Call them hazelnuts in raw honey, honey-marinated roasted nuts or simply nuts in honey; the end result will always be a spoonful of pure yum.
When making hazelnuts in honey, or any kind of honey-soaked nut for that matter (walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds), always start with the best ingredients. Foraged if you can find it, organic if you can afford it and local if it grows near you. Most of all, be sure your nuts are fresh, as rancid ones make for an unexpected and unpleasant gift.
If you are into giving homemade gifts, however don’t consider yourself an experienced-enough canner yet, there is always hope for you to deliver handmade, meaningful gifts. Though it does take some planning.
You can weave a wreath for next to nothing if you have some vines nearby.
Or you can go an even easier route and roast some nuts, then gently smother them in honey for a sweet winter treat. If you have planned for them to sit a month before gifting, you will be rewarded with compliments and smiles all around.
Roasted nuts in honey can be served with pancakes, over muesli (which can also be handmade!) or as a topping for yogurt. See what a handmade life starts to achieve with your way of thinking?! There is so much to do!
Ingredients for hazelnuts in honey
All you need to get started with combining your nuts in honey, are: nuts, honey and an extra, gift-size jar. A quart size jar would really make a statement gift! However, in most gifting cases, a 4 oz. jelly jar, or an 8 oz. size jar will do nicely.
You can even re-use glass jars from the store, but be aware of lingering odors and do a smell test first – for the underside of the lid, that is.
If it has previously been occupied by anything acidic, try and find another jar with a more neutral and benign lid. The honey and the giftee will thank you for being considerate.
Homemade gifts should always strive for quality.
If the lid is not as appealing patterned as it could be, the simplest way to hide that is with a layer of fabric and a tie.
Enough about jars, let’s get on to the how-to.
First, gather your two ingredients:
- 1 cup nuts, gently roasted and unsalted
- 1 cup raw honey, not crystallized
And then sterilize your jar (or jars) in hot, soapy water.
The entire thing is super easy to make. You can approximate how many nuts you will need by pre-filling your jars before roasting the nuts. And you can also see how easy this is to scale up or down with a 1:1 ratio.
If you have leftovers, it appears you will have a pre-prepared snack for the day.
Roasting your hazelnuts
Shelling hazelnuts can be quite a task, albeit a necessary one if they have come directly from the forest and hedgerows. A hammer and a skilled cracking hand is a great thing to have – just be sure to do a careful cleanup after the act. Those hazelnut shells fly everywhere!
Gather up your nut shells – don’t just throw them away – they can likely be used in many brilliant and unexpected ways.
If you are purchasing shelled nuts from the store, you get to skip this step and move straight onto roasting.
Roasting nuts is a wonderful way to extract all the amazing flavors that are hidden inside.
To do this, heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat before adding your shelled nuts.
With your nuts in the pan, be sure to stir them with a wooden spoon, so as not to be over-toasted on any side. About 5 minutes is a sufficient roasting time, provided your fire, flames, or heat is high enough.
Let the hot hazelnuts cool on a plate before proceeding to pack them in jars with honey.
Layering hazelnuts in honey
Once your roasted hazelnuts, or other nuts, have come to room temperature, it is time to begin layering them in honey.
Leave the skin on, or spend a little extra time peeling your hazelnuts for bonus brownie points. [Yes, the honey-soaked nuts could be inside, or on top of homemade brownies!]
There are two ways to fill them in the jar.
The first is to start with 1-2 tablespoons of honey on the bottom of the jar. Add a layer of nuts, spoon just enough honey to cover them, add more nuts and so on, all the way up to the top.
The second way is to firmly pack your jar with nuts, then pour on the raw honey in a slow, steady manner.
Neither way is perfect, the nuts always seem to float no matter how it is done. What you want to aim for, is that all of the nuts are coated/covered, without too many air gaps in between.
In the end, the nuts will taste of honey, and the honey will taste of nuts if everything goes according to plan.
Every biteful is delightful.
Making a nut-free version of nuts in honey
We live in a world of frequent confusing contradictions and still, there are times when we want what we want. No questions asked.
Sometimes we desire something nut-like, or nature simply hasn’t provided us with nuts this year, though the pumpkins and their seeds have gone absolutely wild. Other times we wish to cater to someone we love, who is avoiding nuts for reasons of her/his own. That is all well and good.
To make a nut-free version of nuts in honey, use seeds instead.
Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whatever kind of healthy seeds you have on hand.
It is going to taste amazing!
You can also play around with different types of honey.
Linden, wildflower, orange blossom, buckwheat, chestnut, acacia (black locust) and sage to see what tastes best with different kinds of nuts.
Nuts in honey is a quick and simple gift that can be whipped up in only a matter of minutes. It is time to get cracking!