Friday, January 23, 2015
Brutti ma Boni—Hazelnut Meringue Cookies
Over the holiday season when I cooked and baked a lot, I collected almost a half-pint of leftover egg whites. I had to use them before they became too old, so I started to look for the recipes calling just for whites.
First, I made a batch of basic white meringues, which I make quite often. But I had still a lot of whites left. Looking into many culinary resources I found two other interesting recipes. One was for a soft meringue dessert which I will try some time soon. The other was for easy hazelnut cookies which many Italian cookbooks mention. They seem perfect for this season.
So today I share the recipe for meringue type cookies whose Italian name translates "ugly but good". They are in fact not too attractive looking and I had a hard time to present them in an appetizing way. But they are very crunchy and exceptionally aromatic thanks to toasted hazelnuts, my favorite nuts.
I think they are definitely worth making, especially if you have extra whites to use. As all meringues those cookies made from sugar and whites are on a sweet side but hazelnuts break nicely this sweetness with their powerful aroma. I must admit that those "ugly but good" cookies not only make a wonderful sweet "something" with an afternoon coffee but can be pretty addictive.
Hazelnut Meringue Cookies
(Makes about 16 cookies)
3 egg whites room temperature,
1 and 1/3 cup shelled and toasted hazelnuts,
3/4 cup granulated sugar,
1. If you have raw hazelnuts toast them in an oven until light brown, let them cool down and, rubbing them on a hard surface or between your fingers, peel off the skins. Chop the nuts roughly on a cutting board.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with a wax paper.
3. Place whites in a bowl of a mixer. Whisk them until foamy. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until almost stiff. Add another 1/4 cup of sugar and beat again. Finally add the third portion and beat the whites for a couple of minutes, until they become stiff and shiny.
4. Fold in chopped hazelnuts into the whites and transfer them into a medium pot. Cook the mixture on a low heat stirring often until it becomes light gold.
5. Place about a tablespoon of meringue mixture on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until they become hard and brownish on top.
Let them cool and enjoy!