1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar, or regular sugar pulverized in a food processor
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and roast for 15 to 20
minutes, until the skins crack.
Remove from oven and rub the
nuts briskly between your hands or in a kitchen towel until
most of the skins are removed. Place the nuts in a food processor
with 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar and the lemon zest and
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, add the
cream of tartar and beat at medium speed while gradually adding
1 tablespoon superfine sugar. Beat until soft peaks form when
beaters are raised. Add 1 tablespoon superfine sugar and increase
mixer speed to high. When stiff peaks form when the beaters
are raised, gradually beat in the remaining superfine sugar.
Continue beating until whites are very stiff and glossy. Sift
the remaining powdered sugar over the meringue and fold it in
with a wire whisk.
Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Place 1 cup of the
meringue mixture in a small bowl and stir in the ground nuts.
Place the remaining meringue in a pastry bag with a No. 12 tube
or in a reclosable quart-size freezer bag with a small corner
snipped off. Squeeze the meringue mixture onto the foil in 2-inch
heart shapes, leaving a small opening in the center of each
heart. Leave about 1 inch between each cookie. When you've
used all the plain meringue, fill the bag with the hazelnut
meringue and squeeze that mixture into the center of each heart,
using enough filling to slightly expand the cookie.
If the cookies need any reshaping, moisten a finger in cold
water and shake off the excess before touching the meringue,
or it will stick to your finger.
Let the cookies dry at room temperature until set, about 1 hour.
Then preheat the oven to 200 degrees F and bake the cookies
1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave cookies in overnight, then
peel from foil. Or remove immediately from oven and use a metal
spatula to remove from foil, then cool on a wire rack.