There are kitchen tasks that just take time. Allowing bread to rise, for instance. You release control and just let it do its thing. Or boiling water. Or braising meats. But every now and again you hear of a trick that just changes everything. For bakers, this is one such trick. On the beautiful baking blog, My Baking Addiction, Jamie Lothridge details an easy trick to get rid of those pesky hazelnut skins. Sure we've all heard of the 'toast in the oven and then gently rub off with a towel' method. It's arduous and works, in my experience, for about 3/4 of the nut. There are always hearty skins that are just impossible to get off, and for some recipes you simply don't want them sticking around.
The trick: boil hazelnuts in baking soda and water (2 cups boiling water to 1 cup hazelnuts and 3 tablespoons baking soda) for a few minutes then immerse them in cold water before you peel the skins away. Apparently this trick is far from new. Baker extraordinaire, Alice Medrich, showed it to Julia Child once while making biscotti. We just wonder why more folks haven't heard of it. Think of all of the precious holiday baking hours that could've been saved!
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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