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Brutti ma Buoni Recipe & Video

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This is a recipe for a Hazelnut Meringue Cookie. In Italy, this cookie is known as Brutti ma Buoni. Roughly translated Brutti ma Buoni means 'ugly but good'. Personally, I don't agree with the ugly part, but I do agree that they taste really good. The outside crust of this cookie is thin and delicate, yet wonderfully crisp. Inside the texture is soft and chewy and full of toasted hazelnuts. Fantastic with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

The batter for these cookies is basically a meringue to which roasted hazelnuts are added. When making the meringue, instead of simply beating the egg whites with sugar until thick and glossy, they are first warmed on the stove. This ensures that the sugar is dissolved so the egg whites can reach their maximum volume when beaten. Now, there are different versions of this cookie. Some recipes call for finely ground hazelnuts. Since I prefer to have chunks of hazelnuts, I just roughly chopped the nuts once they are toasted. And you can even add some mini chocolate chips.

Often times these cookies are sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving, but I prefer to skip this step as I think the cookies are sweet enough. Brutti ma Buoni are at their best the day they are made, as their crisp exterior does soften with storage. Yet, I still enjoy them the next day, when their flavor has softened and the hazelnut flavor takes center stage.

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Brutti ma Buoni: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Let them cool completely and then coarsely chop.

In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, heat the sugar and egg whites, whisking constantly, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 5 minutes).

Remove from heat, transfer to the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), and beat until thick and glossy (about 3-5 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and then fold in the flour and chopped hazelnuts.

Place heaping tablespoonfuls (I use an ice cream scoop) on your prepared baking sheet, spacing about two inches (5 cm) apart. Bake the cookies for about 19 to 23minutes or until light brown (the outside of the cookies will be crisp and the cookies will just be starting to separate from the parchment paper). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

These cookies are best the day they are made, but they can be stored at room temperature for three to four days.

Makes about 35 cookies. 

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Brutti ma Buoni Recipe:

2 cups (200 grams) whole raw skinned hazelnuts

3 large (90 grams) egg whites

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 tablespoon (10 grams) all-purpose flour

Garnish: (optional)

Confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

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