What if you could make an astonishing desserts in five minutes with just three ingredients? Too good to be true? No, not at all. This is an astonishingly good cookie.

I tested it last night on two good friends.

“What do you taste?” I asked.

“Coconut? Peanut butter? Cinnamon? …” The questions kept coming and I started to laugh.

This is the prototype Italian recipe. Simple. Swiftly created. A few ingredients, but carefully honed.

There is no coconut or peanut butter or any spices here. You simply take nuts and some sugar, put them in the food processor and blend away. Take that nutty sand, add an egg, shape, cut and bake.

It’s incredibly easy. The recipe calls for walnuts, which Suzen is not the fondest of. So, I used pecans, which do have a more complex flavor. Apparently, to some people, pecans have overtones of coconut, peanut butter, various spices, …

The cookies are to bake base side up, not cut side down. I, uh, neglected to read that so my cookies are flatter here and wider than you’ll achieve if you wisely follow the instructions. And these cookies to spread, so used full cookie sheet or divide the batter between two half sheets.

Author Rosetta Costantino found this cookie in the town of Maratea, the only town of Basilicata on the Tyrrhenian Sea [Southern Italy, west side, just above the boot]. It’s a coastal town of beauty and culinary distinction. In the bakeries there, this cookie comes two ways: bare bones and with a thick layer of pure sugar frosting just roughly draped over the cookie as you see here. Rosetta loves the pure flavor of nuts alone. My test guinea pigs last night split: one liked bare and one loved frosted. I prefer frosted with the contrast of the cold clean frosting versus the nutty intensity of the cookie itself. Your choice.

Oh, some final notes. If you are someone you know has celiac disease, this no-flour delicacy is perfect for you. For celiac kids, its a great introduction to the kitchen. They can get their hands dirty as they make the cookies, lick their fingers and in a few minutes smile as they bite away.

If someone has a nut issue, then this dish is not for you.


Dolci di Noci

Yield: makes ~30 small cookies


  • 2 ½ cups walnut halves or large pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190″C) with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine the walnuts and sugar in a food processor and process to make a fine meal the texture of sand. Transfer to a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the egg. Use a fork to briefly whisk the egg, then begin incorporating the nuts until everything is thoroughly combined, finishing the mixing with your hands. The dough will be quite moist and a little sticky.

Divide the dough into quarters. On a flat surface, shape one piece of the dough into a 6-inch log, flattening the sides to make a bar about 1inch wide by 1 inch high. Cut the bar into 3/4 inch segments to make eight pieces. Space the cookies evenly on the prepared baking sheet, standing on their base (not on a cut side) with 1 inch of space all around for spreading. Repeat with the remaining bars to make thirty­ two cookies.

Bake the cookies on the upper oven rack until they are golden all over, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/60th second at ISO‑1250