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Brutti ma Buoni

These traditional Italian cookies are made with only three ingredients - toasted hazelnuts, sugar and egg whites. So easy to make!

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Brutti ma buoni

Brutti ma buoni are classic Italian cookies that can be found in almost every bakery throughout Italy. Their name means "ugly but good" but we assure you that they are not as ugly as the name implies.

These cookies are made from just three ingredients - egg whites, sugar and toasted hazelnuts meaning they are without any flour and therefore ideal for those who are intolerant to gluten.

Brutti ma buoni

There are numerous variations of these cookies depending on the region of Italy. Some of them feature almonds instead of hazelnuts while other add grated chocolate to the dough.

We love our brutti ma buoni recipe using toasted hazelnuts which results in delicious crunchy cookies with a nutty flavour. They are so easy to make, you will find yourself coming back to this recipe very often.

Brutti ma buoni goes well with a rich chocolate mousse or silky pastry cream but we enjoy them mostly with a cup of good coffee in the afternoon.

Brutti ma buoni

Useful tips for making brutti ma buoni

Here are our simple tips to follow for the perfect brutti ma buoni:

  • If your eggs are from the fridge, let the egg whites stand for 10 - 15 minutes after separating to allow them to reach room temperature. They will whip up to a greater volume if they are not cold.

  • Be sure to grease the baking paper with oil before placing the batter so the cookies don't stick while baking. Once baked, leave the cookies for a few minutes to cool on the tray and then remove with thin metal spatula.

  • Brutti ma buoni are not suitable for making too far in advance and they are best eaten freshly baked.

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Brutti ma buoni

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Brutti ma Buoni

MAKES: 12 cookies
COOKS IN: 40 minutes


  • 2 egg whites
  • 60g (1/4 cup) caster (fine) sugar
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Arrange the hazelnuts in a single layer on baking tray and toast for about 10-12 minutes, stirring them every 3-4 minutes. They are done when they are fragrant and their skin cracked. Remove from the oven and rub them in kitchen towel until the skin comes off. 

  2. Cool nuts completely and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. Scrape them into a medium bowl.

  3. Lower the oven temperature to 140°C (284°F). Line the baking sheet with baking paper and using a pastry brush grease it with the oil.

  4. Place the egg whites and salt into a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract then add sugar gradually and continue to beat until soft peaks are formed. Gently fold in hazelnuts using a silicon spatula.

  5. Using a tablespoon, spoon the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet about 2 cm apart.

  6. Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes or until dry and firm to touch. Let the cookies cool before serving.

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