PURELY SELFISH

BY CHEF LISA WHITE, DOMENICA: At Domenica, the one thing I am asked about most often is that "little chocolate cookie" that every guest gets after their meal; The Brutti Ma Buoni. Our in-house nick name is "Brutos".

Brutti Ma Buoni is an actual Italian cookie in which I drew my inspiration from. After putting my own spin on things, the housemade cookie has now become one of the most popular and demanded items at Domenica Restaurant. The only regret I truly have about the cookie is that I am not responsible for the fabulous name; the literal translation for "Bruto ma buoni" is "ugly but good". If you've ever had one of my cookies, you'll know how truly perfect that name is.

I often look to food's history and location for inspiration. What I found when researching the Bruto cookie was that it was originally created and named north of Milan. Most often the cookie is a rustic, super messy meringue and nut based cookie. It is said that when it was created in the late 1800s, that Queen Elena herself would visit the little shop in Milan with bodyguards in tow, and return home with the hundreds of cookies for her court.

One little hidden fact is that when I first began making the Brutos, it was for purely selfish reasons. Here I was, working in an Italian restaurant, where every cookie I developed for espresso service had nuts in it (which, sadly, I am seriously allergic to). So, I began the development of a cookie just for me! A cookie that I, and others with my same allergy, could eat and enjoy. Originally, I was only creating these mini-cookies for our espresso service. After dinner, cookies were not given out in the early days of Domenica. However, being that espresso tends to follow the meal, I began to receive a large demand for more and more Bruto's with espresso! Next thing I knew, everyone at the table was asking for them. After all, chocolate is truly a favorite for ending a delicious meal.

I never imagined that my small little desire for a tasty chocolate cookie would have lead my staff and I to make hundreds upon hundreds of those "little chocolate cookies" everyday.

For Chef Lisa's recipe, click here.

Chef Lisa White can be reached at lwhite@chefjohnbesh.com.