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I am trying to make a hazelnut butter, for the ultimate gain of a vegan Nutella-like outcome, but in order to do so I need to use "skinned" hazelnuts. I've tried the following:

  1. Boil a cup of hazelnuts in 2 cups water with 3 tablespoons baking soda
  2. Drain
  3. Put in ice bath to cool
  4. Rub skins off with towel

I got to the fourth step, but it was difficult to get the skins completely off of the hazelnuts. I was using a paper towel, and it turned out using my fingers was easier.

How can I get completely clean/blanch hazelnuts? Am I doing anything wrong or using something incorrect?

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2 Answers 2

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There are really two methods. The roasting method, where the nuts are roasted, then placed in a kitchen towel, and the skins are rubbed off. The second is the blanching method, where you blanch for 2 - 3 minutes, then rub the skins off. I've had more success with the roasting method. However, it does take some time, and you will have some stubborn ones, where the skin does not come off easily. In either case, I would not use paper towel, but a more sturdy, cloth towel. You may not get every one completely clean.

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  • Roasting method may possibly improve (or at least alter) taste too, by adding a more earthy toasted flavor, no? Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 10:24
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    @DuarteFarrajotaRamos certainly, the flavors will be different.
    – moscafj
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 10:51
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    Yeah, I've only done the roasting method myself. And Moscafj is right that you need to use a real cloth towel, preferably a thick one.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 5:47
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I too scoured the internet for methods and found the two methods found in moscafj's answer. However, I found both approaches so frustrating and time consuming that I was considering abandoning homemade chocolate hazelnut spread altogether.

In my desperation to get the skins off of a large batch of hazelnuts, I tried something new-- I transferred several of them, recently roasted and still quite hot, into a large mason jar, filling the jar between one half and three quarters full, the put on the lid and shook the heck out of it. The skins loosened and came off! I poured the hazelnuts out of the jar into a colander with extra large holes, which I shook over the compost to sift out the skins. The pile of hazelnuts I was left with was not perfect, but it was about as good as the results I had gotten from the other two methods, with much less time and effort spent.

So, I humbly posit a third method:

  1. Roast the hazelnuts
  2. While still hot, place them into a large, hard-sided container, filling it between ½ and ¾ full (you want room for them to bang around a bit). This can be a mason jar, or a tupperware, or even a bowl with a plate over the top-- just something with hard sides that can be covered.
  3. Cover and shake vigorously to separate the skins from the nuts
  4. Pour the nuts into a large-holed colander and sift until only nuts remain
  5. Repeat as necessary

Hope this helps, and hopefully someone else finds success with this method!

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