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Choose the oven over the microwave for toasting nuts, peel hazelnuts easily by baking first and more. Here are a few simple basics to help you crack the nuts — and roast them.

Toasting Nuts

Toasting nuts adds extra flavor and crispness. For best results, toast in the oven or on the stovetop. Nuts toasted in the microwave do not develop as much flavor or crunch. Toasting time depends on both the size and variety of the nut.

Oven Toasting:

Spread nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan. Place in 350°F oven and bake 5 to 12 minutes or until nuts are golden brown; stir once or twice until toasty and fragrant. Remove from pan to cool. Nuts will continue to brown slightly after removed from oven.

Roasting Inshell Nuts

Preheat the oven to 375°F. For 4 servings, spread 4 cups of inshell nuts on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, carefully remove one nut, holding it with a dish towel or pot holder, and crack it open. The meat should be lightly toasted and aromatic. If it still looks pale inside, roast a few minutes longer. Let the nuts cool before serving. Smaller nuts, such as hazelnuts and almonds, may take less time.

Nut Butter

Homemade nut butter tastes fresher and toastier than store-bought butters.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan. Bake, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, 5 to 12 minutes. Immediately add to the food processor bowl and whirl until completely ground. Scrape down the sides and continue processing until a smooth butter forms, 4 to 6 minutes (almonds sometimes need 1 to 2 tablespoons of additional oil to form a smooth paste). Season with salt or sugar. For a crunchy texture, stir in additional chopped toasted nuts.

How to Remove the Skin of Nuts/Blanching Nuts

To remove the skins of almonds and Brazil nuts, cover the nuts with cold water, boil, simmer 2 to 3 minutes, drain. Add cold water; drain. Pinch nuts to slip skins off.

For hazelnuts, spread hazelnuts on a non-greased cookie sheet and place in a 275°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until skin cracks. Remove from oven and rub in a soft cloth to remove skins.

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