Dances With Hazelnuts

Brent and I both love hazelnut butter, but there’s so much sugar in the commercial stuff! Then a friend gave me her recipe for a healthy version. I found a source for blanched hazelnuts, Brent ordered a killer blender, and I’ve been making my own nut butter ever since.
Here’s the blender, photographed beside the protein-shake one for scale. If the little one is a Bullet blender, the big one is the Howitzer of blenders.

The craving hit recently while I was out of hazelnuts. Undaunted, I brought a pound of in-the-shell nuts home from the grocery.

But in the back of my mind was the nagging realization that, for the first time, I’d have to blanch the nuts. I approached this task with the same confidence with which I might gut a fish.

Sheer terror.

Honestly, you can look up anything online, including how to blanch hazelnuts. I boiled the nut meats according to the directions. It took longer than I expected, but at last the papery skins slipped right off.

Should I be uneasy that the nuts looked bigger and puffier than the pre-blanched ones I’d bought before?

Next step, toast the skinned nuts in the oven. Since they had apparently retained a bit of water, I made sure they were fully toasted. Then, into the blender they went. Here they’re coarsely chopped, on their way to smooth, dippable greatness.

Once the nuts were pretty well pulverized, I added the other ingredients and blended some more, pushing the stiff goop back down into the blades every ten seconds or so. Usually this “stiff” phase lasts about two minutes.

Half an hour later, the consistency hadn’t changed a bit. If anything, the goop had grown stiffer. By now I could only blend for four seconds before the blades would lose all contact with the hazelnut goop.

I let the blender cool off for a while, and went at it again.

Still stiff, like mortar.

Maybe I had over-toasted the nuts. I added water.

An hour later, I gave up and scooped the resulting hazelnut product into a container to refrigerate, ready or not.

It looks like poop.

And this time, I can’t even blame the appliances.

One thing’s for sure: From now on, I’m only buying already-blanched hazelnuts.

After all, I’m not completely nuts.

Thanks for reading,

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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