Really this recipe was all about trying to use up some nuts we had leftover from vacation (Mike eats a lot of nuts, so we stockpiled). The only thing that popped into my head for hazelnuts was a hazelnut smoothie. I’m not really sure what fueled this notion, as I’ve never had or made a hazelnut smoothie before, but I couldn’t come up with anything else, so here you are.
- 1/4 cup raw hazelnuts
- 1 1/4 cups milk of your choice
- 4 scoops of ice cream, vanilla or chocolate
- 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until hazelnuts are fragrant and swollen in size with cracked skins, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
- Once hazelnuts are cooled, place in a towel and rub vigorously to remove skins.
- Put hazelnuts in a blender and blend until finely ground. Add the milk. Blend until hazelnuts are thoroughly incorporated into the milk. (You may need to scrape the bottom to remove ground hazelnuts from beneath the blades.)
- Add in the ice cream and chocolate syrup and blend again until completely mixed. Serve immediately.
I really liked the hazelnut flavor. I wasn’t sure how much you’d be able to taste it, but it came through loud and clear. And the nuts make it healthy, right? ;)
I should note that this smoothie is much thinner than standard smoothie or milkshake consistency. It pours easily. Decrease the amount of milk for a thicker consistency.
[An aside: I love this blender. This one belongs to Mike's parents, but my parents had pretty much the exact same model--which I ended up taking to college. Whenever it came out, someone would walk into the kitchen and say "my parents have the same blender!" Whoever would have guessed a blender could be a conversation piece? Of course what's really most impressive is that it's 30 years old and still going strong. Yay tan Osterizer that never dies and teaches you the word frappe.]
Could you get by without removing the skins? Probably. Your smoothie might not be as pretty. Maybe you don’t care. As you can see from the picture above, mine did not come completely off. (Most likely they needed more toasting.)
You do probably want to use toasted hazelnuts (whether you toast them yourself as listed in the recipe or buy toasted hazelnuts is up to you). I think the flavor is much better. If you really prefer raw nuts, give it a go.
Our nuts were not salted. Given that this is a dessert, I think most people would want to go the unsalted route. However, I also know that when you dip french fries in milkshakes it’s delicious, so maybe the salty and sweet thing would work?
I actually used chocolate chip ice cream because that’s what was around. Chocolate will clearly make a more chocolatey smoothie. I pondered adding some coffee powder to make a mocha hazelnut smoothie. Coffee ice cream would do the same job. Mix and match to your tastes.