Baci di Dama are the sweetest little cookies we’ve ever seen, and they taste just as good as they look! Hailing from Piedmont, a northern region of Italy, they consist of bite-sized, chocolate-filled hazelnut cookies, and their name translates directly to “lady’s kisses”. They’re the perfect treat year-round, but we start craving them pretty intensely once February rolls around…they’re just so cute!
While they may seem like a lot of work, we promise you they’re worth it. You get into a groove when you start forming the cookies, and the lighter-than-air result is to die for. Whether you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day recipe, or just want to add to your list of mastered desserts, these baci (kisses) will absolutely brighten your day!
Baci di Dama Cookies
Yield: 4-5 dozen
- 1 1/3 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 oz. semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped from a block of chocolate)
- Once you have skinned all the hazelnuts, place them in food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Pour nuts into a large bowl and sift in all-purpose flour. Mix together well.
- Mix in the cubed butter, sugar and salt and use your hands to blend together until rough dough forms.
- Continue to knead until dough becomes smooth.
Note: if dough still isn’t coming together, add 1 teaspoon cold water and knead to incorporate.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each out into a 3/4 inch-thick log. Take care to make them as smooth as possible.
- Place logs on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325º F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Take 1 roll out of the refrigerator and cut off 1-cm-sized pieces (weighing 5-8 grams, if you have a scale).
- Roll each piece into a ball the size of a small marble and try to make them as even as possible.
- Repeat with remaining dough and transfer cookie balls to baking sheets.
- Place in oven and bake for 10-13 minutes, or until cookies are a light golden color.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Set up a double-boiler with a heat proof glass set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water and add chopped chocolate.
- Melt chocolate until smooth, then place a pea-sized dollop of chocolate one the flat side of one cookie.
- Create a cookie sandwich by pressing the flat side of a second cookie into the chocolate.
- Repeat with remaining cookies and transfer to a wire rack to set and harden completely.
To toast hazelnuts:
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until deep brown.
- Remove from oven, transfer to and wrap in a clean kitchen towel.
- Once cooled slightly, rub towel vigorously to peel majority of skins off.
- Use your hands to take off remaining skins.
Recipe adapted from As Easy As Apple Pie