Every Friday fortnight I make baked treats for the office where my other half works. I’ve made all kinds of things from lemon & blueberry rolls, to praline filled choux pastry puffs, cheese & onion soda bread, peach scones and chocolate orange tarts. I often add a bottle of homemade fruit juice or cordial too. They are lucky folk. But it’s also been a good way to play with styling & test out recipes without keeping all the goodies at home where they’ll be devoured in a short time adding extra calories that I don’t exactly need.
So one time, I made these little ‘kisses’ of wonderfulness. That’s what Italian biscuits are. Nutty. Crumbly. Delicate. Tasty bites. They’re also gluten-free, but not dairy-free. Basically, if you like nutella, I think you’ll like Baci di dama biscuits.
Baci Di Dama (Lady’s kisses)
Adapted from this recipe by the excellent David Lebovitz
- On a baking sheet, toast the hazelnuts for about 12 minutes at 350ºF/180ºC until the skins are browning & starting to flake off.
- Leave to cool until they’re easy to handle and not going to burn your fingers.
- Using a teatowel or simply the palms of your hands, rub off the skins as much as possible. A few small flecks that remain on the hazelnuts wont do any harm, they are just a little bitter in taste.
- Leave the nuts to cool completely if not already.
- Then, using a blender or processor, pulse the hazelnuts until fine. Place in a large mixing bowl & set aside.
140g rice flour
A pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
- Add the rice flour, sugar and salt to the ground roasted hazelnuts and mix well.
- Then add the butter & using your hands, mix well until a smooth dough starts to form.
- Split the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll them out into ‘logs’ about 2cm in width. They can crumble a bit, but try to make them as smooth as possible.
- Wrap the ‘logs’ in cling film & then chill on a flat surface in the fridge for a couple of hours (or the freezer for 30minutes).
- Line two baking sheets with parchement paper and set the oven to 325ºF / 160ºC.
- Remove one dough ‘log’ from the fridge and cut it into 5 gram pieces. It may crumble a bit, but don’t worry. Just roll the pieces into little balls and place them onto the prepared baking sheets, slightly spaced apart. (They don’t spread very much in the oven so an inch apart should be fine.)
- Repeat with the remaining dough ‘logs’ from the fridge.
- Bake the cookie balls for about 12 minutes, making sure to rotate the sheets halfway through cooking to evenly bake them.
- When the tops are lightly brown, take them out of the oven & leave to cool completely.
- Put a small dollop of filling on the flat side of one cookie & then sandwich them together. Leave to cool on a rack.
Option 1: Use Nutella
Option 2: Melt about 50g of dark chocolate
Option 3: Make a ganache*. Warm 35ml of cream in a pan, then remove from the heat and add 50g of dark chocolate pieces. Leave for 2 minutes without stirring, then whip together till smooth. Then if you want, add a teaspoon or so of ground roasted hazelnuts like I did. Just for the craic**.
*But please don’t mess it up like I did – not that it mattered too much, but it would’ve looked better if I wasn’t in a rush to get them done in time! One day when I make nicer ones I’ll post the photos.
** Craic. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Irish slang. It means fun/enjoyment. Nothing drug related. Unless happiness & fun is a drug…