These Baci di Dama cookies are melt-in-your mouth and so buttery.
Sandwiched with dark chocolate, these cookies are the ideal accompaniment for your cup of coffee or tea.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Originally from the region of Piedmont, these Italian hazelnut cookies are known as Baci di Dama which translates to “Lady’s Kisses”. The name alone is enough to entice you!!
The combination of hazelnuts and chocolate is renowned in Piedmont because of the export of the famous chocolate spread, Nutella. You know how much you love that classic combination and this Italian hazelnut cookie is no exception – you are going to love it too!
Because the ingredients for Baci di Dama are quite basic it is important you use the best quality. You will need plain all purpose flour and a pinch of fine salt and choose the following carefully.
- butter – use unsalted
- sugar – superfine or castor sugar is best
- ground hazelnuts – buy just before baking or grind your own (see below)
- dark eating chocolate – not baking, compound or chocolate chips
- substitute half of the ground hazelnuts for ground almonds
- use dark chocolate chips or compound chocolate – in which case there is no need to temper
- fill with Nutella spread instead of dark chocolate
Traditionally this recipe for Italian hazelnut cookies is made by using equal weight quantities of butter, sugar, ground hazelnuts and flour. I have included cup measurements just to make it a little easier. Basically, this is a nutty shortbread cookie and very simple to make.
- Beat together butter and sugar.
- Mix in ground hazelnuts, flour and salt.
- Wrap dough in plastic and chill until firm.
- Roll small balls of dough and bake.
- When cool sandwich with dark chocolate.
How to temper chocolate easily
When you buy eating chocolate in the supermarket it has already been tempered and is shiny and has a good snap. Once melted the chocolate is no longer tempered. However if you would like the chocolate to set better, this is a simple tempering technique.
If you use baking or compound chocolate, you won’t have to do this.
- Melt ⅔ of the chopped chocolate either in a double boiler or a microwave.
- Don’t make it too hot – just melt it gently.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ⅓ of the chopped chocolate.
- You may need to put it back on the heat just to finish melting it but only use a very low temperature.
Now your chocolate is tempered and should set well. This is a really basic method that I learnt at a chocolate class and it works well.
Tips for success and FAQ’s
The success of these simple Baci di Dama cookies depends a lot on the choice of ingredients.
Firstly, buy fresh ground hazelnuts (also known as hazelnut meal). Failing that, purchase whole hazelnuts, roast for 10-15 minutes, rub the skins off and grind to a fine meal with a spoonful of sugar.
The second ingredient is the chocolate. Purchase good dark chocolate that is around 70% cocoa.
Finally, don’t skip chilling the dough. This is important for the cookies to keep it’s shape during baking.
Just add a little chilled water starting with a teaspoonful.
Filling with melted chocolate can get messy and tricky. So once sandwiched with chocolate, stand the cookies on a gridded cooling rack. The grids on the cooling rack will keep the cookies from toppling over. Allow the chocolate to set before storing in an airtight container.
Absolutely! Freeze in an airtight, sealed container for 1 month. To defrost, remove the container from the freezer and allow defrost in the refrigerator overnight or until defrosted. This is the best way to avoid condensation on the cookies which will make them soft.
I’m sure that these Baci di Dama cookies will become a firm favourite with your family as they are with mine. This is one Italian cookie that you won’t easily forget!
More recipe you’ll love
Savoiardi – also known as ladyfingers and used for tiramisu
Crostoli – fried crunchy pastries
Pipparelli – similar to biscotti flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and black pepper
Almond Biscotti – tried and tested recipe
Pignoli Cookies – almond paste cookies
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This updated recipe was first published here on Marcellina in Cucina on 5 October 2010.
Baci di Dama Recipe
- 7 oz (1¾ sticks/200 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup (200 grams) superfine (castor) sugar
- 1¾ cups (200 grams) ground hazelnuts
- 1 ½ cups (200 grams)flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 3 oz (85 grams) semisweet (dark) chocolate broken
- Preheat the oven to 320°F/160ºC. Line two large baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.
- With the mixer on low speed incorporate the ground hazelnuts and flour and salt. Be sure that the mixture is well combined by scraping the bowl with a spatula getting right to the bottom. Mix again if necessary.
- Using a spatula scrap the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, press into a flattened ball. Wrap well with plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or even overnight.
- Divide the disc into four equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9inch/22cm log. Cut the log into 25 even slices. Roll each into balls. Each ball will be approximately the size of a hazelnut in the shell.
- Arrange on prepared baking trays, leaving a little room between each.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until pale golden.
- Remove from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
- Roughly divide chopped chocolate ⅔ and ⅓
- Melt ⅔ of the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water ( or microwave on low power stirring occasionally until melted).
- Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ⅓ until melted. This will easily temper the chocolate so that it sets well.
- When the biscuits are cool, use the chocolate to sandwich them together.