- 1 1/2 lb hazelnuts
- 8 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
- 2 1/2 c sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
While the oven is preheating, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for five or six minutes, shaking once midway through.
Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until very finely chopped. This will take a minute or minute and a half for each bowlful. If you wish, reserve and chop about 1/4 cup nuts to use as decorations.
In a large (4 1/2 qt) bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat. Once the sugar is added, beat until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy. Fold in the ground nuts.
Drop small spoonfuls onto a parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet, or fill a large pastry bag fitted with a very large, plain tip (I use a #809), and pipe circles of meringue. This may seem like overkill, but I found it was easier and faster to pipe the cookies.
Smooth the tops of the cookies with a finger or the back of a spoon dipped in water. Place a reserved nut piece on the center of each cookie.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Essentially, the cookies will dry out.