Aren’t they cute? Little hazelnut cookies originating from the Piedmont region of Italy called baci di dama (lady kisses). They can also be made with almonds if you don’t have hazelnuts to hand. There are many recipes, including some using rice flour, but I tried the rice flour with only modest praise. Half my tasters adored them; the other half didn’t like the dry crumbly texture of the rice flour cookies. Best to go with the plain flour for a more cookie-like texture, but it’s only a preference thing.
I made these staying warm and cozy inside on a bitingly cold winter’s day while listening to Darondo. All I needed was some chilled prosecco and a fireplace…
1 1/4 cups roasted, unsalted hazelnuts (or almonds)
1 cup flour (or rice flour)
100g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
couple drops of vanilla extract or almond extract
1/3-1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1) Ground the roasted nuts in a food processor, then add to a large bowl with the other dry ingredients
2) Add in the softened butter and the extract and mix by hand to incorporate the butter (or use a kitchen aid)
3) Dump the cookie dough onto a clean counter and knead it a little to get it to come together. It will be crumbly but keep with it.
4) When it is sticking together, you can shape into little cookie balls the size of large marbles. Either tear off little pieces of cookie dough and roll in your hand, or roll the dough into three thin logs and cut the dough into same-size pieces, then roll by hand. This way the little baci will be the same size.
5) Heat the oven to 325F and cook for about 10 minutes on baking parchment.
6) Let cool.
7) Melt the chocolate in the microwave and then use a knife or small teaspoon to dab melted chocolate on the baci. Press together and leave to cool — or eat straight away with the chocolate still dripping!
Here’s a minute-long video of Paola making baci di dama with white and dark chocolate.