Flourless Butterless Crispy Chewy Nutty Goodness
After a recent winter rain, I discovered an intricately crafted spider web filling the entire frame outside my kitchen window. The water droplets clinging to it sparkled and danced with the sunlight, drawing my attention to an enormous spider resting there. I looked away for a minute and when I looked back, the web was gone or rather, I could no longer see it. Without the light of the sun, momentarily obscured by the clouds, the natural work of art disappeared from the view.
The way the change in life hiding and revealing things struct me as a perfect metaphor for awareness. When we put full awareness on something it’s as if we are making it to come to life. Isn’t it? We spend lot of energy at the this time of year buying and making gifts, finding the perfect holiday trees and dresses for holiday parties. The original motivation for giving gifts and celebrating can get obscured by stress and fatigue as we our awareness shifts from the feeling of connection and contentment to the harried finishing of all our to-dos.
The solution to this typical holiday syndrome is seems so simple: Keep it light! Keep you awareness shining on the things you want to bring it to life. I am taking this a step further and applying the mantra of “keep it light” to this year’s holiday gifts as well. By “light” I mean, something that does not require lot of efforts while making and also while digesting it, something that is not loaded with fats and processed carbs, something that’s delightful and will make us all happy while giving and receiving! These tiny hazelnut cookies not only sound festive but also fit the theme!
Brutti ma Buoni, are Italian cookies, similar to a meringue cookies but these contain nuts too. Traditionally made with almonds or hazelnuts, have beautiful nutty texture with crispy from outside and chewy from inside. Only 5 ingredients and no all purpose flour and no butter make these cookies really light and very attractive for health conscious foodies.
Brutti ma Buoni roughly translates to ‘ugly but good‘ are popular in northern and central Italy and more specifically in Gavirate, a small town in the province of Varese, north of Milan.. Supposedly the recipe was created in 1878, Costantino Veniani, an age-old pastry chef and owner of the pastry shop Pasticceria Veniani. Over the course of a few years, these cookies became very popular, attracting famous people from across northern Italy into the shop. Veniani’s customers included names like MaestroGiuseppe Verdi and Queen Elena, who apparently loved brutti ma buoni so much that she would visit the little shop in person with her bodyguards and return home with the cookies for her court.
You need only four ingredients : hazelnuts, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Since there is no flour, these are completely gluten free. The natural oil from hazelnuts provides the fat and well beaten eggs bind sugar and grounded nuts together.
Flourless Butterless Crispy Chewy Nutty GoodnessAdapted from: Eating Well
- Hazelnuts - 1 cup, lightly roasted and skinned
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Eggs Whites - 2 large
- Salt - a pinch
- Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C
- Pulse nuts and sugar together in a food processor until finely ground.
- Separate egg whites in a big bowl. Add a pinch of salt to egg whites.
- Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
- Fold in nut-sugar mixture and vanilla extract.
- Transfer the batter in disposable piping bag and pipe the batter on a baking tray. Don't worry too much about the shape, it's okay if they turn out 'ugly'.
- Place the baking sheet in the middle rack and bake for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown.
- Gently transfer them on a wire cooling rack and let them cool for 5 minutes.
- You can store these in an airtight container up to 2 weeks but I bet they will vanish off in days!