Hazelnuts

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Hazelnuts might be my favorite nut, as least in baking. For munching, it’s probably almonds.

I got addicted to hazelnuts when my French grandmother would send us chocolate-hazelnut candies from France. I didn’t know what these chocolates were made of back then, but I knew the flavor was heavenly. These candies looked like chocolate chestnuts, in my memory. She lived in Nancy, France, so I don’t know if they are a specialty chocolate from that region or not.

Once I discovered what hazelnuts were, I’ve been going a little crazy with them! Especially in the fall, when I’m inspired to do more baking. I’ve already mentioned that hazelnuts go so well with chocolate, but they also pair with just about any fruit. You can add them to sweet breads, coffee cakes, savory breads, enjoy them in pies with cranberries, or just sprinkle them onto green beans and Brussels sprouts. If you like them.

The only problem, is that hazelnuts typically come with their skins on. And these skins are tight on the nut. There’s a little procedure that’s necessary to remove the skins before you follow through with recipes, but it’s easy.

So here’s what you do to remove hazelnut skins.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your hazelnuts on a jelly-roll pan.
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Place the pan in the preheated oven. Stay in the kitchen. You’re toasting the hazelnuts, and you don’t want them burned. Once you start smelling them, shake the pan around to toast all sides. They should be nice and golden brown. This might only take 10 minutes tops, so I repeat, don’t leave the kitchen!

Open up a cotton dish towel on your counter, and carefully “pour” the toasted hazelnuts onto the towel.
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Then roll up the towel.
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Let the hazelnuts sit in the towel for about 20 minutes or so. The hot steam inside the towel will help loosen the skins.

Then, rub the hazelnuts with the towel to better remove the skins.
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It just like magic! This procedure may not remove every bit of skin, but you can always pick and choose which hazelnuts you use in a recipe, if you don’t want to see skin!
Look at how much comes off from this trick:
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At this point, depending on your recipe, coarsely chop the hazelnuts, or place them in the jar of your food processor and process them accordingly. For the recipe I am making, in Monday’s post, I need a very fine grind of hazelnuts. If you grind too much you’ll end up with nut butter.

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Alternatively, keep the hazelnuts whole for your recipe. Store leftover hazelnuts in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

30 thoughts on “Hazelnuts

  1. That’s a great tip! I also love hazelnuts (and they’re an important crop here in Oregon), but haven’t tried this trick to remove the skins. I imagine the toasting adds to the flavor of the nuts too?

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  2. Love hazelnuts, I guess I never met a nut I did not fall in love with (that sounded strange, I admit…:-)

    my favorite nut for munching is macadamia, but pistachios fight hard for the spotlight too. Since macadamias cost an arm and a leg, I usually go for pistachios ;-) Actually cashews are also wonderful to munch on

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  3. Hazelnuts are awesome. I’m sure that’s why cadburys fruit and nut is such an affordable British Classic. The best chocolate covered nuts I’ve ever had were from a chocolate shop near cafe de flore in Paris. I have forgotten the name. They were chocolate covered almonds and I have never forgotten them. Emma xx

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  4. That’s exactly how I was taught to skin hazelnuts. My parents have two hazelnut trees in their garden so in autumn there there are bucket loads to crack open and roast. I even have the same red striped tea towel and last week used it to skin my hazelnuts before making brutti ma buoni, a classic Italian biscuit. That’s a spooky coincidence.

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  5. This is a magic technique. I do exactly the same thing, I can’t remember where I picked up the tip from but it’s a life saver when you’re peeling lots of hazelnuts. They’re delicious in chocolate… I still remember the first time I had a ferrero rocher. Magical! xx

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  6. Bonjour Mimi! :-) LL=large like for your post: I love all nuts! :-) I use the crushed ones for my fruit crumbles…
    – – –
    glad to have come across your blog, my very best and friendly hugs from Toulouse, France, “old Europe”… :-) cheers! Mélanie
    – – –
    P.S. you have a French granny, yesss! :-) have a great week & à bienôt! :-)

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