These sweet Italian hazelnut cookies are as sweet as kisses, filled with chocolate.
According to the legend, Baci di dama (or Lady’s Kisses) were created at the end of the nineteenth century, in Tortona, romantic town of Piedmont Region (Northern Italy), famous for its PGI hazelnuts, from the imagination of a cook who worked for the Savoy Royal family.
Writings tell us that, in November 1852, on a cold evening, King Vittorio Emanuele II, eager to enjoy a different kind of sweet, invited the cook to prepare a new recipe.
With the ingredients at his disposal (almonds, hazelnuts, butter, chocolate and sugar, the cook created some small, delicious and fragrant butter cookies, since always present on the tables of Royal Houses of Europe.
The name comes from the shape of the dessert that, combined with a layer of dark chocolate, recall the kiss of a lady.
The recipe is secret but by following a few small steps, you can enjoy these delicious desserts, waiting to taste true Baci di dama in one of your next trip to Italy.
My recipe, made with brown rice flour is gluten free but you can replace with whole wheat flour or other high quality unrefined flour.
- 150 g 5 oz toasted hazelnuts (or almonds), chopped.
- 100 g 3½ oz brown sugar
- 150 g 5 oz unsalted butter, softned
- 150 g 5 oz brown rice flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon organic “Bourbon” vanilla powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 80 g 3 oz dark chocolate
- Blend the hazelnuts (or almonds) in a food processor with the sugar.
- In a bowl, add the softened butter, cut into pieces, flour, chopped hazelnuts and mix.
- Add the vanilla powder, salt and knead until you have a compact dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and let stand in refrigerator for one hour.
- Once the dough has hardened, taken small portions (the size of a walnut) and roll into small balls. Arrange the balls on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Put the balls again in the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes.
- Bake and cook in the oven at 180°C (350°F/ gas 4) for about 10 minutes, or until the base of the cookie is not golden.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When the cookies are cooked, let cool.
- Using a spoon, place the melted chocolate (cooled down enough to make it thick) on the flat side of the cookie and cover with another cookie.
Veronica is a born and raised Italian. She inherited her love for travel, passion for cooking and natural, sustainable, healthy slow food from her parents. Her works have appeared in 'Vegetarian Living', 'Veggie Magazine', 'Lifestyle food', 'Australian Good Food & Travel Guide', 'Chickpea' and 'Free from Heaven', among others. She is the author of "Panini: the simple tastes of Italian style bread"; 'The Rustic Italian bakery", "The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen" and "A Modern Italian table", published by New Holland Publishers Australia.