These cookies are originally from Northern Italy, but in one form or another, every Italian region claims its own recipe (one of our Guest Cooks, Pola M., has shared her own version). They are very easy to make. The “ugly” part of the name stems from the fact that they don’t have a predetermined shape. The “good” part is that they are delicious. The combination of hazelnuts and almond gives them a distinctive taste.
5 1/2 oz (150 g) almonds, lightly toasted
5 1/2 oz (150 g) hazelnuts, lightly toasted
4 egg whites
6 1/2 oz (180 g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Place the almonds in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Run the blade until the almonds are coarsely ground.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites. Whip the egg whites until peaks form.
Add the sugar, the vanilla, the cinnamon . . .
. and stir to combine.
Combine the almonds.
Place the mixture in a double boiler over medium heat and stir for about 15 minutes, until a soft but firm compound forms.
Line a cookie sheet or flat oven pan with parchment paper.
Form small balls the size of walnuts, place them on the pan approximately 2” (5 cm) apart.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.