One can never get enough of kisses especially here in Piedmont where baci di dama or lady's kisses were invented 😙
Lady's Kisses are basically two sand-like cookies sandwiching high quality dark chocolate.
Baci were invented in Tortona, a town in the Alessandria area that is also famous for Montebore cheese and Timorasso wine. When you visit Tortona on your way to the riviera you will see how many local pastry shops are still making baci according to the original 19th century recipe when these cookies were invented.
Originally the recipe called for the local "round and gentle hazelnuts" produced in the many hazelnut groves of Piedmont as they were cheaper and easier to find, but in 1810 the recipe was modified and our lovely local hazelnuts got replaced by almonds.
These baci made with almond meal were called "golden kisses" or baci dorati and they won the gold medal in 1906 at the Milan Fair.
According to the legend though, baci were invented by King Emmanuel III's royal chef in 1852 to answer his cravings for a new sweet. The chef mixed all the basic ingredients he had in his kitchen and came up with baci. The king loved them so much and from his court in Turin they quickly spread all over Europe.
Nowadays you can find many variants of baci all around the boot and many recipes online but today, we are sharing with you our own recipe 😎
Baci di Dama
- 100 gr /1 cup hazelnut meal or chopped hazelnuts, a mix of both, or any nuts really
- 140 gr/ 1 generous cup white flour or feel free to experiment with other flours
- 50 gr/ 1/4 cup granulated sugar or other natural sugar
- 140 gr/ 2/3 cup butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- melted chocolate of choice or nutella
- (optional high quality cocoa powder)
Oven 180C/ 350F
First of all, get the butter out of the fridge and cut it into cubes to allow them to get to room temperature. If you have whole nuts, grind them in your mixer or save half for chopping to add texture of the cookies.
The original cookies are sandy so these cookies are not supposed to be crunchy but we like to vary every once in a while.
By hand, add the softened butter and mix till getting a uniform ball.
Roll it slightly down, wrap it in saran wrap and let it rest in the fridge for about 1h.
Turn the oven on: 180C/350F
Get your cooled cookie dough out, line the cookie sheet and hand roll tiny balls of cookie dough. They should be the size of a peach pit.
Bake for 20/30minutes circa depending on your oven. When the baci are ready they are golden.
Once they are cool you can join them with some melted chocolate or nutella or you can enjoy them single too 😋
If you have a good quality cocoa powder at hand, add 2 tablespoons to the cookie dough to make them chocolaty.
Or you can make two batches to get bicolor "friendship kisses" 😘
For an extra touch: sprinkle baci with powered sugar or vanilla sugar.
Naturally, baci are an amazing snack, you can enjoy them with tea, milk, coffee, hot chocolate, gelato, wine, virtually anything you like!
This easy recipe is perfect to keep the house kids busy for a while and it is also very heart-warming if you need a natural remedy 😜
Baci will finish very quickly but in case you bake for an army, keep them in a tin for about 4-5 days.
If you make them, please, take a picture and post it online mentioning @turinepi on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.
This and other traditional recipes are offered in our vidaroyal cooking classes in Turin.