Posts Tagged ‘hazelnuts’

  1. The nuts (revisited)

    OK, well both the Almond and Hazelnut versions ate so well that I’m definitely keeping them on the menu; bizarrely I think they’ll be even better as mini-cupcakes if that makes sense. But I’m going to have to do something about the caramelized nut decorations as they do not store well once on the cupcake. The nuts remain toasted and crisp but the caramel absorbs the moisture from the cake base and buttercream, and starts running off the topping within 12-18 hours. The whole thing still tastes fantastic but looks messy and unattractive.

    Options could include ‘water-proofing’ the caramelized nuts with with plain or milk chocolate, or foregoing the caramelization stage completely and decorating the cupcakes with chopped toasted nuts. Hmmm, I’ll try both and report back.


  2. Nuts!

    I made the caramelized almonds and hazelnuts last night, eating a fair few of them in the process I’ll be honest… Then I tested my recipes for Almond cupcakes and Hazelnut cupcakes, and I was really torn about whether they worked or not. Neither looked very interesting, and I made the almond ones too small I think, plus the decoration was pretty simple with just a few caramelized nuts perched on top of the nut-flavoured buttercream. I also think I need to increase the amount of Frangelico to give the hazelnut ones more oomph.

    Hazelnut cupcake

    Squirrel!

    So I went to bed, half-resigned to ditching them from the menu; after all, there’s the Bakewell Tart stunner for almond aficionadoes, and the Chocolate Hazelnut variety for the Nutella-lovers, so why do the single nut versions at all? But this morning, I tried one of the hazelnut ones, you know, forced it down with a cup of coffee as you do, and it was surprisingly good. The sponge was light and nutty, and the light chocolate-hazelnut buttercream had softened the crispy top slightly. Some of the caramel has dribbled off the nuts into the frosting but there was still crunchy caramel and toasted nuts remaining and it was all-in-all a very elegant cupcake (hate using that word about cake but it was that or ‘sophisticated’).

    Almond cupcake

    Simple but delicious

    If the almond one also eats well, then I could change the almond buttercream topping to a marzipan cut-out topping which will reduce the caramelized nuts ‘weeping’, and also ring the changes in terms of how all the nut cupcakes look (the pistachio version also has a buttercream topping with chopped nuts – coming soon!).

    All comments welcome!


  3. Life is too short to skin hazelnuts

    My plan tonight was to caramelize some almonds and hazelnuts ready to decorate the nut cupcakes that I’m testing this week. So I ventured out in the rain to pick up some supplies from Deen but they only had skin-on hazelnuts in stock.

    I figured it wouldn’t take me too long to skin them but I tell you, I’m only buying the white ones from now on! It’s the most fiddly, messy, time-consuming task I’ve undertaken in a long time, and the only good thing about it is that at least the hazelnut skins don’t stain fingers and nails like almond skins do. I finally have a tray of perfectly skinned, and now toasted, hazelnuts but never again… The caramelization will have to wait until tomorrow.

    On the plus side, while the hazelnuts were soaking and toasting, I tried out my new orange blossom cutter and knocked out a tray of sugar orange blossoms and jasmine daisies for the floral cupcakes I’ll be testing this week too. So, it wasn’t all frustration in the kitchen in the end…