Saturday, December 10, 2011

Food: A Tough Nut to Crack

'Tis the season for Christmas cookies, fa la la la la...

And this year, I decided to embark upon a recipe that requires me to have 3 cups of hazelnuts.  (Raspberry Linzer Thumbprints - a hazelnut cookie with seedless raspberry jam in the thumbprint middle - ooooh!)  I dutifully went to my neighborhood Wal-Mart, because it is prohibitively expensive to shop elsewhere in the nearby grocery store pantheon, and lo and behold!  They don't carry hazelnuts in any form.

Off I went to Wegman's, the 40-minute-away foodie mecca and most perfect grocery store I know (their generic food is almost always just as good as - if not better than - the brand names).  Surely they would have them, and they did, in both whole form (un-shelled) and in bags of pre-shelled and pre-chopped goodness.  Upon price comparison, we decided to save $2 per pound and shell them ourselves.  Couldn't be too hard, right?  I got a big ol' bag of them that would surely yield three cups, and went on my merry way.

Today was a nut-cracking morning, I could see that.  It is cookie-baking weekend here in the Fussy Foodie house, and so I decided to embark upon nut-cracking first.  Before you read on, keep in mind these things about this adventure:

  • I don't own an official nut-cracker
  • Husband has a hammer called the Death Stick
  • I'd never shelled nuts before
So I got out the Death Stick and the nuts and the cutting board and proceeded to crack nuts and dig the meats out of the shells.  This soon became a very annoying and tedious task because
  • I'm not what you would call a "strong" person.  As in, I have little upper body strength.
  • The Death Stick is a heavy hammer
  • Hazelnuts are slippery and very tough to crack with a hammer.
As a result, I broke a lot of nuts, sent many shells flying (which Oliver loved chasing), and wound up with a measly 1 and 3/4 cups of nuts.  Upon discovering this, husband and I decided to run an errand to get the nuts.  Meanwhile I would start the nutmeg cookie dough while he finished his video game mission, and all would be well.  Ingredients?  sugar, butter, nutmeg, vanilla, eggs, baking powder, salt.  I started creaming the sugar and butter together and was making my mise en place while the sugar and butter creamed, and guess what?

I'm out of baking powder.

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