Here's What You Need to Know About Cooking with Hazelnuts (They're Not Just for Desserts!)
Hazelnuts, the fruit of the hazel tree, have a fuzzy outer husk that opens as the nut ripens; the cream- or tan-colored nut within is covered with a reddish brown paper-thin skin and encased in a smooth shell. Also known as filberts, hazelnuts are available shelled or unshelled, with or without their brown skins, chopped or ground. Pressed hazelnuts produce an oil, similar to walnut oil, that has a strong nutty taste. While you probably know and love hazelnuts from your favorite desserts, they're a great addition to savory dishes, too.
Here, our favorite ways to cook and bake with hazelnuts, plus our tried-and-true method for removing that papery outer skin.
How They're Used
Hazelnuts add a delicious flavor to baked goods, including cookies, biscotti, cakes, and tarts. They also go well with savory dishes like seafood, salads, pesto, and even pizza. They're used to flavor liqueur and to make hazelnut butter, a spread similar to peanut butter.
How to Remove Skins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place raw (shelled) hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until skins crack, about 10 minutes. Transfer warm nuts to a clean kitchen towel and roll up. Rub the nuts in the towel between your hands until most skins have come off. If you're having trouble removing the skins, toast the nuts for a few minutes more until they're a little darker in color. Alternatively, you can agitate the nuts in a coarse sieve or colander set over a bowl to break off the skins.