Archive for the 'Hazelnut' Category

24
Jan
11

I say Hazelnut and you say Filbert…..

I notice that my blog gets a lot of hits using the search word Hazelnut. Hazelnut frosting,

hazelnut paste, hazelnut butter.  Lots of hazelnut.  I have written a few posts that feature

cakes frosted with hazelnut buttercream.  The addition of hazelnut paste to vanilla

buttercream equals hazelnut frosting.  I have divulged my recipe for the aforementioned

vanilla buttercream in previous posts.  But, where does one get hazelnut paste?  Well, truth

be told, I used to get it where I work when I was the pastry chef.  I would order 15 pound

buckets of the stuff from one of our fancy pants purveyors.  And it was pricey, but oh, so

worth it.  So, now that I only make cakes when a few close friends have birthdays or a few

clients who want to give me money for a cake, my need for hazelnut paste has waned.  Until a

couple of weeks ago, when my favorite client, Katie D., wanted a chocolate cake with

hazelnut frosting for her birthday.  I have searched for sources on the Internet, and there

are many, for hazelnut paste. Very pricey and the shipping is ridiculous.   Lots of calls to

specialty shops came up cold.  Then it hit me – “We have a Champion juicer!” I used to make

peanut butter with the Champion, why not make hazelnut butter?  So make hazelnut butter, I

did.

Lovely, creamy, natural Hazelnut butter

I bought 1 and 1/2 pounds of toasted hazelnuts. You can buy raw hazelnuts and toast them

yourself; the already toasted one were available at work and I wanted to save a step.  If

you want to toast them at home, set your oven at 350 degrees, spread the raw nuts out on a

heavy sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and nutty smelling.

I know, they have a dark brown skin on them, so how do you know when they are browned?  Some

of them will start to shed their skin and then you will see it.  Once toasted, dump them

onto a dish towel and rub vigorously to help remove the skin.  Not all of it will release,

but that’s okay.  You’re going to pulverize them anyway so what’s a little skin?

Straight through the juicer and into the jar. Talk about direct deliciousness.

Now, I have no clue how you would do this if you do not have a Champion juicer.  If you use

a blender or food processor I don’t think you will get a creamy nut butter.  More on that in

a sec……

Here is, the bad boy himself, the Champion juicer. Seriously worth every penny spent on it.

So now I’m all proud of myself for making hazelnut butter, but I realize this stuff is not

going to work for frosting.  I’ve made the error in the past by putting natural peanut

butter in buttercream and ending up with oily frosting.  Not good.  I really need hazelnut

paste.   Back to the Internet I go and, lo and behold, I stumble upon a website called

gourmetsleuth.com where I find a recipe for Hazelnut Paste!  And it is so simple!

2 cups toasted hazelnuts
2 large egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Hazelnut liqueur

Dump 2 cups of toasted hazelnuts into your food processor

Grind it until it is course, like cornmeal

Add egg whites, Hazelnut liqueur and powdered sugar

You don't have to buy brand name sugar or liqueur to get excellent results

Process until smooth

So pretty, so shiny, so tasty!

Once I figured out that only hazelnut paste was going to work to make the frosting. I was on a roll.  I made the vanilla butter cream and started chucking in the hazelnut paste a scoop at a time and tasting after each addition until it was just right.  Not only was I making a birthday cake for a client, I had a second cake in the wings as well.  We were taking our good friend Robert out to dinner on the same night as I was making Katie’s cake.  We were celebrating Robert’s birthday and I could not show up to celebrate his special day without a cake from Vampire Gran’s Kitchen!  A light bulb went off in my brain like in the cartoons and I created a hazelnut filling to slather between the layers of cake.

This is literally two bites worth of cake. I made a taster piece like they do when you go to try cakes for a wedding, ya know? I had to make sure it all went together. after all....

The filling was fabulous!  I mixed the hazelnut frosting with a bit more hazelnut paste, added some of the hazelnut butter and a bit more of the hazelnut liqueur.  It was a bit thin so I thickened it with more powdered sugar.  It was perfection.

Katie's cake was a nine-inch, four layer job. I know, all of my cakes are starting to look-alike. Guess that's my signature style.

I made some chocolate curls to decorate both cakes.  These were fun to make but time consuming.  You have to soften the chocolate without melting it by zapping it in the microwave for like 6 seconds at a time.  Once it is the right – softness (?) – I used a vegetable peeler to make the curls.  Oh, you must have a chilled plate for them to land on as you’re doing this.  Don’t use the same plate that you use to microwave with.  It will be warm and melt your curls.  Yes, I know this from experience and that is why I am telling you.  Learn from my mistakes.

They look like little rosettes (or pencil shavings?)

So, let’s review.  Hazelnut frosting you need hazelnut paste, not hazelnut butter.   Hazelnut butter you need a Champion juicer or a nut butter machine.  Hazelnut paste is easy to make and you need a food processor.  Chocolate curls – microwave and cold plate and a vegetable peeler.

I hope you enjoyed our lesson for the day.  It just made me want a hazelnut butter and jam sandwich followed by a hunk of cake.

02
Oct
09

Fig & Hazelnut Scones

A sweet glaze tops these fig and hazelnut scones

I’m still recovering from my surgery, but you just can’t keep me out of the kitchen.  Katie picked these figs the other day and I just had to make something with them or they would just go bad.  It’s been a while since I invented a new scone so figs seemed just the right thing.  I still had toasted hazelnuts from making the ice cream earlier in the week so these two items would pair nicely.  And I just happen to have some hazelnut liqueur in the house, so the glaze will have a nice hazelnutty flavour.

I used my standard basic scone recipe that can be found in my“Everybody Must Get Sconed” post.  The substitutions are as follows:

Substitute  (1) hazelnut liqueur for the vanilla  (2) cardamom for the nutmeg, trim stems and bottoms of 5 large firm, ripe figs, any variety, and cut into bite size pieces.  Add 1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Mix and bake as directed.  While scones are baking, sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl, add 1 tbsp hazelnut liqueur and 2 tbsp heavy cream or half n half.  Mix until smooth.  It should be a nice glazing consistency.  Glaze scones while they are still hot, minutes after you pull them from the oven.  Allow the scones to cool a bit and the glaze to set.  Enjoy them warm or at room temperature.

02
Oct
09

Chocolate Banana Toasted Hazelnut Ice Cream

I had surgery on Tuesday.  I am not telling you this to illicit any sympathy from my readers.  No, it’s just the prelude to this next recipe.  Anyway, in preparation for said surgery, I made sure to lay into my pantry the necessary ingredients for my comfort food.  Cheddar cheese, bread, butter, dill pickles, tomato soup, crackers, etc.  I really looked forward to my meal of grilled cheese and dill pickle sandwich with tomato soup and crackers.  For me, this is the ultimate recovery food I crave.

I also made a special treat that may well become my new comfort food.  Home made chocolate banana ice cream with toasted hazelnuts.  So rich and decadent.   We had to eat a little the night before the surgery, just to make sure it had healing abilities, ya know?

When I was being prepped for the surgery, I found myself babbling to the nurse about this ice cream.  I know I saw her salivating in my mind. 

You know when you come out of the anesthetic and start talking nonsense?  Not me, I started telling the recovery nurse all about the ice cream that I was going to eat.  I described it to her in great detail.  How I made it.  All about my Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment.  Oh, she got her ice cream lesson for the day.

Later that evening, Katie scooped up that frozen delight and topped it with perfectly sliced banana and toasted hazelnuts.  We enjoyed that recovery treat, cuddled up on the couch, watching a silly movie and I started to feel much better.  It was either the ice cream or all those pain meds……….

Best recovery food ever!

Best recovery food ever!

 

CHOCOLATE BANANA TOASTED HAZELNUT ICE CREAM

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (75% cocoa solids)

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

Put the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate.  Let sit for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to melt and then stir until mixed.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy.  Pour chocolate mixture over the eggs and pour combined mixture back into the pan.  Stir over gentle heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Allow to cool.

Once cooled, pour into food processor or blender along with cut up banana.  Blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until cold.

Lightly whip cream and stir into chilled chocolate banana mixture.  Place in ice cream maker and churn until thick and frosty.  Add chopped toasted hazelnuts the final few minutes of churning.  Put in container and freeze for at least two hours.  Allow to sit out for about 10 minutes before serving.

21
Sep
09

Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Frosting

This past week, a co-worker ordered a cake from me.  It was for her Grandmother’s birthday party.  Both Katie (the co-worker) and her mother LOVE my hazelnut frosting.  So do I!  They also love chocolate.  This hazelnut frosting and buttermilk chocolate cake are perfect together.  The light, sweetness of the frosting with the dense, dark chocolate of the cake are a match made in dessert heaven.  Here is a picture of Grandma Elsie’s cake.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Hazelnut Frosting

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Hazelnut Frosting

The chocolate leaves were simple to make.  I went into my garden, picked some raspberry leaves, coated them in melted dark chocolate, let them sit in the freezer until firm and gently pulled the “real” leaves off.  Make sure you use leaves that are not sprayed or poisonous!

Of, course, as always with me, I had left over cake batter and frosting so I made a few things for my spouse to bring to her job.  I only had enough frosting left over for one cupcake after frosting three individual cakes and I sprinkled them with toasted hazelnuts.

Same cake, different presentation

Same cake, different presentation

I used the same Vanilla Frosting recipe that is in my Elephant Cupcake post and added 1/2 cup hazelnut paste to it.  You may be wondering where to buy hazelnut paste.  Well, it can be tricky to find.  I would suggest calling some upscale foodie markets and shops first.  If they don’t carry it in your area, go online and order it.  There are a lot of sites that sell it, just Google hazelnut paste.  Or you can try making your own.  If you have a Champion juicer, just toast the hazelnuts and put them through using the homogenizing method. 

Well, I am back to the kitchen to work on more goodies to share with you!




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