These crispy cookies are made with Piedmontese staples—hazelnuts and eggs—and called Brutti Ma Buoni: literally, “Ugly But Good.” But they are really more plain-looking than “ugly,” and pack a powerful, sweet, nutty burst of flavor, making them welcome at any table.
- 2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (see Tip)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Step 1
- Position 2 racks as close to the center of the oven as possible; preheat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
- Step 2
- Pulse nuts and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Scrape into a large bowl.
- Step 3
- Beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture. Add vanilla and gently but thoroughly mix until combined.
- Step 4
- Drop the batter by the tablespoonful 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Step 5
- Bake the cookies until golden brown, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. When the baking sheets are thoroughly cooled, repeat with the remaining batter.
Tip: Toast whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. Let the nuts cool for a few minutes, then rub together in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the papery skins.
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