy Co. of Dinstuhl. people crunch their numbers, they thank Cashew Crunch. “It’s definitely one of our main signature recipes,” says Rebecca Dinstuhl, president of the local confectionery business started by one of her ancestors.

Customers crave cashew crunch “for so many reasons,” she says. “It’s a buttery crisp made with butter and brown sugar. It contains chunks of cashews, which makes it a little softer than most brittle ones. Then we finish it with a bed of fine coconut which gives it a texture. Even people who say they don’t like coconut love the Cashew Crunch.

Charles Martin Dinstuhl Sr. opened Dinstuhl’s Fine Candies in 1902. Originally located on Main Street in downtown Memphis, Dinstuhl’s now has five locations, including the newest on Main Street, allowing the business to loop the loop.

“It took a little while, but the more people tasted and sampled it, the more people fell in love with it. Now it really is one of our best sellers. — Rebecca Dinstuhl

How Cashew Crunch became a staple menu item at Dinstuhl’s is an interesting story, says Rebecca. “In the late 1950s, Gene Dinstuhl saw an advertisement in a candy trade publication. This upstate New York man and his wife had a small candy store. He put an ad saying he and his wife were retiring and they had no one to leave their store to. But they had this great recipe, and if someone came to work with him, he would teach them how to make the recipe.

But, whoever got the recipe had to “promise to use the fresh ingredients as he always had”.

Gene, who was Rebecca’s stepfather, got on a train and went to New York. “He made a promise that he would do it the same way they always have,” she says.

Cashew Crunch was not an instant hit after Gene started selling it at Dinstuhl’s. “People liked it, but the peanut spread was always a favorite in the South,” says Rebecca. “It took a little while, but the more people tasted and sampled it, the more people fell in love with it. Now it really is one of our best sellers. For the brittle, of course And number one for our candies we make today.

That’s an understatement, since Dinstuhl’s produces more than 200 different kinds of candies.

To make it, Rebecca says, “We start with butter and brown sugar. There is white sugar and corn syrup. It is cooked in a copper kettle. We add cashew pieces at the end of the batch. A hint of vanilla goes into this. Then it is poured on a bed of fine coconut.

When ready, they “roll it very thinly. We use this giant rolling pin, like a baker’s. They have very good muscles, those who do that. As it cools, the brittle becomes hard, so you have to hurry. They pour it on the table, roll it thinly, then cut it into squares. And as it cools, it becomes very crispy and brittle.

Dinstuhl’s sells “tens of thousands of pounds” of Cashew Crunch. “We make it in 22-pound batches. We can do three batches per hour.

Originally, the Cashew Crunch was more popular in the summer months, Rebecca says. “Now it’s become such a popular Christmas and holiday gift for companies or people who want to ship it nationwide. It’s heat resistant, so you don’t have to ship it that day. on the next day.

Dinstuhl’s is taking orders nationwide, and those hungry for a taste of Memphis can include Cashew Crunch with Rendezvous shipping orders. “Years ago, John [Vergos] called and said they had no dessert on their menu and were looking for something. So if you’re ordering ribs to ship nationwide, you can now add a box of Cashew Crunch.

A few years ago, the Butcher was also looking for an unusual dessert. “They wanted to use the Cashew Crunch for one of their cheesecake offerings,” says Rebecca. “So they developed a recipe using crispy cashews, making this delicious cheesecake and also drizzling our fresh caramel over it. It’s exceptional.

Rebecca, who is literally “the candy store kid”, is a fan of Cashew Crunch. “When you’re back in the kitchen and they’re pouring the brittle, the aroma of all that butter and brown sugar is tempting,” she says. “I’ll take a little piece. We have to have quality control.

Dinstuhl’s has five locations: Laurelwood, Germantown, Collierville, Downtown and Pleasant View.

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