What makes our Easy Blanching & Toasting Method for Hazelnuts wicked good? This exceptional method comes straight from the Father of the Food Processor, Carl Sontheimer, and shared by Rose Levy Beranbaum in her James Beard Award-Winning cookbook, The Cake Bible (1988). Rose rules! And, so does Carl. We are talking about the inventor of the Cuisinart® food processor here, people! This method for easily peeling (blanching) hazelnuts is a real winner because it is both fast and effective. You will no longer be pulling your hair out to blanch hazelnuts via the Roasting Method ever again. Those who have never tried this method will find it truly life-changing as far as kitchen techniques go. That’s wicked good, indeed.
- 3½ to 4 cups (840 to 960 ml) filtered or purified water, such as distilled
- 1½ to 2 cups (about 215 to 285 grams) whole hazelnuts, also known as filberts
- 4 tablespoons (about 58 grams) baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350°F. (177ºC.) and have a half sheet baking pan or other baking pan (like a pizza pan) ready.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring water to a full boil. While water comes to a boil, measure hazelnuts and baking soda; set aside. Add baking soda to boiling water. (The water will bubble up and fizz.) Carefully and slowly add the hazelnuts.
- Cook the hazelnuts for 3 to 4 minutes. (I have found that 3 to 3½ minutes is perfect.) The water will turn a very dark reddish-brown color (almost black) from the skins. Test a nut by running it under cold water. (I like to use my slotted spoon to remove the nut from the boiling water.) The skin should slip off easily using two fingers. If not, boil another 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.
- Once the skin easily slips off the test nut, remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the nuts using a colander placed in the sink. Rinse nuts well under cold running water then slip off the skins using your fingers. (If you’d rather not stand over the kitchen sink, use a bowl of cold ice water and complete the process sitting at the kitchen table. Simply use a slotted spoon to transfer the strained nuts into the bowl of ice water.) After the skins are removed, dry completely with a kitchen towel or paper towels before transferring to a baking sheet.
- Toast blanched hazelnuts in preheated oven, stirring often, until light golden brown and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of hazelnuts (15 minutes for small hazelnuts and 20 minutes for large). Cool completely on a wire rack before chopping and using in recipes.
The reason why ice water is used in a bowl is because when all the warm nuts are added, some of the ice will melt and the water will be just cold enough to stop the cooking process while aiding in the removal of the skins. There is no need to use ice if using cold running water working over the kitchen sink.
Please take great care if using a gas cooktop range with this method. Messy results may happen – especially if great care is not taken. The hazelnuts should be added slowly and the saucepan should be watched over very closely to prevent any boiling over of the rapidly bubbling water.
When peeling the hazelnuts, it is a good idea to sit on a stool at your kitchen island or snack bar or sit at the kitchen table, and use two (2) bowls. This is much better than standing over the kitchen sink and will give feet a rest – especially if baking all day during the busy holiday season.
During the last few minutes of baking, watch nuts closely so they don’t burn.
Recipe Adapted From: The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
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