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Oct 16, 2009 09:00 PM

The best way to coarsely chop nuts?

Costco's Kirkland brand nut meats, in 3# bags, are good quality and a good price. I like to chop them coarsely but evenly for use in cookies, brownies, etc. I do about a pound at a time, to keep in a glass jar in the refrigerator, and freeze the remainder. I have both a standard size and a mini Cuisinart. Neither does a good job on this task. Even with careful pulsing, the bowl gives me an uneven mix of finely ground to nearly-intact nuts. Is there a trick to getting even but coarse chopping in a processor? The infomercial pump choppers, with or without a jar, don't chop evenly, either.

I've long since given up and resigned myself to spending an evening with a wooden bowl and a curved chopper. I have both an ulu (similar to a mezzaluna) and a chopper that has 2 curved blades that intersect one another, forming an X. It doesn't send pieces flying out of the bowl like a single blade does. (A double mezzaluna, with 2 parallel blades, would also minimize the airborne nuts.)

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  1. Fill ziploc bag with nuts.

    Get one big rolling pin.

    Place said ziploc bag on sturdy cutting board

    Pound ziploc bag with rolling bin until nuts are coarsely chopped

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      ditto. helps release aggressions, too. :)

    2. We also use an ulu and ulu bowl which my husband brought back from Alaska.

      1. I use ipsedixit's method and find that works very well.

        I'm also perfectly happy doing it with a good sized cutting board and my chef's knife. I just rest my non-cutting hand flat out, palm down, on top of the blade toward the end of the knife and rock the blade. Really, the nuts don't go flying, but I would suggest doing it in smaller batches. I like this method for my purposes because I can see which pieces need further chopping. And--nothing complicated to clean up!

        1. Although I'm generally not big on single-use gadgets, I had a cheap IKEA nut grinder with coarse or fine options that makes super short work of this, and I love it. It's true that it creates an item to wash afterwards, but it's small and dishwasherable.

          3 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              Wow, no, that one is more modernistic and fancier than the one I have- it looks more like one of those multipurpose "push choppers". The one I have is like the kind you can see by a google images search for "nut chopper"; it's like an hourglass, with a turn crank that sends the nuts through the teeth into the lower part.

              1. re: another_adam

                My mom has one of these that is like 20yrs old at least- and still works great! The nuts are caught on the bottom jar, but always very similar sized chunks.
                Hers looks exactly like this:

          1. I chop nuts as I need them with a chef's knife. I don't like a food processor for this job. I believe I hated the mini Cuisinart when I had it. I didn't think it was a good appliance. I've pounded nuts, but I find that they break into fine and large pieces. For me, it is less bother to chop them with a knife.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              Sueatmo...I'm kind of in your corner...for my little oatmeal breakfasts, I actually just break up the toasted walnuts with my hands to add to the oatmeal....but for a big job, like adding chopped nuts to a pumpkin bread, etc. I use the pounding method OR my chef's knife. Nuts are a PITA, along with deveining shrimp!!! LOL!

              1. re: Val

                laziness prevails for me and i no longer devein shrimp. i don't like the processor for nuts because it pulverizes some to dust. i don't mind a knife for a small amount, nor do i mind them being irregularly sized in baked goods. i actually kind of like that.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I generally don't mind various sizes either, except when making biscotti and while slicing the logs I don't want to run into larger pieces that will tear the tender slices. I also don't want the nuts to fine, because I want them to retain some integrity in the cookies.

                  Yes, I know it's an old thread. Still relevant, though.

                2. re: Val

                  Val, in my mother's kitchen when I was first beginning to bake, I broke the nutmeats up with my hands! I just broke them into pieces into a measuring cup. I would sit down for a few minutes to do that job. I did it that way for a long time, before I began using a chef's knife.