I discovered Baci Di Dama while on honeymoon with my hubby years ago and immediately fell in love with these melt-in-the-mouth Italian cookies. I just had to share this recipe with everyone.
If you love shortbread style cookies, you’ll love these Chocolate Chip Shortbread and these Vanilla Shortbread Cookies with Passionfruit Icing.
Italy is such a beautiful country with so much history and tradition. I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice and each time I’ve fallen in love with it’s magic even more.
On our honeymoon, we took a trip up the Dolomites. It was my first experience in snow and as we watched the world turn white, we stopped for hot chocolate and discovered these gorgeous Italian cookies.
Our guide went on to tell us Baci Di Dami translates to ladies kisses.
They’re pretty, little rounded cookies, a little cracked on top, and made normally with hazelnuts (in this case, almonds) in addition to flour. Like shortbread in texture, two cookies are sandwiched together with pure chocolate giving the impression of lips.
And they’re incredibly delicious. Imagine a buttery, almondy flavour, chocolate in the middle and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. These are the Italian cookies of your dreams.
5 ingredients are all you need – these are so simple.
What makes these special?
- Almond meal / almond flour / ground almonds: You can grind almonds from scratch, in a food processor or buy it already in meal / flour form. If you choose to make it yourself, don’t process for too long or the oils that release from the nuts will turn it into a paste instead of flour.
- Butter: Use a good quality butter since it’s flavour is very obvious in these cookies.
- Sugar: Caster or superfine sugar is preferred for these to get that super melty texture.
- Chocolate: Use your favourite. I like a combination of milk chocolate and dark (50%) chocolate. Again, use something good quality. You don’t need a lot but since it’s just chocolate in the centre you’ll taste it. Use a block that you’d enjoy eating.
How to make baci di dama
- Cream together butter and sugar until it’s light and creamy then add the combined dry ingredients (photo 1).
- Mix together until it’s forming large clumps (photo 2).
- Roll into little balls, then chill in the freezer. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on baking trays (photo 3).
- Bake until golden then allow to cool completely.
- Top the flat side of half the cookies with chocolate (photo 4)then sandwich together.
With thanks to Tessa Kiros
Given that the tour guide wasn’t very helpful with regards to ingredients (not a cook, he said), and the assistant at the counter could barely understand English, I had no idea where to start with Baci di Dama.
I wanted them to be authentic but with no idea what was in them, I turned to Tessa Kiros and her book ‘Limoncello and Linen Water’. I have her book ‘Venezia: Food and Dreams’ too and it’s a beautiful book if you ever have the chance to grab a copy.
I’ve adapted my recipe from hers and the minute I took a bite, it took me straight back to Venice again. They’re perfect – just what I tasted in that sweet Alpine town.
Tips and tricks
- Weigh the flour (or as a last resort spoon and level into your cup measures). Baking is a science and weighing ingredients will always give you the best result.
- Don’t skip chilling in the freezer. This stops them from spreading too much allowing you to get that gorgeous domed shape.
- The perfect size of the balls of dough is roughly two teaspoons, which equates to around 12g. I weigh each ball so that I know they’ll be the same size. It’s not entirely necessary but it does mean they’ll all cook evenly and you won’t need to try to find matching cookie sizes to sandwich.
Hope you love these baci di dama as much as we do. If you try it, make sure to leave a rating and comment below.
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Baci Di Dama
- 200 g caster (superfine) sugar (1 cup / 7oz)
- 200 g unsalted butter, room temp (7oz)
- 200 g almond meal (2 cups – spoon & level)
- 230 g plain (all purpose) flour (1 ¾ cups – spoon & level / 8oz)
- 100 g good quality chocolate (I use a combination of dark 50% and milk chocolate) (½ cup, chopped)
- Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 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 with a spatula or by hand until all combined.
- Roll little balls (about 12g each or 2 teaspoons) and place on a tray 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 turning 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 it 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.
- For best results, always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. If you don’t have kitchen scales (they’re super cheap) make sure to spoon the flour into a measure then level with the back of a knife.
- All ovens vary – start checking for doneness 2-3 minutes before the recipe suggests.
- 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 from scratch.
Recipe adapted from Cookbooks for Company http://cookbooksforcompany.com/baci-di-dama/
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