What do you think would happen if you added nuts to a meringue based cookie? You would get Italian Hazelnut Almond Meringues.
Apparently, the first person to come up with this genius idea 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 cookies merit the description of being ugly… As far as the taste goes, I would describe them as exceptional. And here’s how you make them.
This recipe for Italian Hazelnut Almond Meringues requires hazelnuts and almonds. Once you have toasted both of these nuts, they need to be coarsely chopped. Set aside the nuts for a couple of minutes while you make the meringue.
The meringue has its humble beginnings in egg whites. With the help of your stand mixer and the whip attachment, it only takes about 10 minutes to get your eggs whipped up into stiff glossy peaks. Start your mixture on low speed and as your egg whites begin to foam, add the salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Gradually add the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Before you know it, the mixture becomes super glossy and stiff. …finally fold in the chopped hazelnuts and almonds. Transfer this mixture in a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of hot, barely simmering water. This mixture needs to be stirred for about 15 minutes.
You will notice that the mixture “deflates” a little. The meringues are now ready to be baked. Portion with a medium sized scooper in order to obtain about two dozen cookies. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes.
Origins of recipe for Italian Hazelnut Almond Meringues:
I have previously mentioned that I would often collect newspaper clippings of recipes from the Wednesday edition of my local paper. I found this recipe for Italian Hazelnut Almond Meringues in The Montreal Gazette.
When you first bite into these Italian Hazelnut Almond Meringues, your initial sensation will be that of a crispy exterior, followed by a soft, chewy interior. Truly a great addition to your holiday cookie platter.
Hoping you are all having a great week-end and enjoying the mild weather!
- 4 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1⅓ cup whole almonds, toasted
- 1⅓ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
- Preheat oven to 350℉/175℃.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Pulse almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor to obtain coarsely ground texture. Alternately, chop by hand. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl (of stand mixer), with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until they start to foam.
- Add pinch of salt.
- Add cinnamon and vanilla extract.
- Add the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time; whip until you obtain stiff glossy peaks (6-8 minutes).
- With a mixing spoon, fold in the nuts. Gently combine.
- Transfer this mixture in a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of hot, barely simmering water. This mixture needs to be stirred for about 15 minutes.
- With a medium sized scooper, place mixture on baking sheet.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden.
- Let cool on baking sheet.
Spread almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 10minutes. We only want to a light toast. Remember to remove the skins from the hazelnuts.
Let the nuts cool to room temperture before adding them to your recipe.
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Ciao for now!