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Mario Batali’s Brutti Ma Buoni Meringue Cookies

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3/26/23 NEW & IMPROVED!


  • I lowered the amount of sugar from 2 1/2 cups (500g) to 2 cups (400g) because they were unnecessarily sweet
  • You can substitute toasted and chopped hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans for the almonds.
  • I reduced the baking time to 30 minutes (I don’t think the extra 10 minutes at a lower temperature is necessary)
  • This recipe makes about 68 cookies which freeze well, but you can easily halve the recipe.
  • I use a Medium Cookie Scoop (1.5 TB) for even cookies, but you can scoop heaping tablespoons.
  • New updated pics


Brutti Ma Buoni means “Ugly But good”—but these Italian Meringue Cookies are as adorable as they are delicious: perfectly crispy on the outside and chewy/nutty on the inside.

Italian Meringue Cookies - OrnaBakes

I first saw them in a Weight Watchers Magazine years ago, and then finally made Mario Batali’s version from and they were simply divine.

Some recipes add flour and some cook the batter, but this recipe is simple and makes it perfect for Passover.

How to Whip Egg Whites

Adapted from Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America

Make sure there are no traces of fat in the whites themselves or on the equipment. (no yolk)

Egg whites should be at room temperature when whipped, but are easier to separate while still cold. (Let rest 10 – 15 minutes after separating.)

Egg Whites in Bowl
Egg Whites in Bowl

Begin whipping at a slow to moderate speed, until the whites loosen and become foamy.

Foamy Egg Whites
Foamy Egg Whites

Add sugar gradually with mixer on moderate speed, then cinnamon, salt and vanilla, and increase speed to high.

As more air is beaten into the whites, the texture becomes very smooth and the foam thickens enough to mound slightly. When you see the whisk start to leave track marks in the egg whites you are at the “soft peak” stage; the foam is still very glossy and moist, and when you pull the whisk out of the bowl and turn it upright, the whites slump over to one side in rounded peaks.

As you continue to whip egg whites, they reach the “medium peak” stage.

You will see distinct tracks left by the whisk or beater as you whip. The peaks formed when the whisk is lifted retain their shape longer, but are still glossy and smooth.

Medium Peaks
Medium Peaks

Brutti ma Buoni Italian Meringue Cookies

Mario Batali's Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies

1 Weight Watchers PointsPlus value for 1 cookie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 68 cookies


  • Medium Cookie Scoop (1 1/2 TB)


  • 1 pound 16-oz sliced almonds, lightly toasted I use Trader Joe's Unsalted Dry Toasted Sliced Almonds
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 7 large egg whites (210g), room temperature Tip: Separate the eggs while cold
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • large pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. (Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper - or reuse cooled sheets)
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, begin whisking the eggs on medium speed until the whites loosen and become foamy/frothy.
    Slowly add the sugar (gently sprinkle in about one tablespoon at a time), then salt and cinnamon, then the vanilla. Continue beating on high until the eggs form glossy, medium-hard peaks (see notes below). (Remove the whisk periodically if necessary and use it to stir in any sugar/ingredients on the side of the bowl and to check the peaks)
  • Use a spatula to gently fold in the almonds: sprinkle about 1/4 of the almonds gently over the top and fold in, repeat until all are just incorporated.
  • Spoon heaping tablespoons (I use a Medium 1.5TB Cookie Scoop for even sized cookies) onto the prepared baking pans, spaced 1-inch apart; about 20 cookies per baking sheet.
  • Place 2 sheets on the middle and top racks of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating baking sheets and switching shelves halfway. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool completely. If you don't have extra baking sheets you can spoon the rest of the batter onto parchment sheets on the counter and carefully slip them onto cooled baking sheets (run under cool water to expedite).
  • The cookies should lift easily off the parchment when cool and be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Don't worry if they crack - that's part of their charm.
    Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
    Freeze in an airtight container between sheets of parchment for up to 3 months.

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5 Responses

  1. “I finally made Mario Batali’s version from—my go-to recipe resource—and they were simply divine. And the best part is they make a fantastic Passover Dessert and are low points to boot! (Weight Watchers PointsPlus value coming soon.)”

    What is the WW PointsPlus value for these cookies?

  2. These cookies were the hardest that I’ve ever tried to make. They came out very flat. I now know why they are so expensive on the bakery. This recipe will not be one of my regulars

    1. I’m sorry these were difficult for you. It’s a really great recipe – I updated the instructions today, 3/26/23, so I hope you will try again. Perhaps next time halve the recipe and make sure to whip the whites to medium-stiff peaks but still glossy and don’t over-whip them. Hope this helps!

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