Friday, August 16, 2013

Toasting and Skinning Hazelnuts

I love hazelnuts. Heck, I even love the artificial hazelnut flavor in coffee syrups and non-dairy creamers. And it’s a good thing I do love them because getting hazelnuts ready for use in baked goods requires a bit of extra work. They need to be at least lightly toasted so those brown, papery skins can be removed.

I made a delicious cake recently, and it was heavily laced with the flavor of hazelnuts. Well, it was laced with the flavor with hazelnuts because it was laced with ground hazelnuts. Before I tell you about that luscious cake, I’ll review the process I use to toast and skin the hazelnuts required for the recipe. It’s not difficult, really. It just requires a little bit of extra time and attention.

I place the hazelnuts I want to toast on a large heavy sheet pan with a rim. I roast them in a preheated oven until they begin to get a little brown and fragrant, and the skin begins to visibly loosen on some of the nuts, usually less than 10 minutes. I then let the nuts cool on the pan for a few minutes.

While they’re still warm, I pour the nuts right onto a clean, lint-free dish towel. I like to use the “flour sack” style of towels for this rather than a terry cloth. Next, I rub the nuts with the towel and the skins come off. That’s it.  Some of the skins need a little more work and some won’t come off completely at all. That’s okay.

If I’m on my toes, I’ll toast a bunch of hazelnuts ahead of time to have on hand for recipes or for adding to oatmeal or just for eating. Hazelnuts should be held in the freezer for long-term storage, since the oils can spoil relatively quickly. If you’ve done that, you’ll always have a stash ready for baking or sprinkling on salads or just eating as a snack. Of course that cake I mentioned above is reason enough to toast up some hazelnuts. I hope to tell you all about that soon.


Toasted and Skinned Hazelnuts
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 375 F until the nuts are just beginning to brown and some of the dark brown skins are beginning to pull away, about 8 minutes. (Watch the nuts carefully, as you want to avoid burning them.) Remove from oven and cool slightly.

3. While still warm, transfer the nuts into a clean dish towel. Rub them vigorously with the towel to remove the skins. Remove the skinned nuts from the pile and continue rubbing the remaining nuts. Some nuts can be rubbed with your fingers to remove more stubborn skins. I find that it is pretty much impossible to get all the skin off of all the nuts. A little of the remaining skin is okay and will not negatively affect your recipe.


No comments:

Post a Comment