A Taste of Tuscany with a Crunch

When I studied in Siena, Italy during my senior year of college I fell in love with their cookies.  Well, I fell in love with a very specific cookie–a super-sweet, crunchy almond variety called “Brutti ma Buoni”.   If you know any Italian, you will recognize this name to be a slightly less than flattering choice of name for such a delicious confection.  Only the Italians could get away with calling a cookie “Brutti ma Buoni”–literally translated as “ugly but good”.   My own family has a cookie I’ve always known as “Cosi cacati” (my grandmother was quite a ham) —but I’ll let you imagine what that means, as it is not appropriate language for a food blog!  I guess Italian-American cooks are equally as colorful as our overseas sisters.

The Brutti ma Buoni cookies really aren’t ugly, but they are definitely good, and they are the perfect accompaniment to a good cup of caffe.   I once found an almost-as-good almond cookie at a bakery in New Canaan, Connecticut, but I rarely find myself out in that direction (although I admit to making a few nonsense trips just for the cookies).  You can imagine my delight when I went into Trader Joe’s today and saw they are now carrying Brutti ma Buoni cookies!  Not only convenient, but I’m happy to report that they capture the exact flavor and texture I remember from Italy.  I’m having one with my glass of wine right now, and can’t wait to have another with my morning coffee tomorrow.  Crunchy, sweet, small, perfect. 

I’m still perfecting my own Brutti ma Buoni recipe, but as I’m more of a cook than a baker, haven’t quite hit on a winner yet.  Until I do, I’m sticking to the ones at Trader Joe’s!

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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