Hazelnut liqueur is an alcoholic beverage flavored with hazelnuts, herbs and sugar, and colored with caramel. Hazelnut liqueur is found in numerous cocktails, added as a flavoring to coffee, and used to add a rich, nutty flavor when cooking and baking. Using a substitute for hazelnut liqueur will alter the taste of your concoction somewhat, but should offer a flavor which is similar to hazelnut liqueur and acceptable for most purposes.
Hazelnut or Almond Extract
Hazelnut or almond extract gives a nutty flavor in place of the liqueur. Hazelnut or almond extract is appropriate in dishes such as muffins, cakes, nut breads and frosting. This is also a good option for those who abstain from alcohol but prefer the flavor of hazelnut flavor in a dish.
A thick, sweet paste made from ground, roasted hazelnuts and sweetened with sugar, hazelnut paste can be used in baking in place of liqueur. You can buy sugar-free paste made only from hazelnuts, paste sweetened with sugar, or a chocolate-hazelnut spread made from hazelnuts, skim milk and cocoa, like Nutella. To flavor baked dishes, substitute the same amount of hazelnut paste as the recipe calls for in place of liqueur. Almond paste, chestnut puree and praline paste are additional options.
While hazelnut butter is the obvious choice, other nut butters can be used as well. Almond butter or almond filling, cashew butter, peanut butter and sunflower butter are all options for a nutty flavor in dishes. To make your own nut butter, use a food processor or blender to puree roasted nuts, vegetable oil, salt and sugar. Start with minimal amounts of oil, salt and sugar and add them a bit at a time as you flavor to taste.
When it comes to cocktails, the above options are not feasible. In place of hazelnut liqueur, try other liqueurs, especially those made with nuts. Walnut, peanut, acorn and pistachio liqueurs are all options. Praline liqueur has a sweet, nutty taste similar to hazelnut liqueur and can be easily substituted. Brandy is also appropriate for use in cocktails and blends well when hazelnut liqueur is not at hand.