Years ago I was on a tour of Italy with friends and my very best friend Fiona. we were in the Val d’aosta in Italy. On our last evening there we stopped by a bakery and picked up cookies. Back in our hotel Fiona proceeded to eat her cookies,Brutti ma Buoni,and went on and on about how delicious these cookies were,she mused on the strangeness of their name,but,my ususally generous friend refused to offer me any;till just scraps remained and…now she was generous. Suffice it to say they were divine. I have searched and found sereral recipes but none that come as close to the ones we shared in Italy , these from Nick Malgieri.
4 large egg whites
11/3 cup sugar
31/2 cups (about 14 oz) whole hazelnuts,finely ground in a food processor
2 cookie sheets lined with parchment or foil
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees
Whip the egg whites and salt in an electric mixer with the whisk on medium speed until they are white and opaque and beginning to hold their shape. Increase the speed to medium high and whip in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time,continuing to whip the whites until they hold a firm peak. remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the ground hazlenuts.
Scrape the batter into a medium saucepan and place over low heat. Cook,stirring constantly with a wooden spoon,until the mixture is heated through,about 8 minutes.
Use 2 spoons to form 3/4 inch cookies. Use one spoon to scoop up some batter and the other to scrape it off the first,rounding it somewhat as you do,and drop the cookies onto the prepared pan,spacing them about 1 inch apart from each other in all directions.
Bake the cookies until they are well colored and slightly firm, about 20 -25 minutes.
Cool the cookies on the pan on a rack.
Makes about 60 cookies.