Brutti ma Buoni

I discovered these cookies several years ago while traveling in Italy.  We made them one afternoon in Positano  - and ate them all the way through breakfast the next morning.  There are many versions of this cookie.  This one is a nutty merengue cookie.  I make them with a lot of different combinations and kinds of nuts, such as hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts and walnuts.   Sometimes I even use coconut as part of the mix.

They are absolutely great with a cup of coffee after dinner....or for breakfast! 

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Yield: 36 cookies

Brutti ma Buoni

prep time: 15 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 35 mins

This translates to "ugly but good" in Italian. These are one of the most popular cookies I make. You can shift around with the types of nuts that you use so it's a good way to use up small amounts left over in your freezer.


  • 7 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups lightly toasted nuts (such as  2 cups slivered almonds, 1 cup pine nuts, 1 cup raw pistachios)  


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Pulse the toasted nuts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade 10 times just to break them up.   They need to be in pieces - not fine.  Cool completely.  
  3. In a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whip,  beat the egg whites at medium high speed until hard peaks form.  Slow the speed to medium and slowly add in the sugar, then vanilla.  Beat until just combined.  Gently fold in the nuts by hand being careful not to deflate the egg whites.  Do not over mix.  
  4. Drop in 1/8 cup mounds onto parchment.  
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through, but not completely hard.  
  6. Turn off oven and leave door open until cool.  
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Mark LaFavor