Nuts and Seeds

Appears in

Chocolates and Confections

By Peter Greweling

Published 2007

  • About
Nuts and seeds are commonly used in confectionery for their flavor, texture, and fat content. Various nuts may be used by the artisan confectioner; these include hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and macadamias. While they all differ botanically, their general qualities and handling requirements are virtually the same. Their common trait is a high fat content, and the fat they contain is prone to rancidity. For that reason, nuts and seeds should always be stored in a cool place, away from anything that can contribute to the onset of rancidity: light, oxygen, and reactive metals such as cast iron or copper. The flavor of most nuts is improved from toasting prior to their use. Different nuts reach their peak flavor with different degrees of toasting, and it is up to the confectioner to determine the level of toasting that best complements each variety of nut. The oil content of nuts is a double-edged sword; oil is responsible for much of nuts’ appeal, but it does not store well and can be responsible for fat migration, resulting in softened chocolate and fat bloom. The more finely ground the nuts in a confection are, the more fat is released, and the more pronounced these effects can become. Seeds such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), peanuts, and cocoa nibs are all similar to nuts in their storage and use requirements.