Don’t worry if these cookies are irregularly shaped and lumpy—the name means “ugly but good.” These may be made 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container with sheets of parchment or wax paper between layers of cookies. To blanch whole almonds, immerse nuts in boiling water for about 2 minutes, and drain. Rub the skins off, using a coarse kitchen towel. Be sure to cool the nuts completely before grinding them with the sugar and adding the chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate will melt. As an option, place a whole blanched almond on top of each cookie before baking.
- 2 cups blanched almonds plus extra for garnish, if using
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place almonds on baking sheet, and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring after 5 minutes of baking. Remove from oven, and let cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine toasted almonds and sugar in food processor fitted with metal blade, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Place mixture in large bowl.
Whisk egg whites with salt in separate bowl until stiff. Gently fold into almond mixture, adding vanilla and mini chips. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper, leaving at least 1 inch between mounds. Use reverse side of parchment paper for next batch, and new paper for successive batches.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, and set aside for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, remove cookies to wire rack to cool.