Chocolate Brutti Ma Buoni (ugly but good) Italian Cookie Recipe

Brutti ma Buoni (Ugly but Good) Italian cookies. The first time I made these cookies was when I had my Italian coffee shop. I had so much fun making different kinds of interesting cookies (mostly Italian) there, but I fell in love with these because of the name. It's fun and unique and it makes people curious to try them. The other reason I was drawn to them is because they are gluten free and I really enjoyed having a few sweet options for our GF customers to enjoy. In the mid 2000's there weren't that many choices available in coffee shops for people who needed to eat gluten free so these were always appreciated and requested. 

As I was looking into this recipe I was surprised to see all the different places people said that it originated. It could have come from Lazio, Piedmont, Lombardy or Tuscany as far as I can tell, but no matter what, I think everyone could agree that these cookies definitely ARE Italian. The other big surprise is that almost no two recipe's pictures looked the same. Some really were ugly and fit the name well while others were super yummy this recipe :) For the most part they all used hazelnuts except for a few that used just almonds or mixed the two types of nuts. Almost all of the recipes had a chocolate of some sort. Sometimes it was cocoa while other times it was chocolate chips. The recipes that didn't have it usually replaced it with another strong flavor like cinnamon. Chocolate with hazelnuts is so classically Italian though that I think it's the winning combination for these sweet treats. 

This is the recipe I used at our cafe. I got it from a big  Italian cookbook that my mom got from a second hand store. I'm sure there will be some Italians out there saying "that is completely wrong" and "that's not how you make Brutti ma Buoni", and that may be true where they come from, but this is the way they are made somewhere....hahaha!

Make them and then enjoy them with some lovely coffee or tea, but also remember that these little sweets definitely go good with wine too! 

Buon Appetito!


Chocolate Brutti ma Buoni

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temerature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups sugar
  • 1 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 Cups hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and coarsely chopped.

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Dampen 2 large baking sheets and line with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the egg whites and salt until foamy. Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar. Beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted.

3. On low speed, mix in the cocoa. Stir in the hazelnuts.

4. Scrape the mixture into a large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Be careful that it does not scorch.

5. Immediately drop the hot batter by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake 30 minutes or until firm and slightly cracked on the surface.

6. While the cookies are still hot, transfer them to a rack to cool, using a thin-blade metal spatula. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.



Ciao e buon appetito!