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Italian Hazelnut Cookies
“These crispy cookies are made with Piedmontese staples—hazelnuts and eggs—and called Brutti Ma Buoni: literally, “Ugly But Good.” But they are really more plain-looking than “ugly,” and pack a powerful, sweet, nutty burst of flavor, making them welcome at any table. ”
2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (see Tip)
1¼ cups sugar
4 large egg whites
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1Position 2 racks as close to the center of the oven as possible; preheat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
2Pulse nuts and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Scrape into a large bowl.
3Beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture. Add vanilla and gently but thoroughly mix until combined.
4Drop the batter by the tablespoonful 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
5Bake the cookies until golden brown, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Gently transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. When the baking sheets are thoroughly cooled, repeat with the remaining batter.
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Equipment: Parchment paper or nonstick baking mats
Tip: Toast whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. Let the nuts cool for a few minutes, then rub together in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the papery skins.