As part of the #NOWWellness Influencer Program, I received product samples and compensation from NOW® to thank me for my participation, but the product selection and all opinions are genuinely my own.
Easy & Delicious Recipes with Hazelnuts from My Childhood
When I moved to the US, I was very surprised that hazelnuts aren’t the most popular nut. After all, in Eastern Europe where I’m from, hazelnuts are some of the most used nuts when it comes to cooking, so I just naturally assumed it would be the case everywhere else. You could find hazelnut trees growing pretty much everywhere in parks and forests, and every kid I know grew up with hazelnut cookies on the table for the holidays. While living in the US, I learned to love the taste of peanuts and pecans that dominate the snack shelves, but I still missed the flavors of my childhood. That’s why I was so excited when NOW started selling their very own Dry Roasted & Unsalted Hazelnuts ($8.79)! When I got my first three bags in the mail, I immediately dug into one of them and quickly finished it over the course of the week. Tastes just like home! And that’s when I had the idea to share a few tasty hazelnut recipes with you that I loved growing up, with some modifications for ingredients that can be more easily found in the US.
RECIPE #1: CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT SPREAD
Ok, this may be the most “western” thing on my list, but believe it or not, this spread was very popular when I was a kid! The name-brand spread was fairly expensive due to import fees and markups, but of course, people figured out a way to make their own with the ingredients many already had on hand. For the chocolatey flavor I used raw cacao powder that I had in my pantry, but you can use a chocolate bar or chocolate chips – I’ll share more details in the recipe below.
- 2 cups NOW Dry Roasted & Unsalted Hazelnuts
- 2 tbsp NOW Raw Organic Cacao Powder [Note: substitute for ½ cup melted dark chocolate or chocolate chips]
- 2 tbsp honey [Note: reduce the amount of honey to 1 tbsp if you used chocolate or chocolate chips]
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- Using a high-speed food processor, grind the nuts until smooth and creamy, stopping and scraping down the sides with a silicone tip spatula when necessary. Depending on your processor, this could take between 5 and 10 minutes.
- When the nuts reach a nice creamy consistency, add honey, salt, and vanilla extract, and blend another 30 seconds to combine.
- Finally, add the cacao powder, a little at a time [or melted chocolate, if using], and blend until fully incorporated.
Told you, this chocolate-hazelnut spread recipe is easy and delicious! And our homemade spread even has a little texture from the crispy hazelnut skins that the name-brand product doesn’t have, so to me, it tastes even better than the original. You can easily make a big batch and share with your neighbors, co-workers, and the people you love this holiday season. Plus, I bet the kids are going to love it, too!
RECIPE #2: DESSERT PASTA WITH HONEY & HAZELNUTS
Ok, who here even heard of a dessert pasta? It seems like a novelty thing, akin to dessert sushi or dessert pizza, but trust me, it’s a fantastic dish that will be a complete surprise to the people you cook it for, and you can totally serve it as a main course. This recipe is a modified variation of diós tészta, a Hungarian pasta recipe that uses walnuts and powdered sugar. I first tried making it in high school when I realized that I actually really enjoy the process of cooking at home, and eventually modified it to my own liking, swapping sugar for honey and walnuts for hazelnuts.
- ¾ lbs spaghetti [or any pasta that you like]
- 1 cup NOW Dry Roasted & Unsalted Hazelnuts
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tbs butter [salted or unsalted, whatever you have on hand]
- 2 tbs NOW Manuka Honey [or any other honey you have on hand]
- 1 tbs thyme leaves, dried or fresh
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Optional: a few sprigs of fresh sage and/or fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Cook pasta according to cooking instructions, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water for the sauce.
- Spread hazelnuts on a work surface and lightly crush them with a rolling pin or the bottom of a mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, preheat a large pan on medium heat until hot but not smoking and brown the butter. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn: when it starts foaming, it’s about ready.
- To the browned butter, add thyme leaves, sage, and half the parsley, if using. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds.
- To the pan with butter, add half the crushed hazelnuts, half the parmesan, honey, salt, pepper, and ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water, and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the sauce thickens, 4-7 minutes.
- Add spaghetti to the pan with sauce and continue cooking for another minute or two to incorporate, adding more pasta cooking water if the sauce is too thick. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve spaghetti, sprinkled with remaining hazelnuts, parmesan, and parsley, if using. Jó étvágyat! [aka “Enjoy your meal”, in Hungarian]
What do you think? Is this something you’d like to try? I bet you’ll be surprised at how easy and delicious this meal could be, and it’s such a unique experience, too, making you feel like an international chef. I came up with these modifications as a high schooler, so that should tell you just how easy it is to make this thing 😉 And if you don’t want to use hazelnuts, just substitute other flavorful nuts instead, like walnuts or pecans – it will taste just as great.
RECIPE #3: EASIEST EVER HAZELNUT COOKIES
Do you have a go-to cookie recipe that you could whip up with your eyes closed? I think for many of you, classic sugar cookies come to mind first, but let me introduce you to these super easy hazelnut cookies that are just as quick & easy and come together in under 30 minutes. All you need is a few basic ingredients, plus, of course, some hazelnuts that will make this recipe a little more special.
- ½ cup NOW Dry Roasted & Unsalted Hazelnuts
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup NOW Coconut Sugar or any sugar you like
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt, or any other coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a non-stick aluminum foil.
- Meanwhile, pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble a crumbly meal – watch closely and don’t overgrind.
- Using a stand or a hand mixer, mix together sugar and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Slowly add flour, ground hazelnuts, and salt and keep mixing until dough forms.
- Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2″ apart, then flatten each ball with a fork or a cup. Bake in hot oven for 10-15 minutes, swapping the sheets halfway through until the edges are golden brown. Ovens vary so be sure to start watching the cookies around the 8 minute mark.
- Bonus points: Did you make my hazelnut spread from the first recipe above and still have some left over? Turn these cookies into sandwich cookies by layering a teaspoon of the spread on one cookie and topping with another. Double the yums!
Once the cookies are done baking, just leave them on a wire rack to cool off and enjoy within the next couple of days. Unfortunately, they don’t keep very long, even in the fridge, and start tasting a bit off, so I don’t recommend making them in advance, but they are still well worth the effort because the delicious hazelnutey flavor and the sugary sweetness make the perfect pairing with coffee or afternoon tea. This recipe is super comforting and I love making it from time to time as a special treat.
You can get most of the ingredients for these recipes, including the hazelnuts, at nowfoods.com. If you do, be sure to use my coupon code GLAMORABLE at checkout for a 20% off discount on any purchase, no minimum, plus it stacks with products that are already on sale. This is an exclusive coupon to thank you guys for choosing NOW®, not an affiliate code, and I don’t earn any commission if you use it. Enjoy! 🙂
Ready to fall in love with hazelnuts? I hope you try these recipes and let me know what you think!