I mentioned in my previous post that I was off to Italy a couple of weekends ago which is always a good opportunity to seek out yummy Italian food. My brother lives near Pavia which is a smallish town outside Milan (about 30 minutes on the train). One of the main products grown in the surrounding fields is rice, for risotto (I did tell my friend that it was where they grow risotto!) and as a result they use a lot of rice flour in baking. One of these delicious treats is Baci di Dama (literally Lady’s Kisses). These are two hazelnut biscuits sandwiched with a chocolate hazelnut spread (yes, Nutella) and are originally from Tortona in Piedmonte (this is next to Lombardy where we were visiting). Made with rice flour they also have the advantage of being gluten free.
I have done a bit of research on these sweet treats and there is division over the filling, some use melted chocolate and some use Nutella. Given that Nutella was born in Piedmonte (and it is my favourite chocolate hazelnut spread) I’m going to go with the latter. I found this recipe on the David Liebovitz blog, he’s an American living in Paris so probably not the most authentic but his I like style and there are lots of pictures!
They are very easy to make especially if you use a food processor to do the mixing for you as I did, the recipe calls for hand mixing but I figured as I was using the mixer to grind the hazelnuts I might as well just add the rest of the ingredients as well. It worked fine and I only had to knead the mixture a little bit at the end. I divided my dough into three and put two in the freezer for a later date and made a batch of 8 cookies with the third.
They bake in a low oven, 160C, for about 14 minutes and then they need to cool completely before handling as they are very delicate. Mine flattened a bit in the cooking, David’s (and other pictures I have seen) were very domed. Mine started off like that but ended up a bit more like a conventional cookie.
Once they had cooled I sanwiched them together with a blob of Nutella (tasting it first just to make sure it was ok!) and they looked pretty good. Not as domed as they should be and they also had some cracks in the baked dough but that can be worked on. The taste, however, was divine. A crunchy, nutty, chocolatey mouthful of yum that would go very nicely with an afternoon espresso.[read more]