This egg and gluten free recipe is based on a traditional Italian cookie, called Baci di Dama. The kisses are two delicate little, melt in your mouth hazelnut cookies that are sandwiched together with a dollop of Nutella. The name baci di dama means lady’s kisses, originating from their resemblance to two lips intent on giving a kiss.
I roasted my hazelnuts and ribbed off the skins, then once cold I blitzed them in the thermomix with the sugar for 10 seconds, speed 8 until they resembled fine breadcrumbs. No thermomix? No problem. Pulse your roasted and cooled nuts in the food processor. You could easily change out the hazelnuts for store bought almond or hazelnut meal as well.
It’s vital to chill the dough twice: before shaping and then once again after shaping. This prevents the cookies from spreading in the oven.
Tips for successful hazelnut kisses:
Allow yourself at least two hours to make this recipe to accomodate the time required for chilling.
Using a thermomix? I have included a step just for you in the method.
As much I love the no mess no fuss of using my thermomix, these little cookies perform so much better when you mix the butter in by hand. It ensures the butter is incorporated fully throughout the dough. And deeply satisfying!
Chill the dough in the fridge for at least one hour before shaping. You can even make the dough in advance and leave in the fridge overnight.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out the dough for forming the balls so the sizes are consistent. Aim for 5-8 grams per dough ball, roughly the size of a small macadamia nut.
When rolling the balls, use very light pressure in the palms of your hands to ensure the dough does not crumble.
When the cookies come out of the oven let them cool 5 -10 minutes before touching them. The will be very soft and need to firm up before moving to a cooling rack.
Keep your unused dough in the fridge while the cookies are being baked in batches so that the dough remains thoroughly chilled.
The kisses can be filled with melted dark or milk chocolate if preferred
Store these cookies on an airtight container for up to 1 week
As always, keep in mind that different gluten free flour brands will yield different results.
I used my favourite brand flour, FG Roberts, when baking these Baci Di Dama.
100 grams whole hazelnuts
100 grams gluten free plain flour, sifted
80 grams unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
80 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
50 grams Nutella (for filling)
Toast the hazelnuts 10 minutes at 160 celsius, until golden brown and fragrant.
While still hot, transfer the hazelnuts to a kitchen towel and rub them vigorously until the loose skins come off. Don’t be too concerned if some skins don’t rub off.
When completely cold, pulse the nuts in a food processor with the sugar until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. If using a thermomix, pulse on Turbo mode 2-3 times.
Using your hands: Add the hazelnut and sugar mix to a bowl with the flour, butter, and vanilla essence. Mix all the ingredients together until a smooth dough forms and the butter is evenly dispersed.
Using a thermomix: Add the hazelnut and sugar mix to the TM bowl with the flour, butter, vanilla essence and sugar. Mix the dough initially 4 seconds, speed 4. Then scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on dough mode for approximately 30 seconds, or until the dough forms smooth ball. To ensure the butter is fully incorporated it is recommended you knead a few minutes further by hand.
Flatten the dough into a n evenly shaped rectangle, wrap in cling film and chill the logs for at least one hour in the fridge, or 15 minutes in the freezer.
Cut the dough into small, equal-sized pieces (approximately 5-8 grams each) and gently roll into small balls between the palms of your hands.
Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, spaced a few centimetres apart.
Chill again in the fridge for at least an hour or the freezer for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160 celsius (fan forced)
Bake the kisses for 12-15 minutes, until lightly coloured. Turn the tray at about 5-7 minutes so the kisses bake evenly.
Allow to cool on the tray before transferring to a rack.
When completely cold, gently drop about 1/2 teaspoon of Nutella onto one cookie and then place another one on top to make a sandwich.
Store in an airtight container for up to one week.