Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hazelnut Liqueur

I've recently made coffee liqueur, walnut liqueur, cranberry liqueur, and a few others. And I've been brainstorming about what else I might make. I've looked in the spice cabinet and in the refrigerator, and it's something I think about when I'm at the grocery store.

When I was shopping for some cookie supplies, I grabbed some hazelnuts, and the liqueur lightbulb lit. I've bought hazelnut liqueur. Why not make my own?

I was really happy with this one.

It's nice on its own, or next to a cup of coffee (or in the coffee). 

Toasted Hazelnut Liqueur

1/2 cup hazelnuts
3 vanilla beans
2 cups vodka
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Toast the hazelnuts lightly in a skillet or on a baking sheet in the oven at 325 degrees, watching them carefully and stirring them as needed. You want them just lightly browned - if they burn, they'll become bitter.

Chop the hazelnuts into small pieces - about the size of grains of rice. You can do this by hand, or in a food processor, but if you use a food processor, make sure you don't turn them into a nut butter.

Put the chopped hazelnuts into a quart jar with a tight-fitting lid. A canning jar is perfect.

Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and add them to the jar.

Add the vodka, sugar, and water, Seal the jar and shake to dissolve the sugar. Leave the jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Shake it once or twice a day for at least two week - if you have time, you can let it sit for a month.

When you're ready to bottle your drink first strain it though a fine-mesh strainer. Next play a paper towel in the strainer, and strain again to remove fine bits. If you want a clear liquid, strain again, this time through a coffee filter. Don't be tempted to go directly to the coffee filter after straining out the larger bits - the fine bits will gum up the coffee filter and it will take a loooong time to strain.

Use your home-made liqueur in any cocktail where you'd use a commercial hazelnut liqueur.
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