The Italians call these hazelnut and meringue cookies brutti ma buoni which means ‘ugly but delicious’ and they only have four ingredients. They are super easy to make and happen to be gluten-free.
I have a love affair with Italian desserts and baked things that rages strongly. As with most Italian food the ingredients shine through as unnecessary components are stripped away. Here the hazelnuts are suspended in a meringue-like biscuit that is fairly light and crispy to eat. I’m currently in Italy and the only brutti ma buoni I tried tasted nothing like these. I suspect this recipe falls under a general term like ‘Biscotti’ which essentially means twice baked and biscotti biscuits as we know are actually called cantuccini. Perhaps each region or even more specifically families have variations of what brutti ma buoni means.
I made these cookies before I left on my big food pilgrimage to Italy – which I’m currently still on, and I can’t wait get in my kitchen on my return and start cooking and baking again. In case you were wondering why I have been posting so infrequently here lately.
*notes ~ I used a combination of ground-up hazelnut flour as I had this on hand and have been dying to use it. I buy various nut flours and store them in my freezer which prevents them from going rancid. I then used 45gms of toasted hazelnuts which I roughly chopped. If you can’t get hold of hazelnut flour just use the total weight in hazelnuts and chop about half to two-thirds very finely.
I have seen recipes that use a combination of almond and hazelnut so either or will work well.
The recipe makes about 20
- 2 egg whites
- 150gm castor sugar
- 125 gm toasted hazelnuts chopped – or 80gm hazelnut flour and 45gm hazelnuts
- 2Tbsp cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 150C
Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
Beat the egg whites with an electric better until stiff peaks. Slowly add the castor sugar and carry on beating until the mix is glossy. Sift the cocoa powder over the meringue and gently fold the hazelnuts through.
Drop spoonfuls on a baking tray allowing some space between them and bake for spreading. You can go with smaller or slightly bigger cookies but make a tablespoon I would say.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until firm and slightly golden.
Cool on a wire rack before eating (they will crisp up as they cool). Store in an airtight container.
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