It's easier than it used to be to find roasted hazelnuts in supermarket baking sections, but if all you can find are raw hazelnuts, don't let that stop you from enjoying these sweet, buttery nuggets.
Once the hard, reddish brown shells with light-colored caps are cracked open, you'll find cream-colored round kernels covered with thin brown skin. The nuts need to be roasted to release their full flavor and make the skin easier to remove.
Figure that 1 pound of unshelled nuts will yield about 1 1/2 cups whole kernels or 1 cup chopped nuts. Whole or shelled hazelnuts will retain their quality for up to two years if packed in airtight containers and stored in a freezer.