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Baci di dama, or lady’s kisses, resemble two pursed lips intent on giving a kiss. They are nice, delicious cookies made from ground hazelnuts sandwiched together with a thin layer of dark chocolate in between. This is truly a treat you’ll not be able to live without. Believe me!
This is the perfect recipe to bake for your sweetheart. Made of two parts which are held together by a tender chocolate hug, they are a symbol of love. These hazelnut cookies are perfectly paired with tea or coffee throughout the day. They are also surprisingly easy and fast to prepare.
Baci di dama come from the small town of Tortona, in my region of Piedmont. They used to be made only with hazelnuts, but now you might come across several versions of recipes with almonds or chocolate. They are delicious, crunchy cookies which, like kisses, are quite addictive. On a side note, I first prepared these for my husband after we had just met, so the results are guaranteed! So let’s make them.
How to make the perfect hazelnut cookies
- I prefer hazelnut flour over grinding whole nuts because the blades of the mixer may heat the hazelnuts too much and create an unpleasant sour taste. You can easily find it at Bob’s Red Mill online. If you don’t like hazelnuts, choose a different flour.
- Good quality AA butter: The cookies must be buttery, so choose top-quality butter, organic if possible;
- I prefer dark chocolate because it balances the sweet taste of hazelnut cookies. When the melted chocolate solidifies, it will hold the small cookies together;
- Do not bake these cookies too much; otherwise, they will get too hard. Make sure they don’t get brown, so watch the oven carefully;
- If you follow the instructions carefully, the baking time, and the quantity of ingredients, your cookies will turn into perfect semi-spheres where they won’t flatten or crack.
Here is my recipe for the hazelnut cookies, which I often give as a special gift. Since it is super easy, you will make an excellent impression. Have a try yourself and let me know about the results.
Italian Hazelnut cookie with dark chocolate (Lady’s kisses)
- 1 cup of hazelnut flour or other nut flour (120g)
- ½ cup of sugar (100g)
- ½ cup or 1 stick of butter (120g)
- 1¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup of dark chocolate
- With a stand mixer, mix the hazelnut flour, the all-purpose flour, the sugar, and the softened butter but be careful not to melt it. Mix until the dough is smooth and holds together nicely.
- Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it stand in the fridge for about one hour. When solid, it is easier to shape;
- Divide the dough into walnut-sized balls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Don’t make overly big cookies that won’t cook evenly in the oven. They will be raw and chewy inside but crispy outside. Good cookies are crunchy inside and outside.
- Take a cutting board and press it down on the cookie balls in order to flatten them. If you think it’s faster, take a drinking glass and flatten each cookie individually.
- Bake in a static oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 12-15 minutes. Take them out when they just start to turn golden. Let them cool while you prepare the chocolate filling;
- Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering hot water.
- When the chocolate is melted, you are ready to assemble the cookies. Put a dollop of chocolate on the flat surface of a cookie—you may use a teaspoon or a pastry bag—then place another cookie on top. Put the cookies on a wire rack and let them cool down before serving.
How to store hazelnut cookies
You can store the unfilled cookies in a fresh dry place or in an airtight container for up to a week. They may be frozen for up to a month. Wrapped in a nice paper, they are a thoughtful gift for a special friend or as a treat for your colleagues. Put them in a nice tin sealed with a ribbon—a lovely act of kindness.
The dough can be frozen. Divide it into small balls, place them on a tray, and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them into a plastic bag. Store them for up to 2 months.