I love hazelnuts! I think it started around Christmas time. When I was a kid, my mom would always get a big bowl of mixed nuts in their shells. I loved cracking away at them, and the hazelnuts were obviously the most fun. If you messed up it usually resulted in the nut shooting across the room, if you were successful, a delightful pop as the shell cracked. Then of course, that delicious hazelnutty taste. Omnomnom. So I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make hazelnut butter before! I love to make nut butters, they are so easy and rewarding. Normally I opt for almond butter, but today there is a delightful scent of roasted hazelnuts in my kitchen, and an even more delightful dollop of hazelnut butter on a very lickable spoon. If you have never made a nut butters before, don’t be scared, it really couldn’t be easier! All you need it s a big bag of hazelnuts and a food processor. Find a cute jar and it also makes a great gift. (If you can part with it). Hazelnut Butter: A Big ‘ol bag of Hazelnuts Pinch of Salt if Desired Roast those hazelnuts! Preheat the oven to 350F, then pop them in for about 10 minutes, until you can see some of the white areas have gotten a golden brown kiss. Do you prefer raw food? No problem, just skip the roasting, and skin removing step, and go straight to the food processor. Now that your nuts are roasted, lets remove the skins. Why? Well the skins are bitter, and fibrous. If you prefer to leave the skin on, you can totally do that, just remember that your nut butter will taste a bit bitter, and it won’t be as smooth. To remove the skins, lay a clean tea towel on your counter, and scoop the hot hazelnuts, straight from the oven, into a pile in the centre of the towel. Careful! They’re hot, and also round, so try not to end up with them on the other side of the kitchen! Now bring the four corners of the tea towel together and gather it up in one hand, so that all of your hazelnuts are scooped up in the bottom of the tea towel. Using your other hand, squish the bottom and the sides of the tea towel so that all the hazelnuts are rubbing up against each other. (I tried to take a picture of this, but there was no one around to assist me so I hope you get the visual). Do this for a couple minutes until most of the skins are removed, you can totally peek. When your done, most of your hazelnuts will have gotten all naked! Yay! Some are stubborn and will still be fully dressed, but don’t worry about those guys, we will let them have their way. Let them cool a bit so that they are just warm, not hot. When they are cooled to warm, we are ready to continue! Scoop up the hazelnuts. I find the easiest way to do this, is to lightly roll them away from the centre. You will see all the skin debris is left behind (ew!) and then you can scoop them up and pop them into the food processor…. and here we go!..
Tah dah!! See. Easy peasy.
Add in a pinch of salt (if you like) and give it a one last pulse or two to incorporate. Then pour into a jar of choice.
Things to note:
1. I often had to stop and scrape down the sides of the processor.
2. That was really fast! Sometimes when I make nut butters it can take 15 minutes or more of processing to get to the end stage, so if yours is taking longer, be patient, it will get there. Blending them when warm does speed up the process as it helps release the oils faster. If you are making your butter raw, it will definitely take much much longer. It will happen eventually.
3. Very important note, you may think your hazelnut butter will be done when it looks like the picture at the 3 minute mark, but it is important to keep going after that! You want the oils to release, so blend until it has the nice shine we see at 3 minute and 30 seconds.
Store in an air tight container in the fridge, and it should keep for a couple of months (if you don’t eat it all immediately). Dip fruit or celery into it, spread on toast, stir into oatmeal, blend into smoothies, or just eat it off the spoon.