The Italians make a delicious cookie called “Brutti Ma Buoni”. The literal translation is Ugly But Good! Isn’t that a fabulous name for these cookies?

I can just picture that first baker who made them. People asked, “What are they?” “Well,” he replied, “they’re ugly but good!”

I made them several times when I lived in Rome, and they really are delicious! Beaten egg whites holding in toasted hazelnuts and sugar, they have a distinctive good taste, and truly are pretty ugly with their free-form shapes.

I thought of these Italian cookies when I recently made some delicious-but rather homely-Breakfast Cookies. Would you agree that they might be the breakfast version of Brutti Ma Buoni? Ugly But Good…

Of course you can’t really comment on the “buoni” (good tasting) part of that name because you haven’t tasted them yet! So I get to choose that part-and you can agree that they’re pretty much in the “brutti” (ugly) category. But they’re chock full of good-for-you ingredients and tasty too! They’re perfect for those of you who are “on the run” in the morning and just want to pop a few in a baggie to enjoy with a quick cup of coffee at the office. But I’ve found them to be the ideal after-supper snack with a cup of tea while I’m reading a book.

I stored mine in the freezer, so I can’t say how long they’ll keep out on the counter. I guess if you have a few healthy eaters in your family, you’ll just want to keep them handy dandy. At least you can feel good about what your family’s eating! Enjoy these Brutto Ma Buoni Breakfast Cookies!

Brutti Ma Buoni Breakfast Cookies


  • 3 medium or 4 small bananas mashed
  • 1/4 C. (60 ml) mild vegetable oil, or coconut oil warmed enough to liquify
  • 1 T. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C. (150 g) rolled oats (I used whole rolled oats; quick oats would probably be fine)
  • 1 C. (60-70 g) unsweetened grated coconut
  • 1 T. flax seed, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 C. (150 g) finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts; pecans and almonds would be fine; I think the flavor of peanuts would be a bit overpowering)
  • 1/2 C. (a handful) of dried fruit (chopped dates, figs, apricots, raisins, cranberries, blueberries--whatever you have in the house)


  1. Mash the bananas with a fork, or in a food processor. Add the oil, honey and vanilla, stirring to combine.
  2. Stir in the oatmeal, grated coconut, flax and salt.
  3. Add the dried fruit and nuts and stir gently but thoroughly.
  4. Use a cookie scoop, ice cream scoop, or two spoons to place cookie dough on a parchment lined, or greased baking pan. Flatten them a bit with a spoon or your palm and bake at 350° F (180° C) for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool a few minutes on the baking pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.



I love my 2-inch cookie scoop! The perfect size for my Coconut Macaroons, Barbara Bush’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and these Breakfast Cookies! Click here to purchase one for yourself.



  1. 2-26-2013

    Can’t wait to make these. They look really good, and I’m not commenting in the ugliness, either!

  2. 2-28-2013

    These sound wonderful! We may make them on our beach week at Easter! Any idea how many calories per? THANKS! - d

    • 2-28-2013

      Hi D, I think these would be a great thing to keep on hand for a vacation week! Sorry I can’t remember how many cookies the batch made, so I can’t figure up the calories/cookie. Next time I make them, I’ll try to add that. In the meantime, I can tell you that the entire recipe is approximately 2445 calories. So if the batch makes 24 cookies, each one is about 100 calories. They are very dense…and satisfying. You don’t need many to feel full.

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