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Appetites: Beyond Nutella, how to use hazelnuts in your kitchen

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Hazelnuts and buckwheat hazelnut crackers
You can use buckwheat and hazelnut flour to make these gluten-free crackers, with a nutty-tasting crunch.
Jiwon Choi | MPR News

Hazelnuts are primarily grown in Turkey, but more and more of them are being grown in the Upper Midwest, and Minnesota-grown hazelnuts are coming to a farmers market or co-op near you. 

Chef and food writer Beth Dooley says hazelnuts are one of the most sustainable crops in the world, as well as a great source of plant protein. 

Dooley, author of “Minnesota's Bounty: The Farmers' Market Cookbook,” talked about how she uses hazelnut oils, flowers and the nuts around the kitchen. She also shared her recipes for some healthy, delicious hazelnut treats: 

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Hazelnut crackers

Makes about 20 crackers.

Note: Made with 100 percent hazelnut flour, these have a distinctly rough texture and full on hazelnut flavor. For a softer cracker, work in equal parts whole wheat or white flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hazelnut flour

  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon za’atar seasoning or more to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Work the hazelnut four, oil, butter and egg into a stiff dough then work in the seasoning.

Turn onto the pan and, using your hands, shape into a rectangle. With a sharp knife, score the rectangle into crackers. Bake until the crackers are firm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and place the parchment with the crackers on a cooling rack to thoroughly cool the crackers before cutting.

Buckwheat hazelnut crackers

Makes about three- to four-dozen crackers.

You can find plenty of delicious whole grain crackers on the store shelves but they cost a bundle and those you make at home are even better tasting. Make these gluten-free crackers by using buckwheat and hazelnut flour for an especially nutty-tasting crunch.

Unlike many of the “healthy” crackers, these are kept from being too hard or dry with the addition of sunflower or hazelnut oil. Top them with your favorite seasoning, chopped hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, or any of your favorite spice blend — coarse salt and pepper are often all you need.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat, barley, rye or whole wheat flour

  • 1/4 cup hazelnut flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup hazelnut or sunflower oil, or more if needed

  • 1/4 cup water, as needed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the flour, hazelnut flour, salt. Pulse in the oil until the mixture is crumbly, then pulse in the water until the mixture gathers into a ball.

Line a work area with a sheet of parchment paper. Place the dough on the parchment, cover with another sheet of parchment and roll the dough out between the two sheets to be about 1/8- to 1/4- inch thick.

Cut the dough into desired shapes. Place on the parchment and sprinkle with coarse salt, chopped hazelnuts or sunflower seeds. Bake until the crackers are lightly browned about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool on racks. Store in an airtight container. If the crackers become too soft, recrisp in a low oven.

Hazelnut chocolate bars

Makes about 12 to 16 squares.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 tablespoons hazelnut oil

  • 1/4 cup maple sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Generous pinch salt

  • 3/4 cup hazelnut flour

  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour

  • 1 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chip

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, work together the butter, oil, maple sugar, vanilla extract, the work in the hazelnut and wheat flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto the prepared baking pan and press the dough into the pan with your fingers. Bake until the edges are golden about 15 minutes. Scatter the chocolate over the top and smooth over the bars as it melts. Transfer to a rack to cool.