Compared to the frequency almonds and walnuts appear in recipes, hazelnuts seem to be the shy guys in the crowd and need a few dedicated bloggers to speak up for them. Oh—that’s me! You can bet hazelnuts don’t get the cold shoulder in my kitchen and to prove it, here’s a recipe for one of my favorite little confections. It’s one of the recipes in The Nut Gourmet, my cookbook that spotlights nuts in every recipe and tells you how to purchase, store, and crack nuts, too.
I’m sad that I don’t have a photo to show these off, but picture little 1-inch balls coated in finely ground hazelnuts. Peeking out from under the nutty coating is the delicate orange color of the apricots. It’s the definitive tangy-sweet flavor, though, that makes the taste buds stir with pleasure and crave another morsel.
Well endowed with the tangy flavor of dried apricots, these delicacies practically melt in the mouth. You can make them well in advance of serving and store them in the refrigerator.
APRICOT AND HAZELNUT MORSELS
Yield: about 50 confections
2 cups pitted dates
1 1/4 cups dried apricots
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely ground
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup hazelnuts, finely ground
1. Combine the dates, apricots, coarsely ground hazelnuts, and water in the food processor and process until finely ground. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl and redistribute the ingredients.
2. Put the finely ground hazelnuts into a small, deep bowl. Roll the apricot mixture by hand into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the finely ground hazelnuts until completely coated.
3. Arrange on an attractive serving platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stored in the refrigerator, Apricot and Hazelnut Morsels will keep well for about one week. (They can be stored a little longer, but they will begin to lose their freshness.)
Note: For an appealing presentation and ease of serving, place a waxed doily on the serving platter before arranging the morsels.