Friday, April 10, 2009

Ms. Stewart, I'm in a Hazel-huff.

I was inspired to try making these Hazelnut Orange Rochers after spying them in a back issue of Martha Stewart Living. (After all, Ferraro Rochers are my all time favorite drugstore chocolates, and apparently "Rocher" means "Rock" in French. Who knew?) They were heavenly, but I have two bones to pick.

1) Blanch hazelnuts.

These instructions seem simple. It's two little words. Like "add egg" or "chop finely." Blanching hazelnuts is actually quite hellish. Oh yes, online they'll tell you that you just have to "toast at 350 for 20 minutes", then "rub vigorously with a coarse towel and skins will fall off". Ha. Not so. Not so at ALL.

What actually happens is that after toasting them, you burn your hands handling those hot little mothers. The skins are coming off- sorta- I guess. You refer back to the internet. It says "Don't worry if the skins don't all come off cleanly. A small amount won't hurt." Somehow, I doubt that Martha would agree. Plus, this doesn't look like a small amount to me. I mean, these little mothers are still mostly brown. So you toast them some more in the hopes the skins will continue to loosen. You pick out the successfully nudified ones and put them in a pie pan. Then you toast some more, watching like a hawk so they don't scorch. And so on and so forth. For several hours. By then you are too damn tired amd sweaty to finish the batter and are begining to suspect they would actually look nicer if you'd just skipped step one. (Half naked hazelnuts are quite ugly, people. Like little mangy beggars.) You go to bed in a huff.

The next day, refreshed by dreams of purchasing pre-blanched hazelnuts, you complete the batter. (Just dump it all in the Cuisenart, transfer to an airtight containger and refrigerate overnight. Cake compared to that blanching NONSENSE!)

On Day Three (THREE!), Martha explains that you should double up two cookie sheets to avoid scorching and put mounds of the (incredible smelling!) dough 1 inch apart, top with a single hazelnut, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 for 25- 30 minutes. This brings us to bone number two.

2) Martha says you'll have 52 cookies.

I ended up with 12. I guess she makes hers A LOT smaller than mine. They were really good. Really, really good. But I'd say there are a few teensy holes in this recipe. (I can't stay mad for long though. She's way to good. I just need a slight cooling off period.)

P.S) How do YOU blanch nuts? I'm in need of some new methodology.


abby said...

ha! 12 instead of 52? why does stuff like that always happen?

way to try something new.

Kristin R. said...

I buy pre-blanched nuts.

Ez said...

Haha...I couldn't help myself from chuckling as I read your post. I too went through blanching "hell" two days ago in a misguided attempt to make these cookies (now in Martha's latest holiday cookies special mag). They're still cooling on the rack (all 16 of them) as well speak so the jury is not back on the taste verdict yet. Would I make these again after rubbing my hands raw on a pan of scalding hot hazelnuts for hours on end. Hellz-no!
Thanks for sharing in my pain with me!

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