Whatever shapes and sizes they come in the mere sight of nuts is a sheer delight. They are undoubtedly a wholesome snack that form an integral part of various cuisines worldwide, in pastries, salads, curries, milkshakes and ice creams. And no matter which region of India you grew up in, you would have certainly relished many lip-smacking desi mithai recipes of barfi, halwa, kheer, payasam, kesari laced with these kernels roasted in ghee. So it is indeed stating the obvious when we say that Indian kitchens are incomplete without boxes containing myriad varieties of nuts including pistachios, almonds, peanuts and cashews. Well, what’s new, you ask? A tasty crunchy natural bounty with a dark brown covering encompassing a pale yellow pulp, native to the cool climatic zones of Turkey, USA, Spain, Canada, Italy known as… any guesses? Yes, you got it right – Hazelnuts!
Nutrition Content And Health Benefits Of Hazelnuts:
You would have definitely savoured hazelnuts in umpteen confectioneries and desserts such as candies, wafers, toffees, truffles, chocolates, sauces, spreads, dips and even ice creams. Not only are these brittle pods obtained from the Corylus avellana trees and other related shrubs in the Corylus genus of the Betulaceae family rich in flavour, being inherently sweet, but they are also overflowing with health and nutrition. Hazelnuts are blessed with ample quantities of vitamin E, beneficial unsaturated fats, dietary fibers, proteins, vitamin K, B vitamins, in addition to vital minerals of manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorous and copper. These essential nutrients aid in weight loss, augment heart functions, fortify bones, muscles and joints, facilitate smooth digestion and also boost sexual wellness. Here’s another bonus – hazelnuts house vast reserves of phenolic, tannin and tocopherol antioxidants, which avert the risk of cancer by lowering inflammation and decreasing oxidative stress.
Tempting Plus Nourishing Baked Pastries And Snacks With Hazelnuts:
Do you need any more reason to whip up some appetising treats with the really tasty and nutrient-dense hazelnuts? No right? Wait no longer, the weekend is here. Instead of prepping some traditional Indian sweets, set your oven timers and get started making these delectable baked goodies with these crispy shells – Chocolate Hazelnut Cake and Hazelnut Cinnamon Cookies. Granted, these yummy hazelnut recipes will make the kids and adults in your family go nuts, ask for more… oh, and enhance their overall wellbeing too.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
2 cups whole hazelnuts, blanched
1 cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cup dark chocolate squares
1 cup flax seed extract
1 cup sugar
Dry roast the hazelnuts in a pan for 5 minutes until they become brown and fragrant.
Allow them to cool down to room temperature, then blend most of it into a fine paste in a mixer, keeping a few roasted hazelnuts aside.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Line a circular cake tin with parchment paper, then spread some smooth unsalted butter evenly on the base and sides.
In a deep vessel, heat water on medium flame, add most of the dark chocolate pieces, unsalted butter, cook for 5 minutes until they melt completely and switch off the stove.
Add the hazelnut paste to this vessel and stir continuously for 7 minutes, to allow the components to mix well.
Combine the flax seed extract with sugar and pour this into the vessel.
Transfer this mixture to the cake tin, place in the centre of the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, so the cake rises nicely with a firm shape and soft texture.
Turn off the oven, take out the tin, remove the lining paper and allow the cake to cool down for at least half an hour.
Spread a layer of molten dark chocolate on the top and sides, line the cake with the remaining toasted hazelnuts on the border and centre.
Cut this decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake into even triangular pieces and indulge in this sweet treat for dessert after lunch or dinner.
Hazelnuts are laden with B vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, as well as crucial trace mineral iron, which bolster metabolism, blood circulation and sexual stamina in both men and women. They also rejuvenate skin texture and improve hair growth. Dark chocolate is bestowed with cacao, flavonoid antioxidants, which supply anti-inflammatory properties to prevent chronic illnesses of diabetes, hypertension and also stimulate the production of endorphins to uplift mood and elevate brain power, nervous system activity. Flax seeds are a powerhouse of proteins, delivering key amino acids to strengthen muscles and ensure healthy growth and development of organs, tissues in the body.
Hazelnut Cinnamon Cookies
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp rock salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
In a large pan, dry roast the hazelnuts on a medium flame for 10 minutes, till they become golden-brown and emanate a pleasant aroma.
Turn off the stove, allow the hazelnuts to cool down completely, then blend them in a mixer to obtain a smooth paste.
Mix the all-purpose flour with the cinnamon powder, baking powder and rock salt in a bowl.
In another vessel, combine the hazelnut paste, maple syrup, vanilla essence, then pour this into the bowl with the all-purpose flour mixture.
Stir this mixture well, so all the ingredients blend in completely.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Divide the batter evenly, in circular shapes, onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, then switch off the oven, remove the tray and allow the cookies to cool down.
Bite into these crusty Hazelnut Cinnamon Cookies with a cup of warm milk or hot coffee as an evening snack.
Hazelnuts comprise profuse volumes of antioxidant vitamin E, advantageous unsaturated fats, to preserve cardiac muscle functions and promote heart health. They also provide calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese for strong, robust bones and flexible, tough joints. Cinnamon powder, aside from lending a spicy flavour to the cookies, also possesses phytonutrients with anti-hyperglycemic traits, to effectively lower blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. Imbued with inulin, a useful dietary fiber that supports optimal gut flora, maple syrup enhances digestion.