More Than Waffles

Hazelnut Waffle DemoI pulled in to in the supermarket lot, parked, and swung over to the long line of shopping carts.  Flipping down an infant seat, and dropping in my overfilled shabby bag, the ad at the far end of the cart caught my eye.  Nutella topping a waffle.  A few berries scattered artfully on top.  And it was only yesterday that we were making hazelnut sour cream waffles with a schmear of homemade chocolate hazelnut goodness, spreading the love at a cooking demonstration designed to introduce and promote our book, In A Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds.

Homemade Nutella is a snap to make, deceptively easy.  Just whiz 5 ingredients (Dutch process cocoa, confectioner’s sugar, chopped hazelnuts, vanilla extract and canola oil) together in a food processor or a Vita Mix blender, as we did in our demo. It keeps for a week or even longer tightly closed in the refrigerator.  The flavor is massive in comparison to the commercial stuff.  Sandy in texture, dark in color and deeply rich in flavor, we love to eat it many ways.  The two best ways come quickly to mind.  First is licked right off of a spoon.  Next is how we prepared it at the demo, same as the advertisement I spied in the supermarket cart: spread on a piping hot waffle.

We made waffles of substance to pair with the spread.  The Hazelnut Sour Cream waffles are both dense and crunchy.  Made in a Belgian waffle maker, they have deep cavities that are easily filled to their brims with the spread. Both hazelnut flour and chopped pieces of hazelnut keep the texture just right: light yet firm with a little golden crust on the outside. The combo is Hazelnut Heaven.  We hope for the day that many folks exchange their trips to the frozen food isle with dusting off their waffle irons and whirring up their blenders.  Our Hazelnut Sour Cream waffles with homemade chocolate hazelnut spread make an easy to prepare breakfast or snack that outshines the commercial combination in every way.




Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans #NutSnackoftheWeek

pecans pumpkin pie spiced

4 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 cinnamon sticks

6 whole cloves

Two slices freshly peeled ginger, about ¼-inch wide

4 cups pecan halves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoons sugar

½  teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F
  2. In a small saucepan, mix together the 4 tablespoons sugar, water, oil, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is fully melted about 2 minutes.  Set aside and allow it to steep for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place the pecans in a large bowl. Strain the syrup over the pecans to remove the cinnamon, cloves and ginger.  Toss to coat the nuts completely.
  4. Transfer the pecans to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and lightly coated with non-stick spray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until they begin to brown. During the baking, take them out of the oven 2 or 3 times to stir so they bake evenly.
  5. While the pecans are baking, mix the salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves together, and set aside until ready to use.
  6. Remove the pecans from the oven and immediately toss them with the spice mixture. Cool the nuts completely in the pan on a wire rack.  The pecans can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.