By: Kate Knapp • September 27, 2016
Hazelnut Honey Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese and I have a long history that started when I was a kid at my grandmother’s table. Nearly every meal or snack time was accompanied by a bowl of cottage cheese topped with a canned peach, pear, or cocktail fruit (fun fact: I was certain cocktail fruit got its name from the maraschino cherries that also adorned many cocktails, and therefore was certain it was super fancy stuff. Gotta love kid logic).
It was her go-to when she needed to add a little salad or fruit to a meal. I loved the cottage cheese and fruit combo, because it felt special somehow and who doesn’t love soft curds topped with sweet fruit? I was certain that it was a dish I would eat forever. Fast forward a few ok, more than a few, but let’s not get into that) years, and I had nearly forgotten about my love for cottage cheese.
That is, until I met the incredibly-creamy and tasty Muuna Cottage Cheese, and all of those happy, cheesy moments came fluttering back. The single-sized cottage cheese containers already have fruit in them (actually there are six different flavors to choose from: plain, pineapple, peach, strawberry, blueberry, and mango), so you just need to peel and eat. Plus, there are no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners added, which always makes me happy. One fruit-filled container works like a charm when a craving for something sweet hits. And it’s also a great way to add a quick side dish to a weeknight meal (just like my Grandma did).
I decided, however, I wanted to step a little outside of my upbringing and honor my grandmother with my own take on a cottage cheese dish, inspired by her, of course. Since she was so sweet, a little nutty, and made the very best cinnamon rolls in the world (it’s documented somewhere, I swear), I decided to create a Cinnamon Hazelnut Honey, just for her.
Let’s take just a moment to talk about hazelnuts. They are one of my top three favorite nuts, yet they can be a headache to work with, and that all comes down to the skin. Until I learned the trick on how to properly remove those pesky skins, I would avoid most recipes that included the fun little filberts. But how long can you really avoid homemade nutella? I mean, really?
Everyone may have their own way of removing the skins, but I have found what works best for me is to roast them in the oven for a few minutes (until your whole kitchen is filled with that rich, nutty aroma) and then quickly fold them into a towel and rub them into the counter with both hands. If they are being particularly stubborn, I grab the four corners of the towel with one hand and use the other to rub the hazelnuts together. After a few minutes, the skins will release and you will have gorgeous hazelnuts ready for recipes.
Since I am a notorious snacker and always looking for something to accompany my afternoon coffee, I decided to drizzle the honey and nuts over the plain cottage cheese, and finish with a little bit of honeycomb. It may seem a little odd, but the cinnamon and honey add a lovely warm sweetness to the cottage cheese while the nuts add a very necessary crunch. If you aren’t in the mood for cottage cheese, the honey is also amazing on buttered toast for breakfast or as a dessert.
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Special thanks to Muuna Cottage Cheese for the memories, snack ideas, and for providing a giveaway. Muuna Cottage Cheese has partnered with me for this article, but all my opinions and recipe ideas remain my own, naturally.
• 1/2 cup hazelnuts
• 2 cups honey, preferably clover or other lightly flavored honey
• 2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
• 1 cup Muuna plain cottage cheese, for serving
• Honeycomb, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until you can smell a nutty aroma and the skins are starting to split.
2. Carefully fold the still-warm hazelnuts in a kitchen cloth and rub against the counter, until the skins peel away. This may take a good amount of rubbing, but will work eventually.
3. n a saucepan over medium heat, warm the honey until small bubbles began to form on the edges. Add the cinnamon sticks and roasted hazelnuts and stir. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
4. Using a ladle, carefully divide the honey, nuts, and cinnamon sticks into two jars and seal. Honey will keep for a few weeks on the counter.
5. Drizzle over cottage cheese and top with a few hazelnuts and a sliver of honeycomb.