Brutti ma Buoni Cookies

Roughly translating as “ugly but good”, Brutti ma Buoni cookies are similar to a meringue cookie except that coarsely chopped nuts are folded in before baking. These cookies have a wonderfully crisp exterior with an interior that is soft and chewy.

This is yet another traditional cookie recipe that can be found in many versions across italy, and although these cookies are delicious, they are not suitable for making too far in advance, or for freezing. I’ve made these cookies often throughout the years, either for holidays, or to simply enjoy with an afternoon cup of coffee, and although I’ve tried out a number of variations along the way, I found that the simple recipe below is my favorite.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Brutti ma Buoni

Brutti ma Buoni

Yield: Makes 2 Dozen Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Traditional cookies that are indeed ugly to look at but delicious none the less.


  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup Hazelnuts
  • 1 Cup Almonds
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly toast the almonds until they just begin to take on color.
  3. Toast the hazelnuts until their skins begin to split and they begin to color.
  4. Remove from the oven and place in a kitchen towel.
  5. Rub the nuts until their skins fall off.
  6. Coarsely chop the both of nuts.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. and lightly grease two baking sheets.
  8. Let egg whites stand until at room temperature, and then beat them until light and foamy.
  9. Add the sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and flour, gradually as you continue to beat, and beat until soft peaks are formed.
  10. Gently fold in the nuts.
  11. Spoon the cookies onto greased baking sheets by the teaspoonful, about 1 to 1-1/2 inches apart.
  12. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes, or until dry and firm to the touch.
  13. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. When is the vanilla added? How many cookies should this recipe yield? My favorite childhood Italian bakery in NYC made these cookies; but they were totally chocolate. If I were to attempt to replicate those, how much more cocoa and sugar do you think I would need to add? I am excited to try making these cookies, as I’ve not been able to find them outside of NYC.

    1. The vanilla is added along with the rest of the ingredients after the eggs are beaten. The recipe states 2 dozen cookies (at top of recipe) but it does depend on size.

  2. I tried these but the consistency was liquid so I added more and more flour which gave them a floury taste. I am thinking it may be the eggs, I used large eggs what size did you use ?

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