Friday, September 26, 2014

MoFo: Brutti ma Buoni ~ Italian Hazelnut Cookies

Tomorrow we are holding a celebration at my yoga studio to mark the first year of myself and two friends taking over as owners at the studio. We're offering three free classes, plus cookies and tea in between classes. So, I had a lot of cookies to bake!

I knew right away that I wanted to try my hand at veganizing a cookie I just had for the first time this summer, when I was in Italy. I found one brand that was accidentally vegan, fell in love, and then every other brand I found after that contained eggs. Boo! The cookies are called Brutti ma Buoni, which means "Ugly but Good." As you'll see, that's pretty much truth in advertising right there. As it turns out these cookies were really easy to veganize! Plus, they are naturally and authentically gluten-free.

In fact, the only ingredients are: roasted hazelnuts, flax meal + water, vanilla, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt. Amazing! And yet, the end result is a really great cookie - crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.

Brutti Ma Buoni / Ugly But Good Cookies
veganized from this recipe

8 ounces hazelnuts (1.5 cups)
1.25 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp flax meal
1/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 400F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and roast them for about 12 minutes, until they start to turn golden and the skins are peeling. At that point, remove them from the oven and pour them into a dish towel and let them cool down a bit. Once they're cool, rub them vigorously in the towel to get off as much of the skins as you can.

While the nuts are roasting, combine the flax meal and water in a medium bowl and whisk it vigorously until it starts to turn viscous. Set aside.

Put the roasted nuts and the powdered sugar into the bowl of a food processor and start pulsing until the nuts are coarsely chopped. You want some of the nuts to be ground up like coarse polenta, but you want some bits that are a little bigger than that.

Now, add the hazelnut mixture to the flax goo, and also add in the vanilla extract. Mix well until you have a thick dough, and there are no dry bits left:

my cookie dough today
you can get a sense of how coarsely/finely ground the nuts are supposed to be

Next, line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, and put tablespoon-sized blobs on the sheet, with about one inch in between them. The cookies will rise and spread a little, but not a whole lot. 

 cooling off before they will be ready to eat!

Bake the cookies for about 13-14 minutes, until they are slightly golden on the tops and lightly golden on the bottoms. I use a spatula to peek under the bottom and check on them. Let them cool on the sheet for at least a few minutes before transferring them to cooling racks.

I guess they are kinda ugly, but they are so tasty that I think they are beautiful. A cookie only a baker could love! I made a double batch, but Mr. VE&T and I had to taste a couple to make sure they were good (spoiler alert: they were).

All in all, today was quite a zinger. I spent all morning baking in the kitchen, then Mr VE&T's back went out and he needed lots of help and care... then the cat threw up all over the bed... then I rode my bike to yoga class and got caught in a freak downpour-hailstorm. I was drenched! Then I had to walk the dogs in the dark, have dinner, and finish up preparations for tomorrow's event... and now I'm squeezing in a last-minute mofo post. Phew, I made it! Now I am all pooped out and ready for bed. As they say in Italy, "Buona Notte!"


  1. Sounds like an exhausting day, I hope you have a good sleep!
    I wish you could be my yoga teacher. They have watermelon on Christmas day, but otherwise treats are few and far between!

  2. Those look delish! Such tasty little cookies :)

  3. All that and you STILL took the time to put up an awesome MoFo post! You're superwoman!

    These cookies look really tasty - how cool that they're also safe for my gluten-free friends.

  4. Ooooh! These cookies look so so good! And perfect for gluten-free me! I think this just might be my baking project tomorrow. : )

  5. I am bookmarking this for a good gluten free cookies recipe!

  6. I'll have to make these for my gluten free friend sometime, they sound great and I think they're totally cute!

  7. Ahh thank you for posting this! I just got another bag of hazelnuts from my parents' tree and I've been looking for recipes that really show off their deliciousness. These look perfect! I just need to find a way to grind up the hazelnuts because I don't have a food processor. Maybe I'll try using a coffee grinder.

  8. Yikes! It sounds like a rough day! Congratulations on taking over as one of the owners of the yoga studio! That is so cool!!! These cookies seem like the perfect celebratory food!

  9. I love hazelnuts and these biscuits look fantastic even if they're not beautiful :)


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