What are Hazelnuts?
Known as cobnuts or filbert nuts (since they were ready for harvest around the feast day of St. Philbert of France¹), hazelnuts grow in small clusters with each nut being shrouded in a leafy husk. The outside shell of the nut is smooth and hard and the inside nut itself is covered in a thin, brown skin. Harvested around August, throughout places such as the Middle East, Turkey, Spain, France and, in the US, Oregon, the ripe nuts fall free of their husks to the ground where they are collected to be processed into the edible nuts we know them to be.
While they can be eaten raw and will have a very mild and slightly sweet, albeit raw, flavor profile, the best way to enjoy these nuts are to roast them.
So why roast them?
There are several reasons why you should roast your hazelnuts. To start with, a gentle roasting allows the thin outer skin of the nuts to loosen and makes it easy to remove. More to that, that the flavor profile of the nut becomes amplified as the natural oils are extracted resulting in the taste, texture (hello crunch!), and overall structure of the nut being improved. Roasting your hazelnuts are one of the easiest things to do but the end result is a phenomenally crunchy and explosively flavorful nut that is perfect for snacking on or for using in other things.
So, how do you roast your hazelnuts?
To roast them, preheat your oven to 375°F and spread your hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake (in the preheated oven) for 10-12 minutes.
Once the hazelnuts are roasted and their skins have darkened and are beginning to loosen (or when you can see that the exposed whites of some of the nuts have browned slightly), remove the tray from the oven and allow the nuts to cool for a few minutes.
Once they are cooled enough to be handled, place them into the center of a tea towel and bunch up the four corners so that the nuts sit securely in a pouch. With your free hand, grasp the pouch and rub the nuts against each other so that their skins come away from the nuts. Once the majority of the skins are separated, remove the nuts and discard the skins.
Alternatively, you can also place them into a bowl or container and cover them with a lid and shake them around for about 20-30 seconds until most of the skins have been shaken loose.
What can I do with them once I’ve roasted them?
Once roasted, store your hazelnuts in an airtight container and keep it in a cool and dark place for up to two weeks for the best results and taste. In terms of what you can make with them the options really are endless but to name a few…
- Enjoy your roasted hazelnuts plain or lightly salted as a snack
- Make your own assortment of Maple Candied Nuts
- Make yourself a batch of Homemade Hazelnut Butter
- Use your homemade hazelnut butter in place of the peanut butter in these heavenly Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies or
- Use hazelnut butter in place of peanut butter in these easy 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups
- Make your own healthy homemade Nutella
- Use your homemade Nutella to make your own Homemade Nutella Ice Cream
- Use roasted your roasted hazelnuts in your Pesto
- Whip up a batch of Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (pictured above)