Oven-roasted chestnuts are traditional Christmas treats that hold serious nostalgia for those familiar with them, and for good reason: they’re slightly sweet, earthy, nutty, creamy, and have nothing that can realistically compete with them. There are a few factors to take into consideration when purchasing chestnuts to make sure you aren’t starting off with a bad ingredient (you can read more about that here), but as long as you start with good chestnuts, you’re over halfway to tasting your new favorite culinary Christmas tradition.
Before roasting, you’ll need to score each nut with a sharp paring knife (most recipes tell you to cut an “x” into the flattest part of the chestnut, but a single slash is fine). Once the nuts are roasted, remove them from the oven, and as soon as you can handle them without burning yourself, give them a good squeeze from both ends to crack the shell, and it should be easy to remove. Once the nuts cool, it’s hard to remove the shell and the fuzzy inner skin that hugs the chestnut, so do it while they’re hot!
As many chestnuts as you’d like, plus more (in case some are duds)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven heats, use a sharp paring knife to score each nut on its largest, flattest side.
2. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the oven. Roast for about half an hour, shaking the pan every once in a while to move the nuts around.
3. Remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool just enough to handle, then crack the shells off by squeezing each chestnut from both ends. Be sure to remove the inner skin that hugs the chestnut. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of salt and maybe drizzled with melted butter.