Hazelnut butter. It’s a thing. A really delicious thing.
Hazelnut butter is not peanut butter. I was kind of hoping it would be so that I could phase store-bought peanut butter out of our lives. But no, hazelnut butter seems to have a slightly more savory aspect to it even though it still shows some sweetness. The more I ponder the subtleties of its taste, the more I want to liken it to tahini. I wouldn’t want a tahini and jam sandwich, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want hazelnut butter and jam either, but I know I’d be into a beautiful salad with hazelnut butter-honey dressing or miso-hazelnut butter soup. Yossy recently posted a recipe for seeded whole grain scones with tahini that I think would be perfect with hazelnut butter subbed in. So far, I’ve mostly just been spooning it out of the jar and into my mouth.
Normally I don’t get too worked up about trying to get skins off hazelnuts, but some of the ones I was working with (‘Jefferson’ variety) were particularly crusted over, so I did make an effort to peel them at least partially. If you roast them in a 325° oven for about 10 minutes, the skins will split open. At this point, everyone will tell you to rub them in a kitchen towel, which I’ve done before, but it kinda makes a total mess. Someone on Instagram suggested swirling them around in a large strainer to sort of rasp off the skins, and I found that this method works pretty well and the mess is somewhat more controlled. Or you can just grind up the skins. You probably wouldn’t notice a difference in taste.
Homemade Hazelnut Butterroasted hazelnuts, skinned or not a bit of fine sea salt
Continuously grind hazelnuts in a food processor until the texture transforms from chunky bits to mealy fluff to a smooth, viscous liquid. Add a touch of salt. Store in the refrigerator.