Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brutti Ma Buoni - Ugly but Good Cookies

Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies - Gluten Free Ugly but Good Cookies
These cookies are a classic Italian delight that literally translated means ugly but good.  When I was a kid I remember the enticingly sweet aromas that drifted through the summer air from the bakery just down the street.  Sadly, we didn’t visit that South Philly bakery very often.   You see, my mother is an incredible baker herself so our home was always filled with delectable cookies, pies or cakes.  Besides that, my mom was a single parent raising three children without much money.  Nevertheless, when she was able to squeeze a few extra dollars from the family budget, occasionally she’d take us to the bakery.  I remember it well.  These brutti ma buoni cookies were all piled up behind the crystal clear display case.  I also remember running the other direction straight towards the sprinkle topped cupcakes or cream filled cannoli.  Please don’t fault me for avoiding these cookies.  I was only a kid after all and these cookies were frankly not all that eye catching to my untrained eyes.  As the years have passed, my tastes have expanded.  These nutty meringue based cookies are now one of my favorites.  They may not be pretty but oh are they good.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups toasted almonds (finely chopped)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1tbs cocoa

Video Tutorial:


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites until they begin to get light and foamy then slowly (one spoonful at a time)  add the sugar while the mixer is still running until all of the sugar is incorporated into the eggs.  
  3. Add the cocoa, then the cinnamon and then the vanilla and continue whisking until the eggs form glossy stiff peaks.  
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the almonds.  
  5. Use a tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop and dollop the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet or silicone baking mat leaving an inch between the cookies.  Bake them at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.  Turn the oven off and open the door about 2 inches and let them stay in the oven for another 30 minutes.  Remove them from the oven and let them cool before removing them from the cookie sheet. 

Before serving the cookies, you might just want to take them to the next level of decadence.  I filled mine with a dark chocolate ganache spiked with amaretto to compliment the cookies themselves.  But I have to admit that served this way, they no longer live up to the ugly in their name.  Oh no my friends, these cookies are a thing of beauty now.   

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