Hazelnuts don't get enough love in the food world. True, they're wildly popular when combined with chocolate in a well-known spread (*cough* Nutella *cough*), but they're not quite mainstream. Therefore, I've hereby decided that they need to make more of an appearance in my kitchen - and yours! Hazelnuts have this incredibly rich, full-bodied flavor that goes perfectly with certain ingredients - including but definitley not limited to chocolate.
The first time I bought hazelnuts, they were chopped and "ready to use" from the grocery store. And they were... ehhh. That's it. It was kind of dissapointing, and they fell off my radar for a while. But then I spotted a gorgeous bag of raw hazelnuts at Trader Joe's, and naturally, I was way too tempted. BAM - In the cart they went!
The thing about buying raw hazelnuts is that you have to put a little love into them to get love back. That means two things: toasting and skinning. Hazelnut skin is bitter, so ideally you want to get most of that skin off before you use the nuts in a recipe. Now, this isn't going to be your new favorite thing to do in the kitchen - it's a little time consuming and tedious - but I guarantee, the end results will be worth it. Think of hazelnuts as a special ingredient you save for the perfect recipe; it'll take a bit of extra effort to get them prepped and ready to use, but they'll be just that extra somethin' something' that puts your dish over-the-top.
The next recipe coming at you will indeed be using hazelnuts, so get ready! It's a really good one. :D
How To Toast and Skin Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts have a rich, bold flavor that's perfect for baking and other culinary uses. Learn how to toast and skin raw hazelnuts so you can start using them in your own meals!
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- raw hazelnuts
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread hazelnuts out on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until nuts smell fragrant and skin begins to crack. Meanwhile, line a mesh colander with a kitchen towel.
- Transfer the hot hazelnuts to the colander, wrapping them inside the towel. Rub together briefly, and then let sit, wrapped in the towel, for 30 minutes.
- Rub the cooled hazelnuts together inside the towel to loosen as much skin as possible. Place the colander over a large tray (to catch the loose skins) and remove the towel, leaving the hazelnuts in the colander. Use the towel to rub them around in the colander, letting as much of the skin fall through the mesh holes as possible.
- Separate the clean hazelnuts from those that still have most of the skin on, transferring to another container. Small specks of skin left on the hazelnuts are fine.*
- The remaining hazelnuts can be toasted in the oven a few minutes longer to loosen their skins a bit more - just be careful not to burn them. Once toasted, repeat the above steps to remove skins. You'll likely have some hazelnuts with skin that doesn't want to come off; just keep rubbing them until the majority of the skin falls free, or use a zester to zest off the skin.
- Keep hazelnuts in an airtight bag or container. Unless using within a few days, hazelnuts are best kept in freezer to stay fresh.
*I tried to get as much of the hazelnut skin off as possible for the second photo in this post, but don't feel like yours need to be quite that bare.
Since this process is a bit messy and time consuming, I would suggest toasting and skinning a whole bag of hazelnuts at once. Then, keep them in the freezer for long-term storage, and you should have enough ready to use for a few recipes.
With tips from: tastingmenu