Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Hazelnuts & Bacon

Yes- more soup! It may be sunny outside but it is still freezing. The positive spin I’ve taken on this gloomy situation is that I can still make delicious soup for dinner. 🙂

This recipe is from one of my favorite magazine columns, the RSVP section of Bon AppÊtit. It was adapted from chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines in Kelowna, British Columbia. It was fabulous!

  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts
  • 2 T baking soda
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small florets
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling, optional
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 small onion or ½ of a large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine or water
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • ž cup heavy cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Blanch and Peel the Hazelnuts: Boil 1 ½ cups water in a small saucepan. Add 2 T baking soda and the nuts. Boil for 3 minutes, or until the skin is easily removed. Drain, rinse with cold water, and peel the skin off of the nuts.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°, preferably on convection roast.
  3. Toast the blanched hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
  4. While the nuts are cooling, increase oven to 400°, preferably on convection roast.
  5. Toss cauliflower and 2 T oil on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until florets are browned all over and tender, 30–35 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cut bacon crosswise into ½” pieces.
  7. Heat a heavy pot over medium and cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to paper towels.
  8. Cook fennel, onion, and garlic (I chopped them using a food processor) in drippings in pot, stirring occasionally, until onion and fennel are very soft, 5–10 minutes.
  9. Add wine and cook until mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  10. Add roasted cauliflower, broth, cream, and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper.
  11. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, 20–25 minutes.
  12. Pluck out bay leaves; discard. Let mixture cool slightly.
  13. Working in batches, purĂŠe cauliflower mixture until very smooth. (I purĂŠed the soup using an immersion blender in the pot.)
  14. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  15. Just before serving, ladle soup into bowls; top with bacon and nuts and drizzle with oil, if desired. (I omitted the additional oil.)

Do Ahead: Soup can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill soup and bacon separately.

One Year Ago: Breakfast Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Muffins

Two Years Ago: Cheesy Pasta Casserole with Wild Mushrooms

Three Years Ago: Gemelli with Mushrooms & Ricotta

Four Years Ago: Saffron Pappardelle with Moroccan Spiced Shallot-Butter Sauce

Five Years Ago: Minestrone and Macaroni Baked in Yogurt (Arshda Madznov)

Linzer Hearts

We drag out holidays in my house. One day just isn’t enough of a celebration. 😉

We were so busy eating leftover Mardi Gras King Cake on Valentine’s Day, I had to make a belated Valentine’s Day dessert! The truth is that I was procrastinating a little bit. As much as I wanted to make this special dessert for my husband, I really didn’t want to peel the hazelnuts. :/ I was quite happy to find a method to remove the skin by blanching the nuts. This method is a little bit time-consuming but it completely removes the bitter skin. Yay!

These cookies were very special- completely worth every minute of work. My husband wants me to add them to our Christmas cookie assortment! (in a different shape, of course) The blanching method used to peel the hazelnuts was adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum, via Fine Cooking.com. The cookie recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. Wonderful!

Yield: 9 3-inch sandwich cookies and 14 2-inch heart cookies

  • 4 1/2 oz (1 cup) raw hazelnuts
  • 4 T baking soda, for blanching the hazelnuts
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam, for filling
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

To Blanch, Peel, and Roast the Hazelnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 4 T baking soda and the hazelnuts.
  3. Boil for 3 minutes- expect the water to turn black. Run a nut under cold water and see if the skin slips off easily. If not, boil the nuts a little longer until the skins slip off.
  4. Strain and then cool the nuts under cold running water, slip off the skins, blot dry with paper towels.
  5. Place peeled nuts on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until fragrant.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
  7. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely ground.

To Make the Cookies:

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Whisk the ground hazelnuts into the flour mixture; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest; beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. With the mixer on low-speed, add hazelnut-flour mixture, and beat until just combined, about 10 to 15 seconds.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface or onto plastic wrap. Divide in half and shape into flattened disks.
  7. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. (I refrigerated overnight.)
  8. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator, and let stand until softened slightly. (This will help keep the dough from cracking when rolled.)
  9. Between layers of plastic wrap or on a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Wrap in plastic wrap and transfer to a baking sheet. Place in freezer and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
  10. Repeat with second disk of dough. (You can stack the parchment and dough in the freezer.)
  11. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Working quickly, cut into heart shapes with a 3-inch cookie cutter. Cut out the center from half of the shapes with a 2-inch cutter. (If the dough begins to soften too much, return to the freezer for a few minutes.)
  13. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. (I kept the similar shaped cookies on separate sheets as they had the same baking time.) Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
  14. Repeat with second sheet of dough.
  15. Bake on the center rack, one cookie sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until cookies are crisp and lightly golden all over, about 17 minutes for full 3-inch hearts and 15 minutes for the open hearts and full 2-inch hearts.
  16. Let cool slightly on cookie sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. (Cooled cookies can be stored overnight in an airtight container at room temperature before filling.)
  17. Spread the flat sides of the whole hearts with jam.
  18. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the open hearts.
  19. Just before serving, top open hearts with jam. Cookies should be eaten the day they’re filled.

Christmas 2020 Update: I made 2 1/4-inch rounds with Christmas tree cutouts. I put 12 cookies on each baking sheet. The whole cookies baked for 14 minutes, the cutouts for 12 minutes, and the reserved trees for 10 minutes. Wonderful!

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Dulce de Leche-Hazelnut Macaroons

These one-bowl cookies were quick to make and called for one of my favorite ingredients- dulce de leche. The crunchy roasted hazelnuts and chewy coconut provided nice contrasting textures as well.

This recipe was adapted from Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Baking by Jennifer McHenry, via Scott Suchman of The Washington Post. I roasted and peeled the hazelnuts and adjusted the cookie size and resulting baking time. I double the recipe below and included them in my Christmas cookie assortment.

Yield: about 36 cookies

  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside a third rimmed baking sheet, unlined, for the hazelnuts.
  3. Spread hazelnuts on the unlined, rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the 350-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until you see the skins crack.
  4. Immediately transfer the nuts to a clean dish towel; wrap up and vigorously massage the mass of nuts (through the towel) until the skins have loosened and fallen away. Discard the skins.
  5. When cool enough to handle, chop the hazelnuts.
  6. Combine the coconut, chopped hazelnuts, dulce de leche, vanilla extract and salt in a mixing bowl until thoroughly blended.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, drop by spoonfuls (about 36) on the baking sheets, spacing the spoonfuls an inch apart.
  8. Bake, on the middle rack, one sheet at a time for 7 to 12 minutes, or until just set.
  9. Cool completely on the sheet; repeat with the remaining macaroons.

Make Ahead: The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Haselnussmakronen: Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons

Oh my goodness… I hope it’s not too late to wish all of you a Happy New Year! 🙂

I am so behind on my posts- so please forgive me. :/ I have to do a little catch-up with a couple of holiday cookie posts before I can move on! 😉

These Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons were a new addition to my Christmas cookie plates this year. I thought that they were special and tasty- but my biggest critics (read: my husband & my son) were skeptical. Well, let me tell you that TWO of my neighbors told me that they were their absolute favorite!! I was absolutely thrilled. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Luisa Weiss. I doubled the original recipe and reduced the baking time for a convection oven. These cookies are described as “extremely no-fuss”; they require minimal ingredients and no chilling time. Truly the hardest part of their preparation was roasting and peeling the hazelnuts!! I used a hand mixer (as instructed) but would use a stand mixer (with whisk attachment) next time to whip the whites to a little bit past soft peaks. My thought is that the cookies would be less flat as a result. I’ll keep you posted! 😉 They would also be wonderful for Valentine’s Day! ❤ ❤

Yield: approximately 30 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam (I used Trader Joe’s)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° on convection. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast until the skins split and the nuts are fragrant, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, peel and roast the hazelnuts using the method described here.)
  3. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and 
rub together to release the skins. Let 
the hazelnuts cool completely.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until finely chopped.
  5. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed until foamy, 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted, 
5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Fold in the hazelnuts.
  7. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop 
or a soup spoon, scoop 1 1/2-inch rounds 
of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes on convection, or up to 11 to 13 minutes in a standard oven, or until fragrant and lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and, while they’re still hot, carefully make an indentation in the center of each with 
the back of a teaspoon.
  10. In a small saucepan, boil the raspberry jam for 30 seconds, until slightly thickened. Carefully spoon about 1 teaspoon of the hot jam into the center 
of each cookie. Let the jam set and the cookies cool completely before serving.

Note: The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container between wax paper for up to 4 days.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Orecchiette with Carrot-Hazelnut Pesto

This healthy vegetarian pasta dish was super quick and easy to make. The sweet, raw carrots were lovely combined with the toasted hazelnuts in the coarsely textured pesto. The crunchy hazelnut garnish over the top of the finished dish provided a wonderful contrasting texture as well. This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living. We ate it as a vegetarian main dish but it would also be nice as a side dish.

Well, I’m a little late to the party… My kids’ schedules are taking over my life!! :/ This is the first (of several) springtime (or anytime!) vegetarian pasta dishes that I planned to bring to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #63 this week… I’m just a tiny bit late. (My kids are a great excuse, but my son did have a HUGE swim meet this weekend!!) Enjoy! (and look forward to the next several pastas) 🙂

Yield: Serves 6 as a main dish

  • 6 small carrots (8 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted whole hazelnuts, plus 2 tablespoons, chopped, for serving
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano (2 ounces)
  • coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  1. Toast the hazelnuts: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. (I used a toaster oven.) Roast the hazelnuts until fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool; rub off the brown skins.
  2. Combine carrots, whole toasted hazelnuts, garlic, and grated cheese in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt. Pulse until coarsely pureed.
  3. With motor running, slowly add oil, processing to a paste.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions.
  5. Drain pasta; transfer to a bowl. Add pesto and toss to coat evenly.
  6. Drizzle with oil, top with chopped hazelnuts, and serve immediately.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Chocolate Chip & Walnut Blondies

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Typically, I am a rule follower (first-born child, etc, etc). My husband was going to our neighborhood meeting and we were on the “bring an appetizer” half of the neighborhood list. The other half of the neighborhood was on the “bring a dessert” list. Because it was so much faster to throw together a quick and tasty dessert, I made these blondies to contribute to the meeting. What a rebellious moment! 🙂 We had to sample them before sharing, of course, and they were great. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I have also made them with hazelnuts.

  • Yield: Makes 16
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled) (can substitute 1/2 white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or hazelnuts)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or cooking spray; line pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter (or spray) paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in 1/2 cup each chocolate chips and walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and walnuts.
  3. Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 (on convection) to 45 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 squares.
Note: Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

Gluten-Free Hazelnut & Dark Chocolate Brownies

IMG_5707

I was excited to see this simple recipe on Lattes and Leggings. My gluten-free friend is in the midst of a kitchen renovation and we have dined together a few times. I brought these brownies to a dinner at our mutual friends’ home. I was happy to contribute a gluten-free dessert! 🙂 These are very rich and chocolatey. I modified the recipe by using 72% cacao dark chocolate, lining my 9×9 pan with parchment paper, and adding a pinch of coarse salt. I love that maple syrup is used as the sweetener.

Yield: makes 16 squares

  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup (5 to 6 oz) chopped dark chocolate (72% cacao)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch of coarse salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch or a 9×9-inch baking pan.
  2. Arrange the hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. The hazelnuts will brown slightly, and the skins will become flaky making it easier to remove them. Allow the hazelnuts to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the skins and add 1/2 cup of hazelnuts to a food processor. Processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of hazelnuts to the food processor and process until chopped.
  3. While the nuts are toasting, set up a double boiler or glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add the maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until blended. Add the 1/2 cup of finely ground hazelnuts and continue whisking for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts on top.
  4. Bake for 15 (on convection) to 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool in the pan completely. Cut brownies into squares and serve.

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