Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hazelnut Hummus

I have been remiss in posting. Which is because I haven't spent much time in the kitchen for the last few weeks. We've been BUSY. And gone. A lot. I'm guessing you guys have been busy too! Now that we have officially reached the first couple days of fall, I am craving fall foods. And happy times in the kitchen with the doors wide open (with no fear of flies), the smell of cinnamon, the new Bon Iver album playing, and the sound of little girl chatter in the background...

While going through my fall decorating box in the attic (one of the few that the squirrels living in my attic have not gotten to yet), I found a bag of hazelnuts I used as filler. And it got me thinking....the poor hazelnut is like the stepchild of the peanut or the pecan--but its taste magnificent. Besides coffee creamer, I don't see too many foods including the hazelnut--maybe because the hazelnut is an expensive nut. But it is my favorite nut. I ADORE it. If you like Frangelico, you understand.

So, when I ran across a picture of hazelnut hummus online here, I decided to try my hand at it with the shelled, roasted hazelnuts waiting in my freezer. I can't believe how good it turned out. It's not like traditional hummus--no garlic. It's a spicy, sweet and salty dip/spread and it is amazing and definitely sings 'Fall is Here!' The only thing that would have put this over the top would be to use hazelnut oil instead of olive oil. Hazelnut oil has amazing flavor and depth. However, it is pricey, needs to be stored in the fridge, and might be harder to find (Whole Foods sells it). If you like a more subtle nut flavor, use olive oil--I loved it!

Serve this hazelnut hummus with pita chips or on crostini with blue cheese alongside crisp apples and pears and spiced cider. I can't wait to make this again--think it would be an amazing appetizer to a girls get-together.

 Inspired by

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, UN-drained
  • 1 cup shelled and roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame 'tahini' paste
  • 2-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, PLUS more for drizzling on top of finished hummus
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice (or freshly squeezed lemon juice--but orange works so well with the nutty and maple flavors)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (use less if you don't care for much heat)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. smoked paprika (optional-but good)

Using a heavy duty blender, process all ingredients until smooth (a Vitamix works awesome for this!). Spoon out into a serving dish and drizzle with more olive oil or hazelnut oil. Garnish with hazelnuts, if desired.

Makes enough to serve a small group (4-6 people) as an appetizer.

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