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Why are Americans afraid of hazelnuts?

  • m

As anyone who has traveled to Europe knows, hazelnuts turn up in every kind of dessert. Chocolate bars, ice cream, breakfast spread (Nutella). They really are quite fantastic, and when I tell my European friends that hazelnuts just don't show up in everyday life here in the US, they just don't understand.

I guess I don't either-- does anyone know why hazelnuts (or hazelnut flavor) is MIA in the USA?

Mr. Taster

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  1. This is just a guess, but maybe it's the U.S. fear of nut allergies?

    1. I think it has to do with the fact that so many hazelnuts sold here are rancid by the time the consumer gets them. Plus, people are just not familiar with the flavor. It's much the same as a French consumer avoiding peanut butter because he prefers the flavor of Nutella.

      1. I've often wondered about this, because Oregon is one of the biggest growing areas for hazelnuts, too.

        There are two things that come to mind:

        1) Hazelnuts are a pain in the neck. You have to get the bloody skins off, which you don't with walnuts and pecans. You might need to skin peanuts, but it's a cinch. Pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds generally require skinning, and Americans don't bake much with any of them. Americans may be lazy bakers.

        On a related note, Americans don't have the tradition of buying fancy desserts the way that Europeans do. Most of the desserts we think of as very American are homey things - drop cookies, pies, crumbles, simple layer cakes. A lot of the things we think of as European (tortes, napoleons and other flaky pastries, and so on) are really pastry-shop desserts, ill-suited
        for making at home. So it makes sense that low-prep nuts are more popular here.

        2)I don't know how well hazelnuts grow in the Eastern part of the country. I know I've never seen one in New England. Since our culinary traditions were filtered through the East and MidWest, if hazelnuts don't grow there, they may have dropped out of the mainstream as a result.

        Yummy, though.

        6 Replies
        1. re: curiousbaker

          I agree with your assessment that hazelnuts are hard to skin, but would add that before you skin them you have to harvest them. Harvesting would be much easier if the squirrels didn't do it first.

          I live in the upper Midwest and have over 20 of them planted in a hedge. Dreaming of the wonderful things I could make I watched them grow. They are starting to produce nice crops. The squirrel has left me less then a dozen. Despite the fact he/she has a nice oak and black walnut to harvest from on the neighbor's property.

          1. re: muD

            Should be a real tasty squirrel after feasting on all of those hazelnuts. . .

            1. re: BeaN

              ...and your being in the upper Midwest, it's probably a BIG squirrel, too!

              Lord, how I miss those big, delicious squirrels. The ones in California are just useless...

            2. re: muD

              Oh, the mention of black walnuts makes me wish I had mentioned them in my reply on "hard to shell whole." I love them and love them in appropriate foods, but they are tough little suckas' to get out of the shell.


            3. re: curiousbaker

              to easily skin hazelnuts:
              place shelled hazelnuts in a pan and cover with water, add 1T baking soda and bring to a simmer for 3-5 minutes. strain in a sieve and rinse under cool water. that should dissolve the skins completely (you may need to rub them between your palms a little bit) and you may then roast to optimize flavor.

              1. re: curiousbaker

                Though they probably came from OR, we had them, since forever, in Mississippi. Though I do not recall any being used in any food item, we ate them constantly from about October until February.

                Now, if you want trouble, think Brazil nuts! At least with hazelnuts, you can get a whole one without robotic surgery.


              2. I don't think they're afraid, just unfamiliar. Walnuts and pecans are so much more common.

                My Kansas-born husband had had neither hazelnuts nor lamb before he met me (I was born in Austria). He now loves them both.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Liz K

                  I grew up on the east coast but went to school in the Midwest (Missouri) and my roommate, a native Missourian, also had never tasted lamb before. I cooked some for her one day and she couldn't eat it-- said it tasted too "gamey". Oh well!

                2. I don't think we're afraid of them, in fact I think that imported chocolate with hazlenut and hazelnut flavored coffees are very popular. My Mom used to put a big bowl of mixed nuts (in shell) out in the autumn, and I remember that hazelnuts (aka filberts) were a favorite. HOWEVER, you are right, we don't cook with them.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: shrimpbird

                    Just wanted to add that "hazelnut-flavored" coffee has nothing to do with hazelnuts. Personally I find it disgusting, not out of snobbery as you may think but because the smell is nauseating to me. Real hazelnuts, on the other hand, I like quite a bit.

                    1. re: Sir Gawain
                      quiz wrangler

                      I find the aroma and taste of hazelnut and vanilla flavored coffee distasteful as well, though I love hazelnuts and use them frequently in baking.

                  2. Perhaps many Americans still have nightmares about the hazelnut's close relative, the gigantic filbert, which we all learned to avoid in the mixed nuts that were present at most social gatherings back in the day.

                    Personally, I love hazelnuts. They blend perfectly with both coffee and chocolate. Mrs. W. even uses them in cooking from time to time.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Bob W.

                      Tell me more about the gigantic filberts -- I've never heard about this before, and I don't remember seeing them in the mixed nuts.

                      1. re: AndieCat

                        Not meaning to be contrarian here, but I loved those filberts. It's been an awful long time since I've seen any - guess they must have just gone out of favor.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          If you live anywhere near a Trader Joe's, you can probably get them there.

                    2. I guess I'd never really thought about it - or noticed, for that matter. There was never any shortage of hazelnuts around our house when I was growing up and we usually have some around now for eating/and or cooking. Hazelnuts - and I guess we're really talking about filberts - seem to be a standard component of all brands of mixed nuts. As others have pointed out, there are plenty of chocolates that have hazelnut-flavored fillings and it seems to be a reasonably popular flavoring for coffee (not with me, however). Also, hazelnut-flavored Frangelico liquer is pretty readily available, though I suspect it's not a big seller.

                      1. When I lived in Italy, I found that hazelnut was sort of a default flavor for anything remotely chocolately, and I got tired of it. Most of the time, I'd rather taste good chocolate than chocolate mixed with hazelnut, almond, vanilla or whatever.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bibi rose

                          Why step on something that's perfect to begin with.

                          1. re: bibi rose

                            I agree, too. While most people rave about European chocolates, I find way to many of them to be "adulterated" with hazelnuts. I have nothing against hazelnuts in their place, and I'll eat Nutella out of the jar with the best of you, but I don't want them in everything, anymore than I'd want peanuts in everything.

                            Among other things, hazelnuts give chocolate an oily texture that I'm not crazy about.

                            As for Americans being "afraid" of hazelnuts, that seems like a rather extreme characterization. It appears that hazelnuts/filberts have been relatively rare on the east coast, but they've been common on the west coast as long as I can remember -- at least 40 years. They've only recently become relatively cheap, though (in the same price range as almonds). Perhaps expense was one reason Americans don't use them as indiscriminantly as Europeans.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              To be fair, I only posted the topic this was (challenging Americans) because I thought it would get a better response than an ordinary subject header. And so it did!

                              Mr. Taster

                          2. I don't think they are MIA, generally. They've always been available in various incarnations in the different patches of New England that I have lived in, from Boston to Maine to W. Mass., from the nuts themselves to flavored coffee, nutella, etc., and chocolate hazelnut desserts are something present on many a menu. King Arthur Flour has for several years carried whole skinned hazelnuts as well as toasted and untoasted hazelnut flour. And of course Haagen Dazs makes a mean hazelnut gelato, but that's more recent.

                            1. I grew up in the Northwest, and hazlenuts grew all over the place in the woods. And anybody with a few acres was sure to have a filbert bush. Folks didn't cook with them much, except for maybe cookies - just included them in the bowl of nuts along with the nutcracker.

                              1. Hmm, probably for the same reasons you don't get a lot of kimchee in Switzerland or a lot of borscht in Africa. People eat different foods in different parts of the world. I don't see why anyone would find it to be unusual.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: AlanH™

                                  But America seems to pretty much every type of food, unlike Switzerland. There's borsht here, and kimchee, and cous cous. So why not hazelnuts? is the question.

                                  Turns out there are hazelnuts all over the place, though.

                                2. We have peanuts. Simple as that. They are cheaper and most Americans are accustomed to the peanut taste versus hazelnuts.

                                  I love hazelnuts, but to my palate, nothing is better than peanut butter and chocolate! I introduced an Australian friend of mine to the combo, which she was disgusted by initially. She because a peanut butter addict. Sadly, I never acquired a taste for Vegemite, which she stunk up the place with every morning on toast. GAG.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: SN

                                    I agree -- I think it's the peanuts everywhere in this country. If you think about it, most common candy bars and chocolate here have peanuts in them while, overseas, you see hazelnuts (whole or chopped) as well as nougat made with hazelnuts.

                                    If you don't grow up with peanut butter (grew up in the US but European parents who never fed it to me), peanut butter sandwiches just seem strange.

                                    1. re: T in DC

                                      Very interesting indeed. I had never considered that hazelnuts are the peanuts of Europe!

                                      Mr. Taster

                                      1. re: Mr. Taster

                                        That is just my theory. I visited France several years ago and stayed with a family, and I took peanut butter as one of the "interesting items" to give them as gifts. They were so confused by it and didn't eat it while I was there. I am sure it's still sitting on their pantry shelf.

                                      2. re: T in DC

                                        While on the topic of chocolate..

                                        oh a recent trip to Sydney, I discovered a new Snickers bar.. Snickers Hazelnut. Seeing as how I LOVE hazelnut, I decided to pick one up and try it. It was Heaven. I had to go back and stock up. Unfortunately the store only had about 30 left.

                                        Has anyone seen Snickers Hazelnut in the States?

                                      3. re: SN

                                        I, too, agree. When I read this thread thought "well, we have peanuts". Peanuts are inexpensive and widely available and we're practically fed them from birth (peanut butter).

                                        A Swedish friend of mine used to tell me how vile he found peanut butter to be. he stuck up his nose at and then would sing praises for his childhood favorite - salmon paste in a tube - BLECH!

                                        Different strokes for different folks.

                                        (just realized this post is 4 yrs old)

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          Plus, peanuts grow well in the South. (Anyone recall George Washington Carver inventing hundreds of uses for the peanut to help the poor Southern farmers find crops with uses that they could grow in the early 1900's?)

                                          I dont know much about growing Hazelnuts, but I'm not sure they grow well in the US.

                                          1. re: Mellicita

                                            Um, they grow great here in Oregon. We are a huge producer. In season right now. Funny thing is, the epicenter of the growers happens to be in the heart of pinot country, about 45 miles SW of Portland.

                                      4. I love the taste (flavor) of Hazlenut.
                                        My wife and I brew hazlenut flavored coffee every

                                        Mark H.

                                        1. I actually think that Europeans use hazelnuts too much. They put them in pie crusts, cakes, most pastries. I think they equate good bakery sweets with the addition of hazelnuts. I once bought chocolate chip cookies in Switzerland that were made with them. Awful. In fact, they are used so much there that I don't even like them anymore.

                                          1. Wow...here it is 4 years later and I stumble upon this long forgotten post and am amazed at the response! So, I'm here to add my two-cents, which, at this point, may not be worth the discarded hazelnut shells on my desk...

                                            I have always loved hazelnuts, and would save them for last in the tray of mixed nuts mother kept out at Thanksgiving. Recently, I have asked a few friends whether they like hazelnuts or not and the overwhelming response has been - "No". I started wondering why is this delicious nut so much maligned?

                                            I decided that most of the people I encounter at work or at gatherings stick with the familiar, and do not care to try anything new (especially if it sounds funny or has too many syllables)! If I baked them some hazelnut brownies, they probably wouldn't even realize the difference.

                                            So, in a nutshell (ha), Americans may be "afraid" of hazelnuts because they sound funny and have too many syllables.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: cuccubear

                                              I don't care for the taste. They have a muskiness I don't really like. Similar to Brazil nuts.

                                              Great survival food though, where the squirrels don't get em all.

                                            2. I never cared for hazelnuts. A friend feels the same as I do and summed it up perfectly- "They taste and smell like old library books" I cannot get that out of my head whenever I taste or smell hazelnuts.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: adamshoe

                                                well, now, i'll be the first to admit that i love the smell of old library books -- but i'm pretty sure i love hazlenuts for a different reason!

                                                1. re: adamshoe

                                                  Hazelnut coffees and the syrup they use at Starbucks smell like stinky feet. Ick!

                                                  1. re: pinkprimp

                                                    your stinky feet must smell wonderful

                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                      I had the misfortune of using a grinder at the store right after someone used it for Hazelnut coffee. Blecch!!! Every pot tasted like drinking a yellowing paperback and the smell lingered in my coffeemaker til' I did the vinegar thing. Adam

                                                      1. re: adamshoe

                                                        i'm going to start munching on library books if you keep this up!

                                                        about the hazelnut coffee, though... my impression is that it tastes about as much like real hazelnut as artificially flavored watermelon jolly ranchers taste like watermelon. someone somewhere decided the flavors were similar enough to call one the other. "hazelnut coffee" does sound a little more appetizing than "stinky feet coffee" or "old yellow mildewed library book coffee", i guess.

                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                          Alright, my mind has been opened. Maybe I've never had "fresh" hazelnuts. Just those nasty Ferrero Rocher chocolate thingys and "Gianduia" gelato at several places in italy (until I figured out that "gianduia" means old books in Italian ; ) So , where do I find fresh ones in the Bay Area (Oakland)?

                                                          1. re: adamshoe

                                                            wow, it's been years and years since i last lived in oakland. but i bet the food mill is still open, with all their bulk bins of nuts, grains and dried fruit. if it's still as high traffic as it was before, the bulk bin goods are probably decently fresh, but you can always do a smell test for any rancid odors.

                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                              i had to chime in when i spotted this post, because i'm sitting here munching on hazelnuts as i type this!

                                                              i love the actual nuts, hazelnut flour is a wonderful specialty baking ingredient, and Nutella makes me swoon...but the aroma and taste of anything with artificial hazelnut flavoring [syrups, coffees, and the like] makes we want to hurl.

                                                              adamshoe, definitely try to track down some *fresh* hazelnuts and give them another shot. if they smell TOO musky, they're probably rancid.

                                                  2. re: adamshoe

                                                    Maybe that's why I like them. I love old books!

                                                  3. Any of y'all who pick around the hazelnuts in a bowl of mixed nuts can save them for me! I've always loved them.

                                                    Fortunately, they're easy to find in the Pacific Northwest, where I live. They show up on a lot of restaurant menus (a nice green salad with pears, toasted hazelnuts and blue cheese crumbles...mmmmmmmm!) I have a recipe for a hazelnut bread that rarely lasts more than a day when I make it.

                                                    They grow a lot of hazelnuts in Oregon, but I like the ones I get from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards in Washington. They sell them from a stall at Pike Place Market, and also by mail order.

                                                    Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards
                                                    9821 Holmquist Rd, Lynden, WA

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                      I have to do a shout out for Holmquist hazelnuts, because they're in my neck of the woods and they're cool. They are always at our local farmer's market.

                                                      Anyone else with an interest in Western WA hazelnuts should check out Samson Estate's Oro hazelnut dessert wine. Kinda fun, though I think Frangelico is more practical a purchase.

                                                    2. I live in Eugene and we have filbert orchards all over the place. Our public market always has a nut guy, I just brought down 5 lbs of fresh ones to Scottsdale for some friends. They are great roasted and glazed with honey. We use them in salads, add to cookies, we use them much like you would use walnuts.

                                                      The main competition for american filberts are the hazelnuts from Turkey. So support your local american growers and buy american nuts!!!!

                                                      1. I'm in the Willamette Valley, and my folks still have the 4 trees they had when I was growing up. Mom would do all sorts of stuff with the hazelnuts. Turns out none of us in the family really like them. (well, and the fact that there were always surprise pieces of shell in her cooking).

                                                        I love every other kind of nut - I just do not like hazelnuts/filberts.

                                                        1. As others have said, I think people are used to eating what grew in their part of the world. In Texas, pecans and peanuts are grown, so that's what we ate for generations. Sure I love Nutella, but I'm not going to go look for a hazelnut recipe for the holidays when everyone wants a Pecan Pie.

                                                          1. hazelnut gelato is god's gift to man.

                                                            mario batali must agree since it's a staple at otto.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                              yes to hazelnut gelato. it's the staple flavor i can't tear myself away from. if i want to branch out, i end up having to get two scoops, one of hazelnut and one of the other flavor. =)

                                                            2. because hazelnuts are for commies! ;)

                                                              actually, maybe things have changed in four years' time, but nutella is as ubiquitous on supermarket (and drugstore) shelves as peanut butter, where i live. the only reason why they don't make them into my desserts is because i like to eat them straight and they never last long enough to be baked.

                                                              perhaps we must defend our borders with greater vigilance.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: cimui

                                                                Hi from Portland. Oregon is the largest US producer and they can be found in everything from gelato & chocolate to scones to salad dressings. Most here seem to love them. At the farmers' markets there are usually at least two growers. The harvest just happened and I bought 10 lbs from my favorite grower. I get them raw, store chilled, and roast as needed. The trick to removing the skins is to do it when they are still a little warm.

                                                                I agree with what another said, that maybe some hate them because they never had a fresh one, only half-rancid. That's how I feel about macadamians

                                                                1. re: Leonardo

                                                                  portland, eh? so i guess that commie bit was true. (i keed, i keed! it's one of my favorite towns in the u.s. actually. :)

                                                                  is it possible to find hazelnut butter where you are?

                                                              2. We buy, eat, and use hazelnuts but I don't know that I've seen many recipes for desserts with hazelnuts. Got any good recipes? We're vegan and I'm gluten-free so would want recipes which both or easily adaptable.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: lgss

                                                                  lgss, there are a lot of vegan recipes that use hazelnuts as part of a piecrust and other recipes where you could sub shortening for butter. i haven't tried making this fantastic looking vegan and gluten free chocolate butterscotch 'cream' pie, yet, but it's been in my list of bookmarks for a while:


                                                                  Butterscotch layer:

                                                                  2 Cups raw cashews
                                                                  1 Cup buttershots/butterscotch schnapps (can use 1 Cup water w/ 2 tsp butterscotch extract
                                                                  )1 TBSP maple syrup
                                                                  1 tsp vanilla extract

                                                                  Place cashews and buttershots in a bowl and let soak for at least 4 hours, preferrably overnight. Drain completely, reserving the liquid. Place cashews in the blender and blend until smooth. Add buttershots, maple syrup and vanilla and blend until smooth. Place in fridge and let chill until ready to use.

                                                                  For the crust:

                                                                  3/4 Cup raw hazelnuts
                                                                  3/4 Cup raw macadamias
                                                                  3/4 Cup sweet rice flour
                                                                  1 TBSP Kahlua (or soymilk)
                                                                  3 TBSP shortening
                                                                  1 TBSP maple syrup
                                                                  pinch of salt
                                                                  Preheat oven to 350
                                                                  Place hazelnuts and macadamias in food processor or blender and grind into a fine powder. Empty into a bowl and add kahlua, shortening, maple syrup and salt. Incorporate well. Dough should form a ball when pressed together. Press into a greased pie plate evenly and bake for 15-17 minutes.

                                                                  Chocolate layer:

                                                                  12 oz. Firm silken tofu (such as mori-nu)
                                                                  1 Cup chocolate chips
                                                                  1 Cup soymilk
                                                                  3/4 Cup sugar
                                                                  3 TBSP arrowroot
                                                                  1 T godiva liquer (or 1 tsp chocolate extract)
                                                                  1 tsp vanilla extract

                                                                  Place tofu in blender and blend until completely smooth.
                                                                  Place 1/2 cup soymilk in a container and whisk in the arrowroot until completely dissolved. Set aside. Put the other 1/2 cup of soymilk and all of the chocolate chips in a small saucepan and turn heat on to medium. Cook until chocolate melts completely. Once melted, whisk in the arrowroot mixture and sugar, stirring constantly until thickened, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in godiva liquer and vanilla extract. Add to the tofu and blend until smooth. Pour into cooked pie crust and place in fridge to cool.

                                                                  Once the chocolate layer is set, pour butterscotch layer over and let it chill for another 30 minutes, or until firm. Top with soy whipped cream and chocolate syrup (melt some chocolate chips in a double boiler and whisk in some soymilk or godiva liquer) drizzled over the top.

                                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                                    Where do you find butterscotch extract? I have been to lots of grocery stores in the Kansas City area, and other than mail order, I am about out of ideas. I would rather not pay shipping. Whole Foods is one I haven't tried yet, but I may call them today to see if they have it.

                                                                    1. re: Shevyowner

                                                                      unclear, shevy, i'm sorry. it sounds like one of those artificially flavored substances, so i rather doubt they'd have it at whole foods. my approach would be to buy a small bottle of buttershots at the liqueur store (and hide the rest of the bottle from my friends to avoid ridicule).

                                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                                        actually, Shevyowner, you should call your local Whole Foods - Frontier Naturals makes a butterscotch extract, and most WFMs carry their products. i bought it at the one near me, and i've seen it in stores on both the East and West Coasts.

                                                                  2. re: lgss

                                                                    I made a hazelnut pie for Thanksgiving and it was the hit of the day. The filling is pretty similar to pecan pie, which I've never much liked -- but the hazelnut flavor is a really wonderful twist.

                                                                    1. re: mcgeary

                                                                      Interesting. I do like hazlenuts, though have to admit that I like pecans even more. I cannot imagine passing my wife's pecan pie for anything that I have ever tasted. It goes great for a late-night snack with a glass of Porto Barros 20 year Tawny Port.

                                                                      I'll have to give some thought to the flavor profile of hazelnuts, to see if I can find a wine to go with that. Madeira, maybe?



                                                                  3. There is nothing more delicious than a hazelnut mocha torte. These were available in bakeries and konditoreis when I was growing up near Manhattan. Sadly, I've lived in the Boston area for over 30 years.

                                                                    On Julia Child's classic show, she made a Los Gatos Gateau (LG grows apricots), a torte with apricot puree and hazelnut meringue layers, that she chose as her favorite birthday cake.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                      I don't like the taste or smell of coffee and we're vegan so I'll pass on these two recipes with all the egg and butter. The price of hazelnuts also recently went up quite a bit. I'll wait and watch for recipes more suitable for us.

                                                                      1. re: lgss

                                                                        lgss, if you ever want to splurge, hazelnut flour is great for GF baking [same principle as almond flour]...but it's *very* expensive.

                                                                    2. I agree with the others that have said it's just not a part of the American palate. Most Americans, I suspect, wouldn't recognize one in the shell, nor would recognize the taste. I grew up with an Italian grandmother, so the filbert always appeared in the bowl of nuts after dinner, and we all fought over them. I love them fresh out of the shell, or freshly roasted.

                                                                      DH, raised with all off the boat Irish grandparents, wouldn't know a filbert if I threw a bag of them at him. He wouldn't recognize the taste of the real thing either, but he'd certainly recognize the smell of the vile "hazlenut" coffee his mother and sister prefer to brew.

                                                                      1. I did not realize that they were any sort of problem in the US. I've eaten them since childhood, and that was a long time ago. Back then, we called them "Filberts." I see them often in various dishes, though probably not as often as almonds and pecans, but still pretty often. Take away Asian uses of peanuts and cashews, and I'd say that they are #3 down the list.

                                                                        Now, I do not like "hazelnut flavored" anything. Give me the nuts, and do not add the artificial flavor. Most of these make me somewhat ill. My wife is the same. We also nearly always have a bunch in the "nut jar," around the Holidays.

                                                                        Guess I just go to different restaurants.


                                                                        1. In Oregon many of the marketing and other functions related to the nut are done by the Oregon Hazelnut Commission. They have a website with lots of interesting receipes:


                                                                          1. that is like asking, why are europeans afraid of pecans?

                                                                            americans are no more "afraid" of hazelnuts or filberts http://www.thenutfactory.com/kitchen/...

                                                                            than europeans are afraid of pecans. http://www.ilovepecans.org/history.html

                                                                            look at the native species. that is what determines prominence.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              funnily enough, i was perusing gourmet's cookie recipes, and came across this: "Similar in style to European butter-and-nut cookies, these crumbly sweets are made with pecans (which are native to the Americas) rather than hazelnuts or almonds. The result is a slightly softer cookie with that unmistakable pecan flavor." (PASTELITOS DE BODA
                                                                              BRIDE’S COOKIES) http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/1980s/...

                                                                            2. Hazelnuts are my favorite. I never had then growing up, but I remember the first time I tried them in the Godiva Open Oyster. Don't care for Godiva chocolate, but I immediately fell in love with the flavor of the hazelnut.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: beth1

                                                                                yes, i fell in love with hazelnuts in italy.

                                                                              2. I don't understand the original question - while there may be some unfamiliarity, that does not equate to fear. As for myself, filberts, as we called them, were a mainstay of my childhood in Boston. We often had bowls of mixed unshelled nuts in the house (especially around Chanukah) and filberts were among the easiest for a kid to crack successfully - as opposed to, say, walnuts or Brazil nuts.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                  my parents used to buy the mixed nuts in the shell,and also Planter's mixed nuts which have filberts in them. I don't mind their flavour, however, I don't think that i would care for them in everything. Also, a popular nut years ago, was the chestnut,which europeans also use. And here in America, people have used also hickory nuts and butternuts for cookies and baking.
                                                                                  I don't recall my dad mentioning grandma using many filberts in her desserts. I know he mentioned she sometimes used chicken fat or goose fat (rendered I imagine) when making cookies.This was when she made them for the holidays like Christmas, .She used to make her own stollen too, and other german baked goods.

                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                    i always look forward to the holidays, when i break out my nut bowl with whole, unshelled nuts, nutcracker, and picks. i make a mess like a squirrel! {;^D

                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      Upon great reflection, I think that the "mess" is part of the whole process! {Grin]

                                                                                      I understand your allusions. We usually have to break out the hand-held vac' after an eating frenzy at the Holidays.


                                                                                  2. im not afraid of them, but i'm not crazy about the way they taste, and i think they do not improve chocolate, quite the contrary -

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: thew


                                                                                      We're talking about the real things here, right?

                                                                                      I guess that it is one's individual palate, but I really like their tannins with a nice dark milk chocolate. Interesting how different items impact different folk.

                                                                                      While they are down my "Favorite Nut List," I do enjoy them - just not the chemical reproduction of hazelnut flavor.

                                                                                      Hey, if you find one in your Whitman's Sampler this Christmas, you can always send it to me... I'll trade 3 caramel and 4 nougat chocolates for one hazlenut.


                                                                                    2. I was in Trader Joe's today to pick up a bag of hazelnuts. As I grabbed the bag off the shelf the dude next to me chimes up, "ya know, most folks don't like hazelnuts". I chuckled and remembered this thread and told him about it. :)

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                        which do you prefer the raw or the blanched?