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Also known as filberts, hazelnuts have a distinctively sweet, nutty flavor. The nickname "filbert" comes from the feast day of Saint Philibert (August 22), the day on which filberts are said to be ready for picking from the hedgerows where they grow in England.

To roast and peel hazelnuts, place them on a baking sheet and toast at 350F until golden beneath the skin, about 12 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice. While the nuts are still hot, place them on a clean towel or cloth and rub to remove the skin (it's okay if some bits of skin remain). Another way to remove the skins is to boil the nuts before you toast them. Combine 3 cups water and 3 tablespoons baking soda in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the hazelnuts and boil 3 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water. The water will end up a murky mess, but the skins will vanish. Pat the skinned nuts dry, then toast them at 350F until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

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15:14:52 on 07/04/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -