Cute, little Italian cookies, made with almond meal and filled with chocolate.
We recently celebrated our very 1st wedding anniversary. Leading up to it, I remembered the long list of dishes and treats we tried on our honeymoon last year, that I’d planned to recreate when we got home. Baci Di Dama was one such treat.
And then the world turned white
I love Italy and Venice is just beautiful. We did an amazing day trip to the Dolomite Mountains, North of Venice and it’s such a gorgeous part of the world. It snowed. I’d never seen snow (at least not that I remember, I was 3 years old the last time), so this little kid in me was excited and happy and mesmerized by the magical looking little snowflakes floating all around me. Wow! So soft and wispy and boy, did it get super cold, super quick. Many layers were added. Brrrrrrr!
Then I was torn because I really wanted new hubby to see the stunning green and lush Dolomites that I had seen a few years before. He loved the trip anyway and so did I. You can’t beat the Dolomites when they are green and you can see all the way down into the valleys but in the snow, they are other-worldly. The snow cast a greyness over everything but I’m so, so lucky to have seen it both ways now.
We stopped at a little alpine town for a much-needed hot chocolate, which in itself was like nothing I’d ever tasted before. Thick and syrupy chocolate. I remember they’d asked me if I wanted cream but thinking of the hot chocolate I’m used to back home (the powdered type), I just thought cream would be too heavy. Oh, if only I’d had the cream. We couldn’t finish the hot chocolates but we did try some little Italian cookies that our tour guide recommended.
Baci Di Dama – which translates to ladies kisses are so cute. They’re pretty little rounded cookies, a little cracked on top, and made normally with hazelnuts, then filled with pure chocolate. They are firm and crumbly, not soft at all. I would describe them almost like a nutty shortbread because they’re super buttery but still light and just devine. It was the very first Italian treat I added to my list.
With thanks to Tessa Kiros
I had no idea where to start with Baci di Dama. I wanted them to be authentic but had no idea what was in them. The tour guide wasn’t very helpful. Not a cook, clearly. And the assistant by the counter had a hard enough time understanding when I asked what they were called. I wasn’t leaving until I got the name though. I ended up tracking down this recipe by Tessa Kiros. I have one of her books, ‘Venezia: Food and Dreams’ which I love and she describes Venice in such a beautiful way. This recipe isn’t in that book but rather another called ‘Limoncello and Linen Water’. I don’t know if using almonds is very authentic, but having read the book, I know she certainly understands Italian cooking so I trust that this is close to the mark.
Whatever the case, they are delicious, they taste just like the ones we had in Venice and how much simpler can you get than filling cookies with nothing more than good chocolate? Italians have a way of making simple taste so good.
Thanks for joining my little trip down memory lane. Now, go forth and bake some Italian cookies?
Recipe adapted from Cookbooks for Company http://cookbooksforcompany.com/baci-di-dama/
- 180 g sugar
- 180 g unsalted butter , room temp
- 180 g almond meal
- 200 g plain flour
- 100 g dark (70%) chocolate
Preheat oven to 170C / 340F (160C fan forced). Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Beat together the butter and sugar and light and creamy. Add almond meal and flour and mix together by hand until all combined. Roll little balls (about 10g each or 2 teaspoons) and place on a plate in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will stop them from spreading too quickly once they go in the oven. Transfer the balls to baking trays, 2 inches apart and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes until starting to turn golden.
Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Place in the fridge (see notes).
Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, in 30 second increments until JUST melted. Allow to cool a little. Drop a little chocolate onto the flat side of half of the cookies, then place them back in the fridge for a couple of minutes to set (see notes). Add a little more chocolate to each one and sandwich together with another cookie.
- Placing the cookies in the fridge makes the chocolate set a little quicker and so the melted chocolate doesn’t just drip right off the edge. After topping with chocolate the first time, the fridge again will help this set so you can add a little more chocolate to each then stick them together.
- Feel free to replace the almond meal in this recipe with hazelnut meal (which I believe is more traditional). Also, feel free to make your own fro scratch.