Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), also known as filberts (Corylus maxima), are small, usually spherical nuts with a slightly sweet flavor. They are generally toasted to enable removing their papery skins. Roasted, the flavor is similar to browned butter. Hazelnuts are used in a wide variety of foods and are the key ingredient in Nutella®. The shelled nuts are used in breads, cookies, cakes, pastries and candies and are used extensively in cooking. The nuts pair well with chocolate.
The hazelnut, also known as the cobnut, is the nut of the hazel. It is roughly spherical to oval in shape, about 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. The nut falls out of the husk when ripe, about 7–8 months after pollination.
Hazelnuts are rich in protein and unsaturated fat. Moreover, they contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins. Additionally, 1 cup (237 ml) of hazelnut flour has 20 g of carbohydrates, 12 g of which are fiber.
Common Hazel is cultivated for its nuts in commercial orchards in Europe, Turkey, Iran and Caucasus. The name “hazelnut” applies to the nuts of any of the species of the genus Corylus. This hazelnut or cobnut, the kernel of the seed, is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin which has a bitter flavour and is sometimes removed before cooking. The top producer of hazelnuts, by a large margin, is Turkey, specifically the Ordu Province.
To toast and skin hazelnuts:
Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 325 degree oven. Toast, shaking the sheet occasionally, until nuts begin to change color and are fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Rub the warm nuts in a kitchen towel to remove the thin, papery skins.
To chop hazelnuts:
Spread the hazelnuts on a work surface and, using a chef’s knife, chop with a rocking motion. Or, chop the nuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste.
To grind hazelnuts:
Use a countertop nut mill, the best tool for grinding nuts evenly. Or, grind the nuts with a mortar and pestle. You can also use a food processor fitted with the metal blade; do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste.
For other nut varieties, see almonds, Brazil nuts, candlenuts, cashews, chestnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.