Hazelnuts are a tasty addition to a variety of foods ranging from desserts such as chocolates or cake to chicken or fish meals. Peeling hazelnuts is essential in avoiding the bitter taste of their skins and to give the finished recipe an appealing look. Many recipes using hazelnuts actually do require skinned hazelnuts before they are ground, chopped or thrown in as whole. Fortunately, there is a simple way hazelnuts can be skinned before being roasted.
Preheat your oven to about 350 degrees F. In the meantime, arrange the hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray. Place the hazelnuts into the oven once it's heated and roast them for 15 to 20 minutes. This is not the actual hazelnut roasting part, but the process used for skinning hazelnuts. Remove tray from oven using oven mitts.
Pour the hazelnuts into a clean kitchen towel and fold up the towel, covering all the nuts completely. Leave the hazelnuts wrapped in the towel for about five minutes to steam. This helps loosen the skins from the hazelnuts.
Rub the hazelnuts together for several minutes while still wrapped in the towel. Apply some pressure and rub briskly. Open up the towel and check if all nuts are now without skins. Repeat the rubbing process if many skins remain on the nuts. Note that small parts of the hazelnut skins may remain on the nuts. Peel them off using your fingers or by rubbing each hazelnut individually with the towel. Or, remove all the hazelnuts which are completely skinned and rub those with some skin remaining using the towel. All nuts should be completely removed from their skins in the end.
Set the hazelnuts aside to cool while still in the towel. Pick out the hazelnuts from the towel, leaving the skins behind. Arrange them on the baking tray or set aside if you plan on roasting them later.
Roast your hazelnuts according to your specific recipe considering that the oven is now heated and the skins of the hazelnuts are removed. Use the same baking tray unless your hazelnut roasting recipe calls for different roasting methods other than in the oven.
When hazelnuts are roasting for the skin removal process, they will start to emit a pleasant aroma after a while. This is the signal that they should be removed from the oven and skinned.
Be careful when handling the hazelnuts and baking tray since everything will be hot.