If you have ever held any doubts about nut milks, or about going to the extra effort to make them at home yourself, then THIS is the nut milk to change your mind.
I’m not sure that I can do it justice with words alone, but imagine the most beautifully rich and somewhat decadent milk tinged with a deep, roasted hazelnut flavour and smooth, creamy texture. This milk is queen of all homemade nut milks and even though it has a very distinct flavour and colour, I couldn’t imagine it not working anywhere would normally use plain milk. Tea, coffee, porridge, muesli, cakes. Each option gets me excited at the possibility of the how much better that particular drink or dish would be with a little dash of this added in.
Step 1 – Crack the nuts
I picked up some locally grown hazelnuts from the farmers market only to discover that hazelnuts are an absolute nightmare to crack open. Especially when you have a few hundred to get through! With wails of impending RSI, I managed to convince B to help me out, but next time I think I’ll fork out the few extra dollars and buy the pre-cracked version.
If you’re a sucker for pain though, you’ll need to slowly work through this step to get you started. I recommend listening to this while you do. It dulls the pain, a little.
Step 2 – Roast the nuts
After you’ve cracked the nuts, you’ll need to roast them. Preheat the oven to 180C || 350F and spread the nuts out on a baking tray. Place in the oven and roast 10 – 15 minutes until they are nice and golden. Watch carefully in the last few minuted to ensure they don’t burn – the line between perfectly-roasted and burnt nuts is quite fine.
After you’ve roasted the nuts, rub them in a clean teatowel to remove some of the skins. As you can see in the picture below, I wasn’t too fussy here and left some of the more stubborn skins on which did not detract from the taste at all.
Step 3 – Soak + blend the nuts
As with all nut milks, soaking the nuts before you blend will make for a smoother, creamier consistency. You can skip this step if you’re impatient (I know, the lure of roasted hazelnut milk is pretty hard to resist!) but I urge you to leave them to soak at least and hour or to, or longer if possible. I was very well restrained and left these ones overnight.
Once the nuts have soaked for a while, strain them and add them back to a high powered blender (such as a Vitamix) with 2 cups fresh water. Blend them for a good minute until thick, creamy, and a lovely creamy caramel-y colour.
If you have a not-so-highly powered blender, definitely don’t scrimp on the soaking time which will help you gain a creamier consistency.
Step 5 – Strain the nuts
(Disclaimer – I didn’t take a snap of this step this time because my hands were covered in nut milk and I also just kind of forgot, so I’m reusing the snap I took from that time I made coconut milk – sorry for cheating!)
To strain the nuts, pour the mixture into a nut milk bag, or layered cloth such as cheesecloth or fresh tea towels, and bundle up carefully so as not to spill the mixture out of the top. You can do this in batches if you find it easier to work with.
Squeeze out as much liquid as you can into a large jar or container – there should be just shy of two cups of milk here.
Step 6 – Enjoy!
From here, you can enjoy as is or add in some flavoring. A little sweetener and some spices (cinnamon is always a winner) work great, but for my favorite combination (I’ll give you a hint, it involves CHOCOLATE) you’ll have to wait around for the next post… ;)
- 3 cups shelled hazelnuts or 1 cup unshelled
- 2 cups water
- Remove the nuts from their shells if not done already.
- Preheat the oven to 180C || 350 F and roast the nuts on a baking tray for 10 - 15 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly,
- Place in a clean tea towel and rub to remove some of the skins.
- Place the hazelnuts in a jar and cover with water and allow to soak an hour or two, or overnight.
- Strain and rinse, and then add to a high-powered blender with 2 cups fresh water. Blend until smooth and creamy, around a minute.
- Strain through a nut bag or cheesecloth until most of the liquid is removed.
- Store in a jar in the fridge up to five days.