It's been a fantastic summer here in Southern California, cool and pleasant. A shame to see it go, but fall is coming, as we can tell by the leaves on the driveway and the hazelnuts being sold in stores (and the Christmas decorations at Kohl's... good grief....) I saw hazelnuts at Trader Joe's today, and recalled that the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine had featured hazelnuts, and, well...
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup roasted hazelnut meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer till fluffy. Add flour, hazelnut meal, and salt. Beat until dough forms. (This isn't in the recipe, but I had to add about two teaspoons of half and half to make dough form; it was too crumbly without it. You could use milk too, just enough to bind it all together.)
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and transfer to baking sheets (use parchment paper if you've got it). Press balls with a fork to flatten. Bake until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
Such a simple recipe! Assuming you own a food processor, of course; it ain't happening without that.
So I bought the raw hazelnuts and roasted them at 350°F for about 17 minutes. You must roast them; it completely changes the flavor. Anyway, raw hazelnuts have something in them that irritates my throat.
Here are the raw hazelnuts and the magazine the recipe's from (which had a ton of other hazelnut recipes-- I still want to try the hazelnut pancakes!)
And here they are after roasting.
You can see how the dark skins flake off easily when they're roasted. I rubbed the hazelnuts together in my hands to remove most of the skins, leaving this:
Then I ground those suckers down to hazelnut meal:
Mix that with the butter, sugar, salt and flour. Add milk or cream if needed, until you get dough:
Roll the dough into balls and mash 'em with a fork. Use the universally-acknowledged code for nut cookies: a crisscross pattern means peanut butter cookies, while parallel lines mean hazelnut. (I totally just made that up.)
Then bake them.
And eat them!
Now friends, I didn't mean to make two different sweets in one day. Even I am not normally that decadent. But the problem was, the cookies called for half a cup of hazelnut meal and I didn't know how many nuts to grind for that, so I had meal left over. And lo, Martha had a recipe for homemade Nutella that let me use up that meal (plus grind more). So rather than wash the food processor only to drag it out again another day...
7 ounces blanched hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted.
Puree nuts and salt in a food processor until mixture is the texture of peanut butter. Add sugar and chocolate; pulse until combined.
I ground up a bunch of hazelnuts to the consistency of peanut butter,
And added sugar, salt, and melted chocolate.
So simple, so good!!!
Nutella is perfectly smooth, while my homemade spread is a bit grainy. And Nutella stays spreadable even if you put it in the fridge, whereas the homemade stuff gets pretty solid when cold. Also, they don't taste quite the same; there's a different flavor profile. The real Nutella might have more salt; I'm not sure. They're both scrumptious.
You can put homemade Nutella on French bread, water crackers, a spoon, your finger, whatever. What should I put my Nutella on? I can't decide. There's probably something in my kitchen that'd be perfect topped with Nutella. What could it be? While I think about it, here's a final picture of today's goodies:
This was my 700th blog post and I think the subject was appropriate, don't you?