Brutti-boni – Tuscan Almond Cookies

In Italian, their name means “ugly (but) good”.  They are said to be ugly because when they cook they are ready when they become “ugly”, that is, sort of wrinkly and bumpy.  They are a specialty from Prato, the second largest city in Tuscany which is in the northern border with Emilia Romagna.  They are usually bought with as well as eaten with Biscotti di Prato, which when made in the rest of Italy, outside of Prato are called “cantucci” or “cantuccini” and are customarily drunk with vin santo, a sweet dessert wine. 

Ingredients:   

  1. 2 cups whole almonds with skin
  2. 1/3 cup pine nuts
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 large egg whites
  7. 1 extra egg white if needed

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper 

  1. Measure out the nuts onto a cookie sheet with sides and as the oven pre-heats.
  2. Measure out the sugar and put into a food processor.
  3. Add the cooled nuts and pulse 5-6 times to coarsely chop them.
  4. Remove to a large mixing bowl and add the flour and salt. Stir to mix.
  5. Lightly beat the 2 egg whites and add to the bowl of nuts, sugar, and flour.
  6. Mix. Add a little of the extra egg white if mixture is too dry.
  7. Drop by teaspoons onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes.  The cookies are done when they are “ugly”, that is, dark tan with bumps.
  9. Leave on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yields:  About 4 dozen cookies

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