Dolci & Desserts Italian Regional Recipes

Baci di Dama – Piedmontese Hazelnut Biscuits

Baci di Dama literally means “kisses of a lady”: the name refers to the fact that the two halves of this biscuit, glued together by a layer of dark chocolate, look like two lips ready to be kissed.

Baci di Dama have been invented more than a century ago in the city of Tortona, Piemonte, a region in the North West of Italy. They are traditionally made with hazelnut flour. Hazelnuts are one of the most important staples of Piemonte, in fact hazelnut trees have a IGP Statues, namely a Protected Geographical Indication status, which indicates the importance of the hazelnut and its products to the culture of the region.

Another popular variant for these biscuits is to use almond flour instead of hazelnut flour.


About: 20 biscuits | Preparation: 20 mins + 1 h in the fridge | Cooking: approx. 20 mins

  • Italian White 00 flour/Plain Flour/All purpose Flour: 240 g
  • Hazelnut flour or shelled peeled hazelnuts : 150 g
  • Sugar: 120 g
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature: 90 g
  • Dark chocolate: 50 g
  • Eggs: 1
  • A pinch of salt

Method

Tip: If you don’t have hazelnut flour, you can make it by using hazelnuts: you need about 150 grams of shelled peeled hazelnuts, 1 tablespoon of potato starch.
Toast the hazelnuts for half an hour at 100°C in a non preheated oven. Allow to cool. Put the hazelnuts and potato starch in the blender and start blending until the hazelnuts are pulverized, taking care not to blend everything quickly but intermittently with pauses so that the heat produced does not release the oil from the hazelnuts and consequently a cream instead of flour is developed.

Cut the butter into small cubes, mix it with sugar in a large bowl until you get a smooth cream. Add the egg, a pinch of sal, stir thoroughly.

Sift both flours and add them to the mixture in the bowl. Stir until the dough has an homogeneous texture.

Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead it for some minutes. Wrap it up in clingfilm and leave it to rest in the fridge 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Once the dough has rested, cut it into 3 or 4 smaller pieces and roll them in cylinders. Cut the cylinders in pieces about 1 cm thick and roll each small piece in a ball. Flatten the little balls on one side. Place the biscuits on an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 20 minutes.

When baked through, let them cool completely before filling them.

Break the chocolate in small pieces and melt it in a bain marie or by adding a bit of milk. Take one of the biscuits, spread the chocolate on the flat side and top it with the flat side of another biscuit; the method is similar to the one to make macarons.

Allow for the chocolate to cool down completely and for the two halves of the biscuits to stick together. Ready.

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