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Baci di dama (lady's kisses)

On my way to work in Rome, I used to stop at the same café every day for my morning cappuccino. The choice was partly habit, partly location, partly a judgement of the great coffee – but the main thing tugging me back was the delicious little biscuit which the barrista would (sometimes! Brilliantly, only sometimes) nestle onto the saucer, under the curve of the cup. I later learned that these heavenly rich and crumbly little treats are called ‘lady’s kisses’ – and they certainly had me coming back for more.


Recipe

  • Makes 120 biscuits / 60 kisses

Ingredients

  • Skinned hazelnuts – 100g/3.5oz
  • Ground almonds – 100g/3.5oz
  • Caster sugar – 65g/2.3oz
  • Plain flour – 165g/5.8oz
  • Salted butter – 175g softened/6.2oz
  • Chocolate spread (recipe below)
Skinned hazelnuts – 100g/3.5oz Ground almonds – 100g/3.5oz Caster sugar – 65g/2.3oz Plain flour – 165g/5.8oz Salted butter – 175g softened/6.2oz Chocolate spread (recipe below)

Method

  1. Grind the skinned hazelnuts in a blender and put them into a mixing bowl with the almonds, sugar and flour.
    (If you can’t find skinned hazelnuts toast some unskinned ones in an oven at 180oC/350oC/GM4, and whilst they are still hot rub off the skins in a kitchen towel.)
  2. Cut the softened butter into cubes and mix with your hands into the dry ingredients. Once it’s well mixed line a baking tray with parchment paper, take a small piece of dough and roll it into a 2cm diameter ball (a bit wider than a dime).
  3. Press the ball onto the baking tray to make the bottom flat; make sure you spread the balls well out on the tray as they will expand.
  4. Bake for 15 mins or until they start to go golden, and then cool on a rack.
  5. Once cool, put a dollop of the chocolate spread below and create your baci.

Olive oil Chocolate filling

For this you need:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50ml olive oil
    - you can use extra virgin, or it is delicious with flavoured oil such as Chilli or Mandarin.
  • 15g cocoa
  • Sea salt to taste

Melt the chocolate using a double boiler, then remove from the heat and stir in the olive oil and cocoa, mixing until smooth.
It will be liquid at first, but leave it for a few hours and it will set at room temperature so you can spread it or use for connecting your kisses.