Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (2024)

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This unique two-step method of making these Bruttiboni Italian cookies provides the perfect texture you come to expect from a meringue cookie. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside.

The combination of roasted nuts makes these Italian Meringue Cookies truly sensational!

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (1)

When you first bite into these Italian hazelnut cookies, your initial sensation will be that of a crispy exterior, followed by a soft, chewy interior.

Just like this family recipe for Mostaccioli, these Brutti ma Buoni cookies are a great addition to your platter of Italian Christmas cookies.

Apparently, the first person to come up with the genius idea of adding nuts to a meringue-based cookie was a pastry chef in the region of Lombardi in 1878.

His name was Constantino Veniani, and he owned a pastry shop in a small town called Gavirate, just north of Milan.

He called these cookies brutti ma buoni, which literally translates into ugly but good. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I will let you decide if these cookiesmerit the description of being ugly…

As far as the taste goes, I would describe them as exceptional.

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (2)

Bruttiboni ingredients

Aprintable recipe cardfound at thebottom of this pagehas thespecific amountsfor each ingredient. This is just a summary.

  • Egg whites. An essential component to making a great Italian meringue cookie.
  • Salt.Just a pinch.
  • Vanilla Extract.No imitation will do, use the real thing and you will actually taste the difference.
  • Cinnamon.Just a bit to give the meringue a little kick.
  • Sugar.Another crucial ingredient when making this classic meringue cookie.
  • Almonds. Roasted and with the skin on.
  • Hazelnuts.These will also be roasted but we need to remove their skins.

As far as accessories are concerned, a food processor to grind the nuts makes this whole process so much easier than manually chopping them up. You will also need a stand mixer (or handheld mixer) to whisk the egg whites properly.

A small pot, a heat-proof bowl, a wooden spoon and a medium-sized ice cream scoop will ensure equal-sized cookies.

Finally, we will need a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

It’s now time to make this wonderful gluten-free cookie! Are you ready?

How to make bruttiboni cookies

This recipe for these Italian Meringue cookies is unique as it requires both roasted hazelnuts and almonds. You need 1⅓ cups of each.

Once roasted, use your food processor to obtain coarsely chopped nuts. Set them aside while you make the meringue.

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (3)

The meringue has its humble beginnings in egg whites. With the help of your stand mixer and the whisk attachment, it only takes about 10 minutes to get your 4 egg whites whipped up into stiff glossy peaks.

Start your mixture on low speed and as your egg whites begin to foam, add a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

Gradually add 1 cup of granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Before you know it, the mixture becomes super glossy and stiff.

Gently fold in the chopped hazelnuts and almonds.

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (4)

Transfer this mixture to a heat-proof bowl and place over a pot of hot, barely simmering water. Stir every few minutes or so for about 15 minutes.

Notice how the mixture appears a little darker and slightly “deflated”.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (5)

The hazelnut and almond meringues are now ready to be baked. Portion with a medium-sized scooper in order to obtain about two dozen cookies. Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before “peeling” them off the parchment paper.

Crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle…

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (6)


  • The almonds and the hazelnuts can be roasted in advance and stored at room temperature until needed. This ensures the use of room temperature ingredients until you are ready to make these nut cookies.
  • Do not rush the process of adding the sugar while whisking the egg whites. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time.
  • The addition of cinnamon is optional.
  • If you’re a chocolate lover, feel free to add a few shavings of chocolate to make a non-traditional version.

What can I make with crushed cookies?

Crushing these cookies makes them a great garnish for grilled peaches or a ricotta parfait.

Gluten-free Christmas cookies

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (7)

Recipe origins

I have previously mentioned that I would often collect newspaper clippings of recipes from the Wednesday edition of my local paper. Imagine how delighted I was when I found this ugly cookies recipe in the food section.

I have been making this Italian Hazelnut Almond Meringue for over twenty years and it has never disappointed me. Both family and friends are thrilled whenever I make this Italian cookie recipe to be part of our Christmas celebrations.

I am confident they will quickly become part of the best Christmas cookie recipes you bake for the holidays.

THANKS SO MUCHfor following and being part of theShe Loves Biscotticommunity where you will findSimple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.

If you haven’t already joined, here is the link where you can sign up formy weekly e-mail newsletter.This way, you won’t miss any of my new recipes and it’s absolutely free!

Ciao for now,


★★★★★ If you have made thisBrutti ma Buoni recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (8)


Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (9)


When you bite into these Bruttiboni aka brutti ma buoni, you will notice a crispy exterior and a soft, chewy interior. Truly a great addition to your Christmas cookie platter.

4.91 from 10 votes

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Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Prep Time: 30 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 1 hour hour

Servings: 24 servings

Calories: 122kcal

Author: Maria Vannelli RD


  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pure
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar granulated
  • 1⅓ cup whole almonds toasted
  • 1⅓ cup hazelnuts toasted and skins removes


  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.

  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

  • Pulse almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor to obtain a coarsely ground texture. Alternatively, chop by hand. Set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl (of a stand mixture), with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until they start to foam.

  • Add a pinch of salt.

  • Add cinnamon and vanilla extract.

  • Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Whisk until you obtain stiff glossy peaks.

  • With a mixing spoon, fold in the nuts. Gently combine.

  • Transfer this mixture to a heat-proof bowl and place over a pot of hot, barely simmering water. This mixture needs to be stirred for about 15 minutes.

  • Portion with a medium-sized scooper and place on baking sheet.

  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the tops are golden.

  • Allow to cool on baking sheet.

Scroll UP for the STEP by STEP PhotosDon't miss the process shots and videos included in most posts. Simply scroll up the post to find them. Those were created especially for you so that you can make the recipe perfectly every single time you try it.



To roast the nuts: Preheat oven to 325°F. Position rack to the center.

Spread almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes to obtain a light roasting. Remove the skins from the hazelnuts.

Let the nuts cool to room temperature before using them in the recipe.

  • The almonds and the hazelnuts can be roasted in advance and stored at room temperature until needed. This ensures the use of room temperature ingredients until you are ready to make these nut cookies.
  • Do not rush the process of adding the sugar while whisking the egg whites. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time to the egg whites.
  • The addition of cinnamon is optional.

*recipe adapted from the Gazette

Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.

*recipe adapted from article found in the Gazette


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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This recipe was originally published on December 13, 2015 and republished on November 22, 2018 with updated content, photos and a video. Thanks for watching and sharing.

Bruttiboni: Italian Meringue Cookies (2024)


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