There are many special sweets of Italian origin, but these pinocchiate are among the best.
- Portion size 24 servings
Arrange hazelnuts in single layer on baking sheet; toast in 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes or until skins split to reveal nut meats. Put nuts on terry cloth kitchen towel and rub vigorously until skins loosen and flake off. (Don't worry about the odd stubborn piece of skin.) Grind nuts to medium-fine (not powdered) consistency in food processor or nut grinder; set aside.
Beat egg whites with electric mixer at low speed until foamy; sprinkle with cream of tartar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form. Still beating, gradually add sugar until mixture is stiff and glossy. Gently stir in almond extract, cornstarch and hazelnuts.
Spread almonds on a plate. Working as quickly and gently as possible, scoop out 1 tbsp (15 mL) of hazelnut mixture at a time and roll in almonds, using a spatula or knife to assist in the rolling. Transfer with a spatula to a greased and floured or parchment-lined large baking sheet.
Bake in 300°F (150°C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until crisp and golden. Let cool on racks; store in airtight container(s).