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Bakers and confectioners are partial to nutrient dense nuts because of their rich flavor and texture. They are perfect to use in baking recipes because they can be chopped whole, ground into flour, and made into paste. But, you need to get their skins off first, called BLANCHING, because they are bitter.
Nuts are sometimes chopped and/or toasted after blanching.
BLANCH NUTS - BOILING
This how to baking technique is used with the:
French Macaron Recipe
Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake or Torta Caprese
HOW TO TIPS:
1. Bring water to a boil in a large wide pan.
2. Put whole almonds in the boiling water and let boil for approximately 30 seconds, then drain.
3. Run cold water over the almonds to cool them.
When they are cool, you should be able to slip the skins right off with your fingers.
4. When all of the almonds are skinned, put them in a baking pan, in one layer, and place in a warm oven, to dry out. Do not toast the almonds, you just want to dry them.
If you have a pilot light in your oven, you can leave the pan in the oven overnight. The pilot light should be hot enough to dry the almonds overnight.
Process the almonds into flour:
1. When the whole almonds are dry, place them in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade. Pulse them until the almonds are finely ground.
Be careful that you don't take them too far, or you will start to make almond butter.
BLANCH NUTS - ROASTING:
Before you grind the hazelnuts for use in a recipe, they need to be blanched(skinned).
Caramel Hazelnuts Recipe
1. Place xx cups whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet, in one layer, and toast in a 300 degrees F preheated oven for 8 minutes.
Make sure you stir them a couple of time so they won't burn.
2. Immediately, pour them out on a clean, roughly textured kitchen towel.
4. Separate the nuts from the skins. If some skins are recalcitrant, just leave. A little amount won't hurt.
5. If the recipe calls for it, place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade. Pulse them until the hazelnuts are finely ground.