With their distinctive flavour and their affinity for chocolate, hazelnuts play a starring role in our delicious chocolate cake and biscuit recipes. Or try them as a crunchy topping to salads or with our sweet fried scallops.
Hazelnuts are globe-shaped or oval nuts up to 2cm/1in long with a hard brown shell. They grow in most parts of Britain, but cobnuts (a type of wild hazelnut) are particular to Kent. Most of the world's commercially grown hazelnuts come from Turkey. You may be able to buy fresh hazelnuts - particularly native cobnuts - still in their husks, but most are sold already dried and processed, whole, chopped, or ground, either in or out of their skins.
Use hazelnuts whole, grated or ground to flavour savoury and sweet dishes. Finely ground, they can be used in place of flour to make a ‘torte’; roughly chopped, they add crunch to biscuits or meringues. Use them as the basis for a stuffing or chop them up with some dried fruits and scatter the mixture onto your cereal. In Turkey, a sauce made from garlic and hazelnuts is served as an accompaniment to shellfish. Some recipes might call for ‘skinned hazelnuts’: if you don't have any ready-skinned, just roast some hazelnuts in the oven for a few minutes; when they’ve cooled slightly, rub the skins off with your fingers.