UUUUGLY Cookie Warning!!
REALLY … I’m NOT kidding. These cookies look funky, especially before you bake them, but they DO taste good.
I’ve been meaning to make these cookies for some time but kept putting it off, until now.
There are two basic techniques or versions of “brutti ma buoni”, and of course, I chose the more complicated one which involves cooking the meringue batter to dry it out before it’s spooned out onto a baking sheet and baked. Even though I watched several videos, I overcooked the batter so that the last few cookies ended up dried and crumbly. These cookies had cocoa powder folded into the batter. Hazelnuts seem to be used most commonly in the recipes that I researched but, I used sliced almonds, since I had some in my freezer. Other nuts like pine nuts, pecans or even walnuts, may be used alone or in combination.
Brutti ma buoni al cioccolato (Chocolate “Ugly but Good” Cookies) – makes 10-12 cookies
2 egg whites (~75 gm)
150 gm white sugar
150 gm nuts, toasted and chopped coarsely**
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
** Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove 1 tbsp of the sugar and sift it, together with the cocoa powder, into a small bowl. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large, clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually spoon in the sugar and continue whisking until hard peaks form. Fold in the sugar/cocoa mixture, then the nuts.
You can spoon the meringue “batter” onto the baking sheet at this point and bake it OR transfer it into a thick bottomed sauce pan and cook on the stove top at medium-low heat while stirring gently. Cook, scraping the bottom, until the batter has dried out and starts pulling away from the bottom and sides, about 10-12 min. (NOTE: Remember, the batter keeps cooking when you pull the pan off the heat so you might want to under cook it a bit.)
Using 2 tablespoons (scrape out the batter from the first with the second) transfer mounds of the batter, onto your lined baking sheet, about an inch apart, and bake for 20-25 min. They will be firm to the touch, but soft deep in the centre.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, after which they’ll be easier to remove with a thin spatula.
Let finish cooling on racks.
You can store leftover cookies in an air tight container in a cool dry place. Don’t refrigerate or freeze.