I have never been to Italy, but I have always been pretty certain that I would like it there. I have images of pretty towns nestled among lush green countryside, cobblestone streets, music and wine, pizza and gelato. Now I can add to that a table in the sun, a strong espresso and a little plate of freshly baked Baci di Dama. Baci di dama are new to my picture of Italy and I have Tessa Kiros to thank. She has just launched a new book Limoncello and Linen Water and a few of her recipes were recently shared. While all the recipes caught my attention, it was the Baci di Dama that I got around to first. Baci di Dama translates to ladies’ kisses and although I don’t know much about kissing ladies, these are just delightful. Even before sandwiched together with molten chocolate the biscuits are delicious. And once paired, the nutty, chocolately bites are irresistible. So without the need for a passport or the cost of an airfare, transport yourself to Italy with a good espresso and a batch of baci di dama.
Tessa Kiros’ Baci di Dama (as published in The Age)
- 180g blanched almonds
- 180g sugar
- 180g butter, at room temperature
- 200g plain flour
- 100g dark unsweetened chocolate
Toast nuts lightly in a dry frying pan, taking care not to burn them. Cool a bit, then grind with 1 tbsp of the sugar. Cream remaining sugar and butter using electric beaters. Add flour and then nuts, mixing by hand now to incorporate. Put in the fridge for a while so the dough is easier to work with.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Break off balls of dough the size of a cherry, about 10g each. Put them on the prepared trays, leaving a little space between each for spreading. Bake for about 20 minutes, until pale gold. Remove and cool.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove from heat and cool a little, but don’t let it set again. Using a teaspoon, dab some melted chocolate (not so much that it oozes out) on the bottom of a biscuit and grab a partner for it. Gently press the two together. Continue until all the couples are taken. Put them on a wire rack to set and stay together, and then you can move them to a pretty lined tray or a lovely tin.
Have you been to the cookbooks for company Facebook page yet?