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New Holiday Tradition: Roasting Chesnuts + My First Giveaway

Happy Holidays everyone!!  I’m just giddy with excitement because this really truly is my most favorite time of the year.  The house is all decorated, I’ve got Christmas tree scented candles and/or air spray in every room in the house, I’m halfway done with holiday baking prep, the Christmas movies are all out, and I’m counting down the days until we get to see our families in Texas, Chicago, and here in Wisconsin.  I even have this candle holder on the ledge by my kitchen sink.  Isn’t it cute?  You know what makes it cuter?  It was a whopping $6 at a shop in Door County, WI.  I know.  You don’t need to say it.  $6 holiday decorations are the best.

I have so much to chit chat about today so let’s get right down to it.  I promise there will be a special treat for you at the end of all this.

First, my parents are moving back from London to Chicago in a few days and I couldn’t be more excited!  They had the time of their lives and we had the best time visiting.  We laughed, we cried, it was better than Cats.

Seriously, talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity–they witnessed the Royal Wedding, the Diamond Jubilee, the Summer Olympics, along with tons of trips and weekends away exploring Europe.  Pinch them and then pinch me.  I know they’re both excited to be closer to family and we missed them terribly.  Best Christmas gift of all to be sure!

While getting in the holiday spirit, I began looking through last year’s Christmas photos when we were lucky enough to fly across the pond to visit the ‘rents.  The first night in London, we got to visit a lovely holiday fair in Hyde Park. Talk about a warm, classic holiday spectacle…

There were wonderful shops, rides, and eating spots all filled with British holiday charm.  Think Hogsmeade Village in Harry Potter, minus the wands and wizards.  The only “head scratcher” of the whole experience was the Cyndi Lauper music being piped in everywhere.  I still haven’t figured out why Christmas music wasn’t playing that night…but it made for a good laugh.  Girls do just wanna have fun after all.

Side note: this moose will talk to you in German.  Just thought you should know.  Just in case you’re ever in Hyde Park over the holidays.

Another side note:  apparently penguins are mad scary.  I respectfully disagree but this sign still makes me chuckle.

Among the lovely sights and sounds (and Cyndi Lauper), my mom and I noticed a sign for roasted chestnuts.  Then the smell hit us…maybe it was this giant pans of caramelized onions or maybe it was both.  We tried stealing that massive onion pan.  My dad looks too much like Bruce Willis.  We’d never get away with it.

No really, it was the chestnuts.  The aroma was out of this world, warm and cozy, and immediately appealing.  Here’s my dad being the great guy he is and buying us a bag.

None of us had ever had roasted chestnuts before and had no idea what to expect or how to eat them.  I was expecting a hard, toasted nut but instead got a warm, soft nutty piece of wonderful.  We fought over the bag and devoured every last one.

That same night I had to stop for a hot chocolate…just to say I strolled with a hot chocolate in London…at Christmastime.  I know you get it.

The cocoa was so delicious  and topped with real whipped cream and homemade marshmallows.  Calorie free, I tell you.  They even stuck a British chocolate bar called “Flake” in it too.

I got so nostalgic thinking about our past Christmas in London that I decided to take some special moments and make them traditions.  I am pretty big on tradition.

Therefore, I declare this year and all years hereafter will contain roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate with Flake bars for this girl!

I was so excited to see fresh chestnuts at Trader Joe’s a few days ago.

It gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my new chestnut pan and knife.  Roasted chestnuts are pretty simple to make.

So how does one roast chestnuts at home?  I’ll show you how I do it:

Using the pointy curve of the knife, cut a line along one side of the nut, ensuring it goes through the shell down to the meat of the chestnut.  Since these chestnuts can be jumpy little buggers (did you catch the British lingo?), I would highly suggest wearing thick gloves (here’s my husband demonstrating with our oven gloves) to protect your hands in case the knife slips.

Place the scored chestnuts in the roasting pan in a single layer and roast at 350° for 30-35 minutes.  The holes in the roasting pan help heat circulate all the way around the nuts.  If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, you can even roast the authentic way and the holes allow the flames to touch the nuts directly, adding to the smoky/roasty flavor.

While the nuts are still warm but cool enough to handle, break away the hard shell and the papery layer underneath.

Serve warm, savor, and imagine you’re in London with a talking German moose and Cyndi Lauper serenading you in the background.

Now, could you use a regular knife and sheet pan to roast chestnuts?  Sure, but what’s the fun in that?  Especially when you can win a set for yourself.

That’s right folks.  I’m sharing the love this holiday season.  One lucky winner will receive a chestnut roasting pan, a chestnut knife, and I’ll even throw in two Flake bars from England to add to your hot chocolate!

Photo Source
So the nitty gritty…

How to enter:
Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite holiday tradition is.  It’s that easy!

To earn extra entries, complete any of the following and leave a separate comment BELOW for each one:

  • Follow Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles on Twitter and tweet the following: Holiday giveaway from @pbdillpickles!  Enter to win a chestnut roasting pan and chestnut knife before Sunday
  • Subscribe to Email Updates for Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles (upper right hand corner of screen – enter your email address and confirm subscription)

That’s 5 ways to enter!

The giveaway and chance to leave comments will end on Sunday, 12/9 at 8pm CST and the winner be announced Monday, 12/10.

Good luck and a safe and happy holiday season to all of you!

Giveaway rules:
Must be 18 years of age or older.  No purchase necessary to enter.  Void where prohibited.  Open to continental US residents only.  Giveaway prizes purchased by me and not sponsored by an outside individual or company.

Filed under: Holidays


Writer of recipes. Storyteller with a food twist. Sarcasm/humor served on the side.


  1. I really should have tried roasted chestnuts when I lived in England. It cracks me up that Cyndi Lauper music was playing. I’m surprised it wasn’t Abba. I swear every pub we visited had Abba playing. Mad scary…I love the way Brits talk 🙂

  2. Leah B says

    I do chocolate covered pretzel rods with a bunch of different candies rolled in them!

  3. I LOVE the Flake bars : ) I had them when I was in Australia a few years ago. My favorite holiday tradition is definitely baking cookies with my dad and eating the extra icing! Good meeting you last night.

  4. Cindy Robb says

    …xmas morning…fresh baked (right from the oven) “mini popovers” with maple butter and/or honey drizzled! We eat the whole pan! So tasty!

  5. my favorite tradidion would be waiting for Christmas morning to start. All the work is done and now just sitting back with sweet anticipation and a good cup of coffee…waiting for the excitement to begin. Lovely….

  6. My favorite Christmas tradition is cutting down our own tree and drinking hot chocolate while decorating!

  7. I started a tradition of making new ornaments every year. I love the idea of accumulating homemade pieces and unwrapping them for the tree.

  8. Liked on Facebook!
    ps. is it obvious I want to win this? I miss those chocolate flakes and chestnuts are my favorite. I’ve only ever steamed them. Excited about roasting them.

  9. Laura says

    I LOVE roasted chestnuts. Haven’t ever tried to make them myself, but I might this year. As I recall, they were a bit pricey when I saw them in the store :/ Favorite holiday tradition is based on baking, though. Spritz cookies with my mom!

  10. The wife and I make wassel, which is a type of German cider I believe. It’s fairly easy to make, but takes a few hours to get its flavor. It’s what really reminds me that it’s holiday season!
    The basics:
    Apple juice, cranberry juice, clove+cinnamon, bitters and an orange. Finding the right quantities of each has come from experience.
    Let it cook in a crock pot for a few hours and you’re good to go!

  11. Erhard says

    I live in Austria and roasted chestnuts are very common here this time of year. You can buy them relatively cheap at stands or buy them in the shop and roast them at home.

    Getting the papery skin off the actual chestnut can be a bit tricky though if they are not properly prepared.

    Try adding this to the recipe above:

    a) After cutting them, soak them in cold water for an hour or even overnight.

    b) Try roasting them in the oven with a bowl of hot water beside them. It provides them from getting dry and peeling will be much easier.

    c) You can also just cook them in water and use them to accompany a roast or a goose or something.

    If you haven’t eaten Roasted Chestnuts at all, you should definitely try them, they are marvellous!

  12. When I was a kid, we would have roasted chestnus at Christmas. It’s an Italian Christmas tradition. We make Italian cookies, strufoli and fried bowknots, every year. They are delish! I haven’t roasted chestnuts myself but would like to try!

  13. CarlaH says

    My favorite Christmas tradition is going out with my Dad in the Maine woods to cut down our own tree! It was always scrawny and everyone thought it was ugly, but to me our trees were wonderful!

  14. One of my favorites is the big Christmas day Brunch that we have every year – not only is it delicious, it is so fun to have all the unwrapping over with and take a moment to eat and enjoy the family.
    emsfsemsfs at gmail dot com

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