Italians are famous for delicious cookies and baci di dama are among the most iconic ones. These elegant cookies from Piedmont in Italy's north are just what you'd expect from cookies - sweet and delicate.
You will find them in Italy often packaged in beautiful tins and boxes for giving as gifts around Christmas. Baci di dama literally means "lady's kisses" as they look like two lips holding together a chocolate kiss.
Baci di dama cookies are one of our favourite cookies as they are so irresistible, just one leaves you wanting more and no wonder that they are among the most popular cookies in Italy.
They are incredibly easy to make at home, with a simple eggless dough made with finely ground nuts and rich dark chocolate which stick together two small cookie domes.
Just follow our step-by-step recipe and have fun while making baci di dama cookies. This recipe uses a combination of hazelnuts and almonds, both toasted to intensify the flavour, which pairs well with rich dark chocolate.
Making baci di dama start with toasting hazelnuts and almond in the oven. First toast hazelnuts in the oven until golden brown. Take them from the oven, rub in a kitchen towel so the skin comes off.
You don't need to be perfect, but the skins will add a bit of flecked colour to the cookies, which is lovely. Toast the almond also in the oven until lightly brown and fragrant. Leave both nuts to cool then grind them finely in a food processor or using a nut grinder.
Use almonds, hazelnuts or a combination of these two depending on your taste.
MAKING THE DOUGH: Place the nuts in a medium bowl and combine with flour and sugar. Add cubed butter and rub into the dry ingredients until you get a crumbs. Form a compact dough then wrap it in cling film and leave in the fridge for about 1 hour. If the dough is too crumbly add ice-cold water (start with 1 teaspoon).
FORMING & BAKING COOKIES: Take the dough and cut off small pieces and roll them into balls between the palms of your hands. Place the balls on prepared baking tray, leaving some space between them as they will spread during baking.
Bake the cookies for about 13 - 15 minutes. The cookies will be very lightly baked and extremely fragile at this point so let them cool completely before touching them. Once cooled, they harden enough to handle.
Bake the cookies at low temperature and be sure not to overbake them (the bottom should be light brown). Don't touch the cookies until they are completely cool as they are very fragile.
MAKING CHOCOLATE GANACHE: Break the chocolate and place together with butter in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until completely smooth and melted. Leave to cool for a few minutes. To speed up the hardening of the chocolate, place the cookies in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
For the chocolate ganache, use a quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa for an intense chocolate flavour.
Store baci di dama cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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