~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Italian Almond Butter Cookies... Baci Di Dama(Ladies' Kisses)

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.


Speranta said...

Ellie,numai bunatati gasesc la tine pe blog!Apreciez mult de retetetele pe care le postezi...

Iti doresc o zi plina de bucurii!

Bunny said...

These look wonderful, thanks for posting!

Bunny said...

The cookies look wonderful and would look so good on a cookie tray!

Ellie said...

Speranta, Multumesc mult...si eu apreciez ca ma vizitezi:)
O zi placuta iti doresc!

Bunny, Thank you!...and so kind of you to stop by. I absolutely love sandwich cookies...and these were real simple to make.
I love that they are small nuggets of cookies... they look rather cute on a plate:).

Mihaela said...

Ellie, I really like these cookies. When I saw the post title, I thought you used almond butter, which can be little expensive, but I like better the toasted and ground almonds, I probably make these next week :) Thanks for sharing!

Ellie said...

Mihaela, Yes, I too had a hard time with naming the cookies:)... maybe I should have called them butter cookies, but I wanted the tittle to include the almond part of the cookies...maybe I should call them butter-almond cookies:).
In any case, I hope you like them. I would love to try the hazelnut version, as well as a chocolate version...I've even seen a cappuccino version(online) that had a white chocolate filling. I think the cookies are easy to adjust. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Sherry said...

Ellie, these cookies were yummy, but I have a few comments for others that might like to make them. Instead of toasting the almonds in the oven, I toasted them on the stovetop using a nonstick skillet and lots of stirring because they don't always brown evenly. I do not have a scale so I used the cup measures. Unfortunately, my dough ended up like sand so I decided to add a couple TBS of milk to get it to the right consistency (Any thoughts?). After tasting them, I wish I had decreased the sugar to about 1/2 Cup instead of the scant 3/4, but that's just my preference. Finally, I baked at 325, but after 20 min they weren't golden at all (maybe it's because I used a 1 tsp measure instead of 1/2 tsp measure to make the balls). Anyway, I bumped up the temp to 350 and the next cookie sheet baked in 12-15 min. (Yes, I know ovens are different and not always accurate, but I do keep an oven thermometer in my oven at all times.) They were a hit with the family. They were almost wiped out within a few hours of making them.

Ellie said...

Sherry, I SO appreciate your feedback on the cookies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how the cookies fared for you... and for mentioning the changes you made so they would work better for you, and in turn help others.
Now, I agree I had the same thought on the sweetness of the cookies... even though I mentioned a SCANT 3/4 cup in my directions, I felt I could have probably used 1/2 cup myself as well.... though 1/2 cup is only 100 grams, I felt I wanted to stay true to the original recipe. But I'll make sure to note that in the recipe...
As for the dough being sand-like, I'm thinking that my measurement in cups of ground almonds was LIGHTLY packed... I basically just slowly "poured" the ground almonds into the measuring cup, didn't do the scooping in, which can compact the almond meal.
Another point that is worth mentioning, is that I think the way the almonds are ground can affect the sandiness as well....the more finely ground, the more "flour-ish" it is in consistency, then the easier it is to mix in. The more coarse they are ground the more sandy the mixture can be. The vita-mix can really get the almonds ground up rather fine....I know the food processor doesn't achieve as fine of a texture.
But even though the scale is the BEST option, I think you troubleshooted the problem excellently:)!

And yes, I think the baking time is adjusted according to how big or small the cookie balls are... The original recipe has the cookies baked at 320 deg F. for 20-25 minutes.... I upped the temp. for mine( by 5 degrees) and they were done in 13-15 minutes( my oven)...due to the fact that that my cookies were a bit smaller than yours. But really, I think the idea is to bake the cookies until lightly golden brown. and that might take a bit longer.

Also, I think the reason for baking it at a lower oven temp is so the cookies won't "crack" on top? ...not 100% sure though. As you noticed, baking it at 350 will do the job as well:).

In the end, I am SO glad that the cookies did work for you... and that your family enjoyed them!
Again, thanks for being so kind to try the recipe and sharing your thoughts/feedback. It means a tonl!

Have a wonderful day!