Hazelnut Butter

3 cups roasted, cooled and skinned hazelnuts (about 1 pound), plus 1/2 cup hazelnuts (optional, if you want a "chunky" butter)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Place the 3 cups hazelnuts in bowl of a food processor. Using pulse button, chop them until they resemble coarse meal. Keep machine running, stopping it every 10 or 15 seconds so nuts don't get too warm. Keep processing until nuts go from crumbly and grainy, to smooth and creamy. At any point along the way, add the salt and sugar, if using.

Once mixture turns soft and creamy, throw in additional 1/2 cup roasted nuts and process briefly to make a "chunky" hazelnut butter. Will keep for several weeks at room temperature without developing off-flavors, but for longer periods, keep refrigerated. Makes about 2 cups.

HONEY-NUT BUTTER: Instead of granulated sugar, blend in 2 to 3 tablespoons honey.

HAZELNUT-COCOA BUTTER: Stir 1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder. If you didn't add granulated sugar, then stir that in also.

— Recipe from "Oregon Hazelnut Country: the Food, the Drink, the Spirit," by Jan Roberts-Dominguez.


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