Italian Almond Butter Cookies... Baci Di Dama(Ladies' Kisses). I've been wanting to make theses cookies for a few weeks now. I instantly bookmarked the recipe when I first saw it posted on Marija's blog. I simply love her recipes. I also knew I would eventually travel to Rome and so decided to wait a bit to make the cookies. Thought it best to try the cookies in Italy before I made them... While in Rome, I noticed some pastry shops also sold a chocolate version of the baci di dama cookies. So I'm thinking you can substitute some cocoa for the flour. I finally made the cookies, and they are very similar to the ones I had in Italy. If you love almonds, you might like these cookies.
The cookies are very tender and basically "melt" in your mouth. It's really a delicate butter cookie... with ground almonds. Interestingly enough, it is an easy recipe to remember, as the cookie ingredients( aside from the extracts) have a 1:1 ratio.... in the grams measurement, that is. Same amount of flour, ground almonds, sugar, and butter. And they are super-easy to make...
The cookies would be a fun project... actually if you have kids, they can get involved as well. It would also make a wonderful gift package... even great for Christmas parties or cookie exchanges.
Though probably not traditional, I would love to add some orange peel to the cookies as well as to the chocolate...it would make them especially Christmas-y. Love these cookies with coffee. Hope you enjoy...
Note: You probably won't need all of the ground almonds...as you start with 200 grams and only need 150 grams for the recipe. You will probably have about 2 TBS extra. Also, I put the cups amount as I measured ( Flour was measured by fluffing up the flour and then scooping it out...ground almonds were lightly packed( whisked and fluffed up and then "poured" in a measuring cup...or use a spoon to scoop the almonds in the measuring cup) ... This is only for those who don't have a scale.... but the scale is the BEST option.
~I am thinking you can probably get away with using some store-bought almond flour.
~While the original recipe contains no extracts, I felt the need to add a bit of vanilla as well as some almond extract. Feel free to omit... or use one or the other....or both, like I did:)
Tip: I've seen versions of these cookies where you can substitute the blanched almonds with roasted hazelnuts....
I didn't refrigerate the cookie dough...and hence the crackly tops. But it is best if you refrigerate the cookie dough before forming. And it wouldn't hurt to refrigerate the formed balls before baking.
You will need: adapted from Palachinka
150 grams(1 cup+2 TBS) all purpose flour
150 grams(1 1/2 cups) blanched and toasted ground almonds*
150 grams(scant 3/4 cup) granulated sugar**
150 grams(11 TBS) butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla, optional
1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract( or to taste), optional
40 grams( or as needed) dark chocolate, melted
*you will need about 200 grams(1 3/4 cups) raw slivered almonds(without skin)....
** the cookies can be a bit on the sweeter side, so use a bit less sugar, if you like.
Preheat oven to 325 Deg F.
1. Place slivered almonds on a baking sheet.. and toast them in a preheated oven until they begin to brown... about 5-7 minutes. But do watch them as they can burn quickly. You can mix them halfway to evenly toast. Allow to cool.
2. Place toasted slivered almonds in a blender or coffee grinder( I used my vita-mix).... process till you get a fine powder. Be careful so that it doesn't turn into almond butter. Do it in several batches, if need be.
3. Mix flour, finely ground almonds, and sugar. Set aside.
4. Place softened butter in a mixer bowl, beat till smooth. Add vanilla and/or almond extract, if you like.
5. Add flour mixture to butter and knead/mix until thoroughly combined. Original recipe doesn't say to refrigerate the dough, but I would next time I make them.
6. Shape small balls of dough...the size of marbles. I use a rounded 1/2 tsp measurement spoon.
7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place dough balls on it....leaving 1-2 inches of space between them. I would refrigerate the balls for a bit just to ensure the cookie tops don't crack or have the cookies flatten too much.
8. Bake in a preheated 325 deg F oven for about 13-15 minutes... or until lightly browned on the bottom. Depending how small or big the cookies are formed, the time will need to be adjusted.
9. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
10 Spread melted chocolate on the bottom of one cookie and attach second cookie to make a sandwich.