Baci di dama (Hazelnut cookies)



Recipe by
Iginio Massari
Baci di dama (Hazelnut cookies)

A recipe with a kiss! It could not be otherwise for these little sweets, the baci di dama, so called because the two halves of cookie are held together by a layer of chocolate, like two mouths trying to sweetly kiss each other. Who has not encountered or never had the opportunity to taste these sweets from the city of Tortona, in Piedmont? In the beginning, baci di dama (hazelnut cookies) were made with hazelnuts, which are easier to find and cheaper than almonds, which were introduced later by Tortona confectioners to perfect the recipe. However, there are versions with almonds and hazelnuts or just one of the two nuts, as we are proposing to you from the Master Pastry Chef Iginio Massari.

The result will be crumbly, tasty cookies... and just like real kisses, one leads to another! What do you think?


Ingredients for 125 cookies
Butter 1 ⅓ cup (300 g)
Sugar 1 ½ cup (300 g)
Almond flour 3 cups (300 g)
Flour 00 2 ⅓ cups (300 g)
Egg whites 3 tbsp (50 g) - (about 1 large)
Fine salt 1 pinch (3 g)
For the filling
Dark chocolate 2 ¼ cups (375 g) - softened

How to prepare Baci di dama (Hazelnut cookies)

To prepare baci di dama (Hazelnut cookies), start with the shortbread dough. Pour the soft but still firm cubed butter and sugar 1 into the bowl of a stand mixer with a flat beater. Mix a few seconds at low speed until the dough is well combined. Add the almond flour 2 and turn on the mixer again. Pour the egg whites into a bowl, add the salt 3 and dissolve it.

Pour everything into the batter 4. As soon as it's well mixed, turn off the machine and add the already sifted flour 5. Continue to mix at low speed, clearing the edges of the mixer bowl with a spatula every few seconds. As soon as the flour has been absorbed, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Add a light layer of flour on the top 6

and pat it down without kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap 7 and put it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Then, transfer it to a slightly floured surface. Using two pastry rulers, roll out the dough with a rolling pin to an even thickness of about 1/2" ( 1 cm) 8. Trim the first edge, then cut strips about 1" (2 cm) long using a pastry ruler and a knife 9

Create the grid by making the other side 1" (2 cm) wide strips 10, obtaining cubes of about .2 oz (4-5 g) each. Make them into balls in the palm of one hand 11 and place them on a drip pan lined with baking paper, spaced apart12. With these amounts, you should get about 250 balls.

Bake in a static oven preheated to 350°F (180°C) for 12 minutes. As soon as the cookies are golden, take them out and let them cool down 13. Now soften the chocolate and put it inside a baking paper cone. Turn one half of the half spheres upside down 14 and squeeze some chocolate in the center 15

and put on top of another half sphere 16, lightly pressing them together 17. Repeat this operation for all the cookies and let them solidify before enjoying them 18. If the air temperature is too hoot, put the baci di dama in the refrigerator.


The baci di dama (hazelnut cookies) without any filling can be stored for 1 week in a cool place, closed in a cookie tin. You can also freeze them already put together for 1 month.

If you want to freeze the dough for up to 2 months, we suggest first forming the balls, letting them solidify in the freezer, and then putting them into a freezer bag.


Don't make the baci di dama (hazelnut cookies) too big, otherwise they won't bake consistently. Inside they'll stay raw and gummy. Baci di dama (hazelnut cookies), on the other hand, must remain brittle from start to finish. 

Before the cookies are done baking, it's important not to open the oven, or the cookies will deflate. 

Instead of almond flour you can use hazelnut flour or mix them!