Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (Brutti ma Buoni)

Italian Chocolate Hazelnut cookies recipe that can swipe you off your feet. These hazelnut cookies (called Brutti ma Buoni) are made without flour, with just 4 ingredients. They are vegetarian and gluten-free, plus kid-friendly.

Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies Recipe

Brutti ma buoni (which means ‘ugly but good’) are Italian hazelnut cookies, popular across central Italy (Tuscany). As any other Italian recipe, their origin is subject to debates, but despite that one thing is certain – they are divinely delicious. These hazelnut cookies are softer in the middle and crunchier on the outside. They can be made with either hazelnuts or almonds. In my recipe I add some raw cacao powder to create an even more irresistible feel. There is something about cacao – hazelnut combination we all crave at home. In addition, I’ve skipped the stove-cooking step from the cooking process, which makes them extra easy to prepare (read about that below).

If you are a fan of these nut-rich, gluten-free types of cookies, definitely check out my 3-Ingredients Walnut Cookie recipe (Bulgarian/Greek origin). The walnut cookies are pretty similar in technology, simply the nuts and quantities differ.

ITALIAN HAZELNUT COOKIES – Ingredients

  • Eggs – only egg whites are needed here. I recommend using fresh eggs (divided) not the store bought egg white equivalents (as they usually contain other questionable ingredients).
  • Hazelnuts raw & chopped – hazelnuts need to be fresh, not roasted as they roast within the cooking process. You can also substitute with almonds.
  • Brown sugar – personally prefer using brown sugar as it’s healthier than white processed alternative. Also, I always reduce the amount of sugar (to 3-4 tbsp) as my small kids eat the cookies too. If you have a sweet tooth however, you might want to add up to 8 tbsp of sugar.
  • Cacao powder, rawoptional ingredient that makes these hazelnut cookies extra special.

HOW TO MAKE BRUTTI MA BUONI – Italian Hazelnut cookies

Making these cookies is very simple, just follow the steps in the recipe:

  1. Divide egg whites from egg yolks. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites until they double or triple size and become stiff peaks (fluffy and airy). Set aside.
  2. Place raw hazelnuts and brown sugar in food processor and pulse until well chopped.
  3. Then add hazelnut-sugar mix to the beaten egg whites and gently incorporate with the egg foam. The cookie dough will shrink which is normal. Just make sure you are preserving as much air as possible while mixing.
  4. OPTIONAL: The original Italian recipe requires that one cooks the cookie dough on the stove (in a sauce pan & low heat – while constantly stirring), for a few minutes (3-5 min) before they get baked in the oven. If you decide add that step to the making process, then proceed to point No. 5.
  5. Cover a wide baking tray with parchment paper. Then using a spoon (or ice cream scoop) scoop out cookie dough and place onto baking surface. Do not press the cookie, help them stay in shape by gently pushing them on the sides.
  6. Bake in preheated oven (180C/360F) for 10-20 minutes until cookies become brown-ish. Be careful as these cookies tend to burn out quickly.
  7. Let cool and Enjoy!

Traditional Brutti ma Buoni Recipe

The Traditional Hazelnut cookies recipe requires a few notes:

  1. The traditional recipe requires that the cookie dough gets cooked on the stove (in a saucepan) on low heat for a few minutes (3-5). Stir constantly as the dough sticks to the pan very easily. Once cooked on the stove, they need to again be baked in the oven. My modern version is simplified as I do not find much difference in taste having it made both ways.
  2. Also, the traditional recipe does not contain cacao powder, I’ve added it to the cookies simply because the combination of hazelnuts – chocolate stands close to my heart.

MORE EUROPEAN RECIPES:

Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies Recipe

Italian Chocolate Hazelnut cookies recipe that can swipe you off your feet. These hazelnut cookies (called Brutti ma Buoni) are super easy to make and very quick too. They are vegetarian and gluten-free, plus kid-friendly.
CourseDessert
CuisineItalian
KeywordCookies, Hazelnuts
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, large, egg whites needed
  • 8 tbsp brown sugar , or less if preferred
  • 2 cups (200g) chopped hazelnuts, raw
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder, raw

Instructions

  • Divide egg whites from egg yolks. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites until they double or triple size and become stiff peaks (fluffy and airy). Set aside.
  • Place raw hazelnuts and brown sugar in food processor and pulse until well chopped. Then add hazelnut-sugar mix to the beaten egg whites and gently incorporate with the egg foam. The cookie dough will shrink which is normal. Just make sure you are preserving as much air as possible while mixing.
  • OPTIONAL: In a sauce pan (preferably non-stick) add cookie dough and cook on the stove for a few minutes (3-5 min.) on low heat. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Then proceed to baking instructions below.
  • Cover a wide baking tray with parchment paper. Then using a spoon (or ice cream scoop) scoop out cookie dough and place onto baking surface. Do not press the cookie, help them stay in shape by gently pushing them on the sides.
  • Bake in preheated oven (180C/360F) for 10-20 minutes until cookies become brown-ish. Can be baked on ventilation too. Be careful as these cookies tend to burn out quickly. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

1 cup = US custom metrics 

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