Baci di Dama (Italian Hazelnut Cookies)
Baci di Dama consist of two buttery hazelnut cookies sandwiched together with a dollop of dark chocolate. They are very delicate and have a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is quite addictive.
Baci di dama are cookies typical of Piedmont, the region I come from in the northwest of Italy, known for its sought-after DOP hazelnuts. Piedmont is also rich in other delicacies such as chocolate, the precious white truffles, and wines (Barolo, Barbera, Moscato D’Asti, Asti Spumante, etc).
The name, baci di dama or lady’s kisses, originates from the cookie’s resemblance to two lips intent on giving a kiss.
Tips that will help you make perfect baci di dama:
– If the dough is too crumbly and doesn’t hold together, add ice-cold water (start by adding 1 teaspoon).
– It’s very important to chill the dough for one hour (or even better overnight) AND the cookies for another hour before baking. These steps help them keep their shape while baking.
– If the cookies melt in the oven is usually because your ingredients were not thoroughly combined and there is too much butter in that ball of dough. Knead the dough until the butter is evenly dispersed.
– You can use almonds, hazelnuts or a mix of both. I personally prefer to use hazelnuts.
Baci di dama are the perfect cookies to serve to your guests after dinner with a cup of coffee or espresso! Enjoy!
How To Make It: Baci di Dama (Italian Hazelnut Cookies)
For the cookies:
- ⅔ cup (100 g) hazelnuts toasted and skinned
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon (100 g) all-purpose flour sifted
- 3.5 oz. (100 g) unsalted butter cut into small cubes and at room temperature
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (85 g) granulated sugar
For the filling:
- 1.8 oz. (50g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chopped
Toast the hazelnuts:
- Toast the hazelnuts at 320 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 15 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.
- Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and rub them in a kitchen towel until the loose skins come off (don’t worry about skins that don’t come off).
- Once completely cool, pulse the nuts in a food processor until they resemble sand.
- Transfer the hazelnuts to a bowl, add the flour, butter, and sugar.
- Mix all the ingredients together until the butter is evenly dispersed, and the dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log. Chill the logs on a baking sheet for 1 hour.
- Cut off equal-sized pieces (more or less weighing 8 grams each) and roll them into tiny balls between the palms of your hands. Work with one log of dough at a time, leaving the others in the fridge, so they stay cold.
- Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, slightly spaced apart. Put the baking sheet in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Bake the baci di dama for 15 minutes at 320 degrees F (160 degrees C), until they are set to the touch and lightly golden.
- Let the cookies cool completely before filling.
- In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth. Let it cool for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.
- Put a dollop of chocolate on one cookie and place another one on top.
- Once filled, put the baci di dama on a cooling wire rack until the chocolate is firm.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.