BACI DI DAMA
I love these cookies and I hate them. They are teeny tiny. That means that making them and filling them is extremely time consuming. On the other hand, they are absolutely delightful. If you’re in the mood for doing some repetitive work that yields great results, go for it. If not, I think you could roll the dough out to 1/4”, cut them, bake them and drizzled them with chocolate. The texture of the cookie is akin to a delicate, crisp shortbread.
The name in Italian means “lady’s kiss” because some think that when you look at them sideways they look like pursed lips. Well, I guess if you squint………. The traditional ratio of ingredients is one part flour to one part ground almonds or hazelnuts to one part butter to one part sugar. There is a pinch of salt but no egg and no other flavorings. The cookies are sandwiched together with chocolate and it’s a simple but lovely pairing of nuts and chocolate with nothing else to distract you. I’ve seen recipes add coffee or vanilla to the dough. I think a little lemon rind might be nice. I love chocolate and lemon and lemon goes well with almonds and hazelnuts.
I have reduced the sugar and the butter in my recipe as I find the traditional recipe too sweet and with a little less butter it keeps its shape better. I honestly would not add back any sugar. If you want to add back the butter to 140 grams I would chill them before attempting to shape them. I would also bake the frozen cookies on frozen cookie sheets lined with a silicone mat or they’ll spread into flat discs. Thanks to Domenica Marchetti (domenicacooks.com) and Steve Dunn (Cooks Illustrated 10/1/2019) for guiding the way to my version of the recipe.
I’m only giving metric measurements for the flour, hazelnuts and butter because that is the most accurate measurement. For example, 115 grams is a bit more than 1/2 cup and 140 grams of flour is perhaps 1 cup and 2 tablespoons depending on whether or not you scoop and level or fluff up the flour and spoon it into the cup. Do you understand where I’m going with this? While weighing your ingredients in grams is better for all recipes, for this particular one it’s really critical in order to get the right shape.
- 140 grams roasted, peeled hazelnuts (You can also use roasted hazelnut flour but I prefer the texture of the slightly rougher grind when you do it yourself).
- 140 grams bleached Gold Medal AP flour (You can use unbleached but the texture won’t be as delicate)
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) superfine sugar (yes, superfine gives you a more delicate texture than regular sugar)
- 115 grams (I used President. Please use a European cultured butter. It is more flavorful and has a lower water content than most American butters).
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) bittersweet (65 to 70%) chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Lindt 70%)