The term, Baci di dama or lady’s kisses, comes from the cookie’s similarity to 2 lips bent on giving a kiss.
Italian hazelnut cookies (Baci di Dama): 2 sweet hazelnut cookies crammed along with a splotch of dark chocolate.
Tips that will help you make perfect Italian hazelnut cookies:
- 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 to chill 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.
For the cookies:
- 100 grams (2/3 cup) hazelnuts toasted and skinned
- 100 grams (3/4 cup+1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour sifted
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) unsalted butter – cut into small cubes and at room temperature
- 85 grams (1/3 cup+1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
For the filling:
- 50 grams (1.8 ounces) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- Toast the hazelnuts at 160 degrees C (320 degrees F) for 15 minutes, until they are a golden brown color.
- Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and rub them until the loose skins 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.
- Apply the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about one hour.
- Bake the Baci di dama for 15 minutes at 160 degrees C (320 degrees F ), until they are set to the touch and lightly golden.
- Let the cookies cool completely before filling.
To make the filling:
- In a little bowl set over a pan of hot water, melt the chocolate until smooth.
- Take off the heat and let it cool until it thickens. Put a blob 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.
Note: Baci di dama can also be made with almonds (instead of hazelnuts).