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I'm a chestnut fanatic, and I always bake them after making an "x" through the shell. I don't soak them, or do anything.

I've never found a secret to peeling them. Some peel easily, some don't.

I just cooked them for the first time, and the recipe said to make an "x", soak for 15 minutes, bake for 15 minutes, peel while still hot (recipe said to wear protective gloves - right! it's hard enough to peel them without gloves on!) then blanch for 2 minutes and rub skins off with kitchen towel. Seemed like a lot of steps to me. Most of the skins came off with the shells.

My big problem was making the "x"s in the first place. What's the trick to that? (Preferably without any trips to the emergency room.)
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