cashew nuts (unsalted) - 1 cup, crushedflour - 2 Tablespoonsheavy cream - 3 Tablespoonscaramel dulce de leche - 2 Tablespoons, bottled, store-boughtegg yolks - 4, beaten wellegg whites - 4granulated sugar - 1/2 cup, separate 1 Tablespoon for beating with egg whitesunsalted butter - 1/3 cup meltedfluted paper cups - 45 to 48 pieces, measuring 1-inch diameter, for lining muffin pansconfectioners' sugar - 2 Tablespoons, for sprinkling (optional)candied dried fruits or dried cherries - 1 to 2 Tablespoons, for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Prepare and line a mini muffin tin with small sized fluted paper cups about one-inch in diameter.
To crush the whole cashews, place in a resealable plastic bag and pound with a mallet. Or for fast results, use a food chopper or processor. Put the cashews aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: cashew, flour, sugar. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites till stiff and no bubbles are showing. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Meanwhile in the mixing bowl, to the dry ingredients, add the following: melted butter, cream, dulce de leche and egg yolks. Blend and incorporate everything well.
Gradually fold by hand the cashew and yolks mixture into the egg whites. Blend well.
Pour a tablespoon of the batter into tiny fluted paper cups lining small muffin tins. Batter should fill only ¾ of the cup.
Bake at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes or till top is golden brown.
When done, remove from oven. If desired, sprinkle the top of the petit fortunes with confectioner’s sugar using a fine sieve or colander. Optional – top each cup with 1 or 2 pieces of candied dried fruit. Allow the Petit Fortunes to cool, wrap in colored cellophane paper and pack in pretty baskets or decorative jars for gifts.
Storage: You can make these ahead, cool them thoroughly, and then wrap in plastic resealable freezer bags or airtight plastic containers. They can be kept frozen for 2 to 3 weeks.