A Layer of Chocolate Ganache Sandwiches These Little Buttery Hazelnut Cookies.
These little Italian cookies have quickly become a favorite around here. They’re called Baci di Dama, which translates to Lady’s Kisses, and this is David Lebovitz’s recipe, which he was given by Terresa Murphy. The dough has 4 ingredients: hazelnuts, butter, rice flour, and sugar. You’ll also need some salt if you don’t use salted butter. David’s recipe calls for unsalted butter, but I used salted butter, as I most always do. He also says you could use all purpose flour instead of rice flour, but I think the rice flour adds a beautiful sandy texture to the cookie and highly recommend it.
Here is a link to his recipe, but I simplified the technique. In fact, I simplified it a great deal. He begins with having you roast and skin the hazelnuts. I don’t know about you, but I find this to be a tedious chore and I was able to find hazelnuts that were already toasted and skinned, so that was one step I eliminated.
He then instructs you to finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor, dump them into a bowl and work in the rest of the ingredients by hand. Well, I read in the comments how many people had problems with the dough not coming together properly, no matter how much they kneaded it. I saw no reason to do it by hand. I simply added the butter, rice flour, and sugar to the food processor and processed it until it was fully incorporated. There’s no need to worry about the dough becoming tough because there’s no gluten in it if you use rice flour.
He then advises you to roll it into logs, chill them, divide them into small pieces, and roll them into balls. I did none of this. I removed the blade from the food processor, got my hands in there and made sure it was properly mixed. He said each ball should weigh 5 grams. I found that a compacted teaspoon weighed 6 grams and that’s what I went with. I simply scooped teaspoons of the dough from the bowl of the food processor, rolled them into balls between my palms and placed them on parchment lined baking sheets.
I baked one sheet while preparing the next sheet and the timing worked out perfectly. He also says to bake them until the tops are lightly golden. Nope to this, too. The tops do not brown. At all. If you waited until they started turning golden, you’d have over baked cookies. 15 minutes was the perfect amount of baking time.
They need to cool completely before filling them. Now, about the filling. I changed it. The recipe calls for using only melted chocolate. Well, I didn’t relish the thought of biting into a hard layer of chocolate. These cookies are tender, so I made ganache for the filling, keeping it nice and thick, so it would firm up as it cooled. I fully realize this breaks with the classic version of this cookie. It’s simply my own take.
Rather than trying to spoon the small amount of chocolate onto these little cookies, I filled a silicon squirt bottle with the ganache and found it was the perfect tool for depositing the perfect sized amount of filling onto half the cookies.
As I mentioned earlier, these are really good cookies. I doubled the recipe and I’m very happy about that decision. Otherwise, these would have been gone in one day. Besides being so delicious, they’re also completely charming in appearance. These little cookies are perfect for holiday giving, too, as they also freeze beautifully.