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The best way to coarsely chop nuts?

greygarious Oct 16, 2009 09:00 PM

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. ipsedixit RE: greygarious Oct 16, 2009 11:36 PM

    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
      hotoynoodle RE: ipsedixit Oct 17, 2009 06:36 AM

      ditto. helps release aggressions, too. :)

    2. l
      lgss RE: greygarious Oct 17, 2009 06:33 AM

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

      1. n
        Normandie RE: greygarious Oct 17, 2009 11:12 AM

        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. a
          another_adam RE: greygarious Oct 17, 2009 11:26 AM

          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: another_adam
            greygarious RE: another_adam Oct 17, 2009 03:26 PM

            Is this it? http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...

            1. re: greygarious
              another_adam RE: greygarious Oct 17, 2009 07:37 PM

              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
                Ttrockwood RE: another_adam Nov 2, 2013 05:41 PM

                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:

          2. s
            sueatmo RE: greygarious Oct 17, 2009 03:39 PM

            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
              Val RE: sueatmo Oct 17, 2009 04:04 PM

              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
                hotoynoodle RE: Val Oct 17, 2009 04:21 PM

                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
                  sandylc RE: hotoynoodle Nov 2, 2013 03:08 PM

                  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
                  sueatmo RE: Val Oct 20, 2009 03:14 PM

                  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.

              2. d
                DebL RE: greygarious Oct 18, 2009 09:19 AM

                I use this: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...
                Unlike the cheap versions you find at thrift stores, this one has stainless steel blades. Although it's kind of strangely designed (the bottom is a soft lid that comes off, presumably so you can use it as a shaker), it's sturdy and dishwasher safe. I've also seen it in the Williams Sonoma catalog: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                This works even with peanuts and almonds, which don't break as easily as softer nuts with the whack-em-with-a-rolling pin method.

                5 Replies
                1. re: DebL
                  chowser RE: DebL Oct 18, 2009 10:11 AM

                  That looks helpful--have you tried it with anything other than nuts?

                  1. re: chowser
                    DebL RE: chowser Oct 18, 2009 11:12 AM

                    Frozen cranberries for cranberry bread. Try chopping *those* with a knife!!

                    1. re: DebL
                      chowser RE: DebL Oct 18, 2009 05:14 PM

                      Funny because I was thinking of little round items that roll, too. I had to chop malted milk balls and it was much harder than I would have thought!

                  2. re: DebL
                    Nyleve RE: DebL Oct 18, 2009 11:40 AM

                    I have a grinder like that but I no longer use it because, even when supposedly set to "coarse" grind, I still think it's too finely chopped. I use a knife or the rolling pin method.

                    1. re: Nyleve
                      DebL RE: Nyleve Oct 19, 2009 12:25 PM

                      Yes, it's true that the chopper chops more finely than what I would consider "coarse." But I usually just put up with it, because it's so much harder to do it by knife on a flat cutting board and the food processor does a really inconsistent job. I wonder if that alligator chopper I have aging in the cupboard would work? Just think: nuts in a perfect 1/4" grid! I'll have to try it some day.

                  3. ScubaSteve RE: greygarious Oct 19, 2009 03:03 PM


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