- 12 ounces blanched hazelnuts, toasted (about 2 1/2 cups), plus 52 hazelnut halves for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 3 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
- Pulse toasted hazelnuts, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor until finely ground (mixture should be powdery). Add egg whites and orange zest and juice, and pulse until combined. Transfer batter to an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Nest 2 baking sheets (to prevent bottoms of cookies from browning too quickly), and line top sheet with parchment. Drop tablespoons of batter onto lined sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Shape each into a mound, top with 2 hazelnut halves, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Refrigerate remaining batter.
- Bake cookies, rotating sheets from front to back halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 23 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter.
Rocher may mean “rock” in French, but with crisp outsides that yield to soft, chewy centers, these cookies hardly resemble their namesake.