Il Palio Restaurant
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Brutti ma buoni translates to “ugly but good”—an apt description for these Italian hazelnut meringue cookies. They are sold by weight at traditional bakeries across Italy, most specifically in Rome. The cookie has only four ingredients: hazelnuts, sugar, vanilla and egg whites. The combination creates a wonderfully crisp exterior that gives way to a soft and chewy interior.
1⁄2 cup egg whites
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 1⁄2 cups hazelnut flour
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheets with silicon mats or lightly grease the sheets.
2. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until whites are foamy and light. Add sugar in a steady stream, continuing to beat until soft peaks form.
3. Continue beating mixture until stiff peaks form, adding the vanilla extract. Using a rubber spatula, fold in hazelnut flour.
4. Drop mixture with teaspoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 325 F for 15 to 18 minutes until cookies are golden brown. Allow to cool completely on sheets before removing.
Photograph by Stacey Sprenz, Tabletop Media Group