Friday, December 14, 2012

Baci di dama

This morning we woke up to our first snowfall here in Milan. It started last night and hasn't stopped yet. The city still looked like a winter wonderland when I left for the office before seven this morning but that is changing rapidly as the snowflakes get heavier and the snow turns wetter and dirtier with each passing hour.
7:20 on Instagram
From my office window
Il Duomo di Milano (under the snow and under construction)

I can't wait to start my week end with a cozy family meal and perhaps a movie. That is, if I survive the elementaty school outdoors Christmas market and manage to stay awake after less than five hours sleep and a mild hangover following our office Christmas dinner last night.
On the topic of office parties, I am very glad I was not the one who downed four glasses (not shots, glasses my friends) of grappa after prosecco, red wine and moscato. And then proceeded to give a long and embarassing emotional speech on friendship to the table (more than two dozen of us) that was recorded on several phones and will be sent to everyone via email before the day is over. And then went on to unsuccessfully hit on some ladies at the neighboring table who were having a perfectly enjoyable evening before he came along. And then loudly told one of our colleagues about how their attraction for each other was undeniable. Nope, glad I was not in his shoes this morning.
Then again, when it comes to shoes, he has a history of drinking champagne out of the shoes of his co-workers at Christmas parties and I would be lying if I said his performance hasn't become part of the yearly fun.
Do you have an office Christmas party? Any funny stories to tell?
As Christmas draws closer here is another idea for all those Christmas cookie swaps or a great bite-sized cookie for your guests. Or are you simply looking for a gluten free recipe?
Baci di dama were first created over a century ago in the city of Tortona, in Piedmont. The name, lady's kiss, probably originates from the cookie's resemblance to pursed lips. The recipe is easy and straightforward, if a little time consuming. And I finally found a way to use my stash of rice flour (why on earth this recipe never came up on my Italian Google search I know not).
 It had never occurred to me to bake these, after having had them a million times, until David recently posted about them.

In Italy they do things really traditionally, so I stuck to the original recipe, but you could use Nutella instead of bittersweet chocolate for the filling if you want to kick up the hazelnut ratio or if you are looking for a way to save some time. I read several recipes, some of which use almonds instead of hazelnuts, others that add cocoa powder or orange zest to the dough.
140gr/1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
140gr/1 cup rice flour (but you can use all purpose flour too)
100gr/3 1/2 oz. room temperature butter, in pieces
100gr/1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
55 gr/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped and melted

Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until very fine. Mix the ground nuts with the rice flour in a bowl. Add the cut up butter and then the sugar and salt. Mix the ingredients with your hands until the butter is completely incorporated and until the dough is smooth and holds together. 
Divide the dough into three parts, or more if the dough cracks while rolling it out, and roll each piece until about 2cm/ 3/4-inch  thick. Chill the rolled out dough on parchment paper in the fridge or freezer until firm.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF and line two baking sheets.
Take one log of dough out at a time and cut them into equal bite/marble-sized sized pieces and delicately roll them (they tend to crack) into balls. Place them on the baking sheet leaving a little space between them. Proceed in the same way with the other dough logs.
Bake the cookies for 10-14 minutes, rotating them midway. The tops should be lightly golden.

While you let them cool, melt your chocolate in a double boiler. Put a small drop of melted chocolate (less than you think you will need, trust me) on the flat side of one cookie and then press the flat side of another cookie onto it, sandwiching them.
Place the filled cookies on a cooling rack until the chocolate is set.
The cookies will keep for more than you will possibly manage to save them in an airtight container.




  1. LOL Sounds like your Christmas party was eventful! :P How funny that we are as far from snow than you can get yet I'm planning a Northern Christmas dinner :)

  2. Talk about a winter wonderland...come to Chicago.
    Still no snow here but we are all waiting.
    Nothing like waking up on Christmas with a beautiful
    Cookies look so yummy....
    Merry Christmas in your wonderland of Milano.
    Warmly, Carol from Chicago

    1. Hi Carol! I agree, there is nothing like snow on Christams. Thank you for your wishes and same to you. Off to see your blog!

  3. I saw these on David's blog recently and have been wanting to try them...yours look every bit of delicious and now I want to try them even more!

  4. OMG I didn't know that back di dame were made with rice flour! Great for when I'm in the midst of my gluten-free periods and need something sweet to get me by!

    1. I know, I had no idea either! I made a lengthy search for sweets made with rice flour and never came up with this recipe as a result. Welcome BB ;o)

  5. This is my first visit to your site - complimenti! And what a surprise to have found one of my fave cookies here! What a felicitous time for me to have visited. Buon anno!

    1. Welcome AdriBarr and Happy New Year to you too! I will get back to posting as soon as the holiday season is over. Hope you enjoy.

  6. These delicious cookies were a big hit at my Italian Christmas party! Lessons learned: Buy roasted peeled hazelnuts instead of trying to do it yourself. 100 gm butter translates to 7 tablsp. which I used instead of one whole stick. But I also needed a teaspoon of water to keep them together. The recipe says to put chocolate on every other cookie but I mistakenly but it on both halves, it turned out to be the best. When I make them today, I will put the chocolate on each cookie then wait until it cools slightly before putting both halves together. There is a learning curve to making these but go ahead and try them. They make a great, gluten free dessert, which gets lots of compliments and people asking for the recipe!


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