Originally from the region of Piedmont, these Italian hazelnut cookies are known in Italy as Baci di Dama and consist of two little hazelnut cookies sandwiches with chocolate. A truely delicious combination. Recipe adapted from Caffe` Italia by Liz Franklin.
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.
Important tips about the ingredients.
While the ingredients are quite simple, there are two ingredients that need to be the best quality you can afford.Firstly, be sure to 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. You’ll only need a small amount of chocolate, but it will make all the difference. Keep in mind that the cookies are sweet and need dark chocolate to balance the flavours.What to do if my cookie dough is too crumbly?
Just add a little chilled water starting with a teaspoonful.What is the best way to fill the cookies?
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.Can Baci di Dama cookies be frozen?
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.