Brutti ma buoni
- 1 ¼ lb almonds
- ½ lb egg white
- 1 lb sugar
- 1 oz butter
- cinnamon to taste
- 1 package vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
Blanch the almonds in boiling water, then roast on an oven tray and finely chop them.
Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, add the chopped almonds, sugar, a bit of cinnamon and vanilla extract, slowly stirring with a spoon.
Put everything into a saucepan over a very low heat until it dries up, stirring continuously for about half an hour. Butter an oven sheet and spoon small dollops onto it giving them a round shape.
Turn on the oven on a low heat (260°F), put the sheet in and bake for about 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool.
They can be kept in tightly closed tins for some time.
These delicious almond cookies, known as brutti ma buoni or “ugly but tasty,” come from northern Italy – and more specifically from Gavirate, a small town in the province of Varese, north of Milan. Supposedly the recipe was created in 1878, Costantino Veniani, an age-old pastry chef and owner of the pastry shop Pasticceria Veniani. Over the course of a few years, these cookies became very popular, attracting famous people from across northern Italy into the shop. Veniani’s customers included names like Maestro Giuseppe Verdiand Queen Elena, who apparently loved brutti ma buoni so much that she would visit the little shop in person with her bodyguards and return home with the cookies for her court.
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