Adventures in Cooking Hazelnut Muffins

Several weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to cook hazelnut muffins from Low Carb-ing Among Friends. Well, it took me until the weekend before Christmas to buy hazelnut meal from our local Whole Foods supermarket. Our normal grocery store doesn’t carry almond meal or hazelnut meal.

I finally had all the “special” ingredients. I put hazelnuts on the list for Mark to buy on his trip to the grocery store. He bought them.hazelnuts

My reaction when I saw them? “Those are the largest hazelnuts I have ever seen.” I did not understand how I was going to chop them to get them into the muffins. No sirree, I did not see how that was going to happen. But Mark volunteered, so I was all set.

Then, I realized they had a hard outer shell. (Some of you are realizing the punch line. Hang in there.) I say, “We need a really strong knife.” I still don’t understand.

Mark takes out the little grinder we use for nuts and coffee. We pulse those suckers until they are practically hazelnut meal. And then, we realize what has happened. The nuts have shells! We have to take the shells off first!

We laugh. I have to sit down, I am laughing so hard. I say, “We need a nutcracker.”

Mark says, “No, we don’t. I have a better idea.”

mallet.hazelnutsHe decides to use a mallet to bang the shell off the hazelnuts. It’s actually a great idea. It’s much easier than using a nutcracker. It’s fast and easy.

In this picture, you can see how nicely the shells separate from the hazelnuts.

hazelnutmuffins.onplateAnd, you can see how the muffins look here. Low-carb muffins don’t look like normal baked goods, which is just fine with me. To me, they taste great.

This whole adventure was funny and showed our adaptability in several dimensions:

  • Using a tool for the job that got the job done, rather than “correct” tool
  • Pairing works in the kitchen, as well as at work. I didn’t have to do it all myself
  • Having a sense of humor about the inevitable setbacks is helpful

I like cooking new things. It’s harder for me to cook these days, because cooking involves a lot of head turning which triggers my oscillopsia. So, I pick my cooking days and experiences. What’s the worst thing that can happen? As long as I stay safe, I’m okay.

So that’s my message for today: Manage the risks you can, and laugh at the ones that don’t kill you.

3 thoughts on “Adventures in Cooking Hazelnut Muffins

  1. Danny Faught

    This remind me of trying to peel mangoes. I have a really hard time distinguishing the pit from the edible parts. Seems likely that supermarket mangoes are often not ripe.

  2. Susan

    Johanna – your hazelnut experience is also about perspective – and what your interpretation of what a hazelnut in a packet is. I still remember asking my youngest to cut up some sausages while we were making dinner one night. When she still hadn’t finished in a reasonable amount of time, I came over to see what she was doing. She thought cutting them up meant lengthwise, not into slices! We did have a giggle about different interpretations!

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