Minted Filberts (adapted from Christmas Convoys, 1952)


Filberts are kind of a big deal in my neck of the woods.  Nearly all of US hazelnut production, and about 5% of total world production, happens less than a hundred and fifty miles from my house.  When the kids were younger the local Filbert Festival was a can’t miss community event, and during hazelnut season you’ll find them on everything from salads to milkshakes to seafood in local restaurants.  A prominent local meat producer feeds his pigs hazelnuts just before slaughter, lending a nutty, creamy flavor to the fattier cuts.  You’ve never lived until you’ve had filbert-finished pork belly.

Which is why Minted Filberts, from the 1952 corporate cookbook , caught my eye.  It’s a simple candied hazelnut recipe with an unusual peppermint pairing.  I thought about adding a little bit of green food coloring, but I’m glad I didn’t.  The minty sugar coating turns white and opaque and looks like little puffs of snow.

I was frankly underwhelmed at first taste, but over the course of the next thirty minutes I ended up eating half the batch.   There’s no obvious “wow!” factor – the mint flavor is subtle and they’re not particularly sweet, but both the mint and the sugar really let the hazelnuts speak for themselves.   They’re blanched which gives them a softer texture than a roasted nut, and also a creaminess which the little bit of sugar helps to accentuate.  They’re not a dessert on their own but maybe something you put in a candy bowl for fancy company.   They also make a great topping for chocolate or chocolate mint ice cream.

 

Minted Filberts (adapted from Christmas Convoys, 1952)

  • Preparation: 30 min
  • Cooking: 10 min
  • Ready in: 40 min

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Blanch hazelnuts for 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Rinse with cold water and remove hulls. If not using right away dry thoroughly and refrigerate.
  2. Mix sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes until mixture starts to thicken and is slightly milky and opaque.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in nuts and mint extract and stir to coat. If needed, return to heat and simmer until mixture reaches desired thickness.
  4. Pour nuts onto buttered baking sheet and separate nuts to avoid sticking together. Allow to cool until sugar coating resembles patches of frost or snow.

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