Makes 40 cookies
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
2 cups skin-on hazelnuts
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
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2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 2 large egg whites
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes; the skins will darken and crack. Immediately transfer them to a dish towel and fold the towel over them; once they’re enveloped, use your hands to roll the nuts, releasing their skins. Pick out the skinned hazelnuts and place them in a food processor. You might need to roll some of them again; a few bits of skin left on them is fine. Discard the skins in the towel.
2. After the nuts have cooled for a few minutes, pulse them a few times to create a coarse chop.
3. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix them well, then mix in the chopped hazelnuts. Stir in 1 egg white until the mixture is evenly moistened; it should be thick and hard to stir. If there’s not enough moisture to make the mixture hold together, add some of the remaining egg white, a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture just holds together but is not runny. (If the mixture is too wet, the cookies will spread too much as they bake.)
5. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm meringues form.
6. Cool completely on the baking sheet before serving or storing.
Nutritional information per cookie: 60 calories, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar
Adapted by The Washington Post from “Small, Sweet, and Italian: Tiny Tasty Treats From Sweet Maria’s Bakery,” by Maria Bruscino Sanchez (St. Martin’s Press, 2013).