Baci di Dama Cookies

Baci di dama

Neither one of us is quite sure how we connected, but so be it. But somehow I kind of remembered Terresa Murphy from San Francisco. However she’s been living in Paris since the mid-80s, so my memory is either better than I thought, or my mind is playing tricks on me. (Which is a whole nother road that I’d prefer not walk down right now.)

Baci di dama

Terresa leads market tours and teaches cooking classes in Paris which focus on vegetarian cuisine and sourcing fresh, local, organic ingredients, and reaches out to people via her website, La Cucina di Terresa. She takes folks to the markets and highlights the farmers and stands at the market, manned by the producteurs themselves and offers tastings of French natural wines. In fact, I often run into her at the market because we have similar taste in produce and we’re both always on the lookout for things like stewing greens and other unusual vegetables that are not so easily found.

Some time back I had her Baci di Dama cookies, which I’ve been dying to get the recipe for because they’re so good. And I’ve wanted to share them with you, because – as they say, sharing is caring.

baking chez david

Another bonus is that they are gluten-free, which means even more of you can share in the enjoyment of them. Can we all have a San Francisco-style group hug now?

hazelnuts for baci di damaBaci di dama
hazelnuts for Baci di damaBaci di dama

So she came by a few weekends ago, here in Paris, with a nice bottle of Gamay from the Loire and we set ourselves out to make a batch of these Italian-inspired cookies together.

Baci di dama

Because we’re both San Franciscans, and cooks (who understand the importance of having a bottle of wine handy, no matter where or what you’re cooking…or baking), we’re sort of kindred spirits and it was a lot of fun to have her come over and show me how to make these nutty, buttery cookies with a little bit of crunch. And a smidgen of dark chocolate, just enough to tease you, so you reach for another one right after you finish off the first…and the second…and the third…and the…

Baci di damaBaci di dama
gamayrolling baci di dama cookies

Each little cookie is a double-kiss of hazelnut tenderness. They’re so good that I woke up the next morning, determined to wait until at least mid-day before popping the lid on the container. But unable to control myself, I had a few while I was preparing my morning café au lait. And a few more after breakfast as well.

Baci di damaBaci di dama

The dough is a little different to roll out than you may be used to, so it’s best to keep it cold as much as possible while working with it. It can be a bit sticky because it’s so rich in hazelnuts, which is why they taste so good, but it does come together nicely with just a bit of kneading and coaxing.

Baci di damaBaci di dama
Baci di damaBaci di dama

For those who are persnickety about making sure each cookie is perfect, you can certainly spend the time to roll each bit of dough in a nice little ball, which will spread out ever-so-slightly when baked. Then they firm up into crispy mini-domes, ready to fill.

Baci di dama

Rice flour is used in these cookies, which I get at my local natural foods store and one can find it in Asian markets as well. However the recipe will work with regular white flour if that’s what you have on hand. However rice flour gives the cookies a delightful crispness and I think when you taste these, you’ll find yourself stocking rice flour in your pantry, as I’m going to start doing as well, now that I (finally) have this recipe in my files.

Baci di Dama
About 45 cookies


Recipe by Terresa Murphy of La Cucina di Terresa


Toast the hazelnuts in a 325ºF (160ºC) for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown color and the skins are peeling away. Remove from the oven and as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, rub the hazelnuts in a tea towel (or if they’re not too hot, with your hands), until as much of the loose skins come off as possible. Let them cool completely before grinding them up.

Terresa also says you can use almonds, which can be skinned by plunging them into boiling water for a minute, then draining them. And as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, pinching them to slide off the skins, then toasting them.

UPDATE: A couple of people noted in the comments that they had a bit of trouble coaxing the dough into a cohesive mass. It was recommended that if that happens, adding a small amount of water or a touch of butter (perhaps melted), is enough to bring it into shape. I haven’t tried them – or found them necessary – but if you do, I would add the smallest amount possible to bring the dough together. I posted some links to sites that have made them successfully after the recipe.


  • 1 1/4 cups (140g) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
  • 1 cup (140g) rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces (55g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. Put the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them until very fine; they should be the consistency of coarse polenta. (See photo, in post.)

2. Transfer the ground nuts to a bowl and add the rice flour (if using all-purpose flour, sift it in). Cut the butter into pieces then add the butter, sugar, and salt to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together until the butter is dispersed and completely incorporated. The dough should be very smooth and hold together. If not, knead it until it does.

3. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece until it’s 3/4-inch (2cm) round. Try to get them as smooth as possible, with no cracks. If the dough is too long to work with as you roll them out, you can cut the dough at the midway point and work with it in batches.

Chill the dough logs until firm on a small baking sheet or dinner plate lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper.

(Terresa recommends refrigerating them for 2-3 hours, but we put them in the freezer and they were cold within 15 minutes.)

4. Preheat oven to 325ºF (160ºC) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

5. Working with one length of dough at a time, keeping the others in the refrigerator or freezer, cut off equal-sized pieces using a knife or pastry cutter. The ideal is 5 grams each, if working with a scale. The fastest way to do it is to cut one to the right weight, then hold that one alongside the logs and use it as a template to cut the others. Once you’ve cut a length of dough, roll the pieces into nice little balls and place them on the baking sheet, slightly spaced apart (as shown.)

If you don’t have a scale, simply roll the dough to the size of a marble, trying to keep them as similar in size as possible.

6. Continue cutting the dough and rolling it into little balls. Bake the cookies for 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets in the oven midway during cooking, until the tops are lightly golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely.

7. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth. Put a chocolate chip-sized dollop of chocolate on the bottom of one cookie and take another cookie, and sandwich the two halves together.

(Terresa uses a spoon but I make a little parchment paper cone and pipe the chocolate. I also find it goes faster if you line the cookies up, side-by-side, bottom side up, and pipe spoon chocolate on one side of a number of them at a time, then sandwich them together, then doing another batch, until they’re all filled.)

Once filled, set the Baci di Dama sideways on a wire cooling rack until the chocolate is firm.


Storage: The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.


Visit Terresa at her site, La Cucina di Terresa, which focusing on vegetarian cooking classes and natural wine tastings in Paris, and follow her on Facebook.

Photos From Others Who Have Made This Recipe

- Naan Therapy

- Christine

- A Dish a Day

- Happelsauce

- on my yellow plate



Related Recipes

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Homemade Nutella

Chocolate-Chocolate Biscotti

Zaletti

200 comments

  • I’m definitely making these for Xmas. Wonder if I can use Nutella for a filling. I have a jar that I don’t want to just eat by the spoonful.

    • Yes! I have done these, and macarons, many times with Nutella. Love it by the spoonful too though!

  • My first thought after seeing the pictures: “Awnn, they’re soooocute!”
    My second thought: “Will it work with cashew nuts instead?”

  • I love that you blogged on these and the photos are beautiful. However, for readers who may also be inspired to try this recipe: I strongly urge you to use all purpose flour, especially if you do not have dietary restrictions. I love Baci di Dama, but I do not care at all for these and I blame the flour. They are adorable, but I don’t know what to do with them now!

  • Great recipe; made yesterday to accompany a pear clafoutis for dessert. Made even easier: simply ground nuts in food processor, then added remaining ingredients to processor bowl and spun until dough came together.

  • I would imagine that for those that want to avoid chocolate (! who are these people?), a coffee flavoured fondant would work well.

  • I have some lovely toasted hazelnut flour from King Arthur Flour. It looks just like your picture of the ground, toasted hazelnuts. Do you have an estimate of how much you ended up with when you ground your own? Thanks!

  • Just made them. Hard not to eat the dough that was stuck all over my hands. They taste devine.

    My dough did not hold together very well, which made trying to form pretty little balls quite challengeing. Although I don’t mind the less aesthetic look, I am wondering if I missed something. I did kneed it after running it in the mixer to combine it for about 5 mins.

    Weighed out everything; nuts were ground as described; the only rice flour at my local store was a ground brown rice flour… could that be it?

  • Gorgeous photos, as usual.
    My problem? Trying to figure out how much butter to use in North American (non-metric non-scale owning) brain standards. 100 grams, folks, is 1 stick of butter. I used double that. WHOOPS! Made for flat, buttery, delicate little cookies that wouldn’t have had a chance if I stuck chocolate in between them. Will try again soon!

  • Total disaster!

    Mixture was quite crumbly – but it held together well enough for me to make neat little balls and pop them in the oven. But when I took one out after 15 minutes it just crumbled into a little mess of doughy crumbs. After 20 minutes they were no better.

    What an expensive disappointment……

  • I had a similar problem as Sarahb1313. The dough would not stick together, even though I tried kneading the dough togther. Should I add a little water to the dough to bring it together?

    • I cooked my second batch for about 12 minutes and they were a little better. But they definitely could not be described as light and crispy or ‘moreish’.
      The rice flour gives a very dry, solid texture. Would more butter help? Milk? Water?

      I cannot get brown rice flour so I used white rice flour. I could have used glutinous rice flour (mochi flour) instead. Would that change the texture?

      I notice also that there are three copies of Terresa’s recipe on the net. Identical ingredients but differing cooking times: 10-14 minutes, 15 minutes and 18-25 minutes !!

  • Nancy, Sarah, and Jay: The dough definitely requires a bit of kneading and coaxing, but as you can see in the photos, we didn’t have much trouble getting it to come together. Am not sure why yours didn’t but I’ll ask Terresa if she can respond if she’s available.

  • David, just to clarify: When you say “3/4 inch (2 cm) round”, you mean across (i.e., diameter) rather than around (i.e., circumference), right? That’s what it looks like in the pictures…

  • OK, so just an update:

    The dough definitely did not look as “moist” and able to work together. I wonder if just a tad more butter- 100 gm was about 1tbsp shy of a full stick. So wasn’t able to make logs.

    BUT when I put the second half of the dough in the fridge overnight, although I still couldn’t work it easily without falling apart, I was able to make somewhat neater little balls. So I think for whatever reason the quick freeze did not work for me.

    To an earlier poster- they are completely crumbly when taken out of the oven, but after at least an hour or two, were really fine. They are delicate.

    I think I was a little impatient in trying to work the dough. And the dough was a bit drier than it should be. But the end product seems a bit closer to intended now.

  • I can’t wait to try this recipe. I would like to know if anyone has tried a combination of brown rice flour AND regular unbleached (wheat) flour. How would that be? I don’t want the dough to crumble at the touch once baked, like some have referenced, yet haven’t made these yet to know if the combo of 2 flours would work. Any thoughts? I’m totally new to your blog, David, and I just love it! I’m hanging on to my memories of my summer visit to Paris, so your blog is wonderful! I’m looking into how to spend next summer there. Would love to attend something that you present.

  • Thank you for sharing these! I was just getting ready to make cookies for the holidays, so I started with these. After reading the comments, I made sure to knead the dough quite a bit–if I hadn’t known beforehand about this issue, I may have given up too soon. It was pretty crumbly and took a while to roll the logs without them falling apart, but I did it! I used the quick freeze method and it worked quite well. When forming the balls, I avoided rolling them in my palms until the dough had warmed up a bit and was more pliable (some of them did fall apart in my hands when I rolled too soon). I baked them for 7 minutes, rotated the baking tray, then baked another 7 minutes and they seem just right. They’re adorable and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out! Oh, and for the record, I used all-purpose unbleached white flour, rather than rice flour.

  • I made these cookies today. The recipe is very time consuming but well worth it. I found that putting the dough into the fridge helps you work the dough (both when rolling into logs and then again when you need to cut and form into little marbles). If you let the cookies cool on the sheet before you take them off, they will not crumble. These cookies are delicate but worth it. Try these suggestions and see if they help. I would have liked more cookies from this recipe (and for all the work put into it), but now I know why all those little Italian cookies are so expensive (very time consuming). You need a little patience with this recipe, and it will all work out.

  • I cheated. I used regular flour & dry roasted hazelnuts because that’s all that was available in my little backwater of a town. It is a crumbly dough and there were no easy to cut logs of dough. I threw the whole thing into the refrigerator to chill. Rolled them into irregular shaped balls. Dipped them into melted chocolate afterwards. They didn’t turn out dainty and perfect like the photos. But they taste great! My husband has already eaten 6. The recipe’s ingredients are probably of a higher quality in France, I would imagine.Thanks to Jennie B. for the amount of butter breakdown.

  • @Nadine
    Pine nuts do have a really strong flavor, but if that didn’t bother you I’d also consider using ground sesame seeds.

  • These look delicious! I usually bake a version with ground almonds and wheat flour but I am definitely keen to mix up my combinations and start playing around with hazelnuts and rice flour.

  • Same result as many others with excessively dry dough that was totally unworkable. Gina DePalma’s baci di dama from Dolce Italiano are easy to prepare and work.

    • I make every effort to make sure that recipes on this site work and when Terresa came to make these cookies for me, I documented every part of how she made them, step-by-step, including close-ups of both how the dough looks at each phase of the process so folks could see exactly how it’s done. (There were more photos, but since it is just me working on the site, I used what I thought were the most helpful shots that showed the steps most readers would have questions about.)

      As readers can see, the dough worked well when we made it. And as mentioned, it’s not a typical dough and needs a bit of coaxing. However we made these cookies together and they turned out great.

  • I used white rice flour and though the dough didn’t hold together well enough to roll into logs, it held enough to shape the small cookies. Yes, it does take a bit of kneading to get to shape-able point. Baked for a total of 18 minutes and they were fantastic.

  • I made these over the weekend and they turned out wonderfully. I followed your directions and knew what to expect with the consistency of the dough (thanks to your helpful photos). To break the process into stages, I made the dough and chilled it overnight; cut, rolled, baked, and cooled the cookies in the morning; and then did the chocolate filling in the evening. I used Mast Brothers chocolate. Thanks so much for the recipe–they make great little holiday cookies!

  • These cookies look fantastic! Do you think they would work as well with walnuts?

  • made these today and they are delicious and unique! the dough felt “dry” but I just added a touch more butter before i rolled them up to chill (even then, the dough was a bit crumbly, so I couldn’t get the dough into perfect cylinders–more like triangles with rounded corners). thank goodness David pointed out that the door wasn’t typical, so I wasn’t too freaked. and it’s no biggie, because you get a chance to roll the dough pieces up into balls after chilling. i formed the balls with my fingertips. i worried that the dough wouldn’t hold through baking–but guess what: after cooling down, they were perfect! and delicious. i would so make these again–great if you don’t want a super-sweet cookie.

    picture of my results here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristine/8243270884/in/photostream/

  • Update– I added a few pats of butter to my crumbly dough and re-kneaded the dough. That helped a lot. The dough came together enough for me to pat out a log and cut it into small pieces without it falling apart. Just be sure to make sure the extra butter is well incorporated. I got impatient and a couple of small lumps melted while baking and the cookie looked like it was bleeding ground hazelnuts. Oh well, something for me to eat! Very tasty cookies, I can’t wait to add the chocolate component!

  • Hi David, love the recipe. Can I use a different nut like pistachio or macadamia, instead of the hazelnuts? Nothing against hazelnut but only have other nuts in hand. Thanks!!

  • Stock management is the most delicate part of these ‘Baiser de la Dame” recipe!
    Such an easy recipe and so well explained. I’ve used the food processor all along to mix ingredients and no rolling as I found it difficult, but pressing and gently stretching the dough after a short stay in the freezer was the answer. The size of a marble is just right, and make sure to let the cookies cool down before touching them when they come out the oven, I was too impatient and they simply crumbled down!
    Thank you David for sharing and giving away your knowledge and your enthusiasm.

  • One filled 15ml measuring spoon gives the perfect amount of mix to make two little balls. It enabled me to bypass the rolling into a log step which didn’t work for me as it just kept crumbling apart.

    For the filling I used some dark cooking chocolate and added some cinnamon, which gave a little cheeky hint of spice!

  • ChristineZ: Thanks for the photos and glad you liked the cookies!

    shelley: I’ve answered in previous comments about other nut substitutions so you can scroll up and read those, which may require you to hit the ‘previous comments’ button – if you do try another nut, since I’ve not tried one, please let us know how they turn out.

  • They look delicious!!! I want to bake them already, they look so easy and tasty, thank you for post them!!!

  • Delicious! I did struggle with the dough being a bit crunmbly, but I managed to keep it together. I cooked them for about 16 minutes. Determined to try with peanuts next time.

  • I tried twice and both times the dough really spread out in the oven. They looked nothing like the little dombs in the photos. The second time I even popped the unbaked balls in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking but they spread just like the first batch.

    I weighed all the ingredients. The batter looked like your photos, maybe a bit wetter.

    Any help ?

  • I should have added that I baked balls of dough on parchment paper. Also I use an oven thermometer.

  • Mike: Mine didn’t spread, and another reader had similar results the batch show in the photos here.

    You can check out my post, How to Keep Cookies from Spreading.

  • Thank you for your reply. I was aware of your cookie spreading post (I’m an avid and regular reader of your blog) but will review it again.

    Regards.

    PS, in my local pastry news, Payard opened up a new shop (again. his old one went kaput) on the Upper East Side of Manhattan about one month ago. Across the street from Maison Kayser (a Parisian bakery or so I’m told) which also opened recently. So next time you are in NYC you might want to check them out.

  • I’m having the same problem as everyone else. The dough is super crumbly and no amount of coaxing is going to get this to roll into a log. Per the suggestions above, I’ve put it in the frig for awhile to see if that’ll help. If not, I hope I can re-purpose the dough for something.. skinning the hazelnuts was a pretty labor intensive process.

    • Honestly, skinning the hazelnuts was much easier than I expected. When I toasted them in the oven, that did the trick. Most of the skins came right off. A few still had the skins, but it wasn’t an issue. Putting the dough in the fridge for a few hours should do the trick. My husband and I are still enjoying the little Italian cookies tonight. (I made them Sunday.)

    • I thought skinning the hazelnuts was pretty easy, if not messy. I followed this tutorial since I’d never done it before, and found that it worked very well: http://www.cookiemadness.net/2007/08/how-to-toast-hazelnuts/

      You basically wrap up the just-toasted hazelnuts in a tea towel like a little package, then rub them together vigorously. Not every hazelnut was skinned, but that didn’t seem to be a problem after grinding in the food processor and mixing with everything else.

  • Second try- new batch of nuts. Perfect results.

    I used my nut grinder this time, got a uniform semi-fine grind. No risk of becoming pastey in the processor. If I used the processor again, would add some of the flour while grinding. If the dough was dry, would likely add a little butter.

    I used the stand mixer both times to do the initial combining work and kneaded the dough for the final step.

    My guess is the oil content and/or age of the nuts had an impact. My first batch were nowhere near spreading when baked. They were dry. The grinder is just fool-proof.

    As always, the resulting cookies (both times) were shared and appreciated!

    Thanks!

  • Sarah1313: Normally I would grind the nuts with some of the flour, but Terresa didn’t and as some suggested, the moisture of the nuts may have something to do with the consistency of the dough.

    Roxanne: I’ll often rub the hazelnuts then take the tray outside and blow on it, which disperses all the papery hazelnut skins. (I think the pigeons in Paris probably like them!)

    Laurie: A good use for it would be to stuff baked stuffed apples. As shown in the post, the batch we made came together with some kneading. If you have a bit of butter or oil, you could try working it in to the dough.

  • Third try.

    First batch: I followed the recipe exactly, mixing the dough by hand. Dough very crumbly but after being in the freezer I formed little balls relatively easily. Looked gorgeous – just like the photos – but the texture was dry and solid.

    Second batch: I used the food processor. Ground the nuts, then threw in flour,sugar and butter and blitzed it. Dough did not form a ball but came together when pressed. Results identical to first batch.

    Third batch I substituted my commercial gluten-free flour for the rice flour and used the food processor. Bumped the butter up to 110 g. Didn’t form a ball in the food processor but dough pressed together easily into a smooth non-crumbly dough. When rolling the balls my hands became quite greasy. When cooking, the balls spread into flat cookies. However, the texture is lovely – light, crispy and moreish.

    I have used the same batch of nuts and butter for all 3 attempts. I will try a final time with less butter……..

  • These cookies turned out wonderful. I was concerned about this recipe bcs of the comments I read and bcs I live in a high altitude area. I used brown rice flour instead of the regular one. The texture and taste are wonderful, and they look so cute. Thanks David for another great recipe!

  • Made a batch tonight and my family totally loved it! Did not have any problem. My dough held together (could it be because I used coconut palm sugar?). I chilled mine in the freezer for 15 mins and the logs came out hard enough to cut into 5-gm pcs. After baking, I waited until the baci are cooled completely before touching any of them. I could tell that they would crumble if I handled them hot from the oven. Would definitely make them again! Thanks for the recipe!

  • These are delicious…wanted to chime in as everyone’s comments helped me a lot. I added couple of cubes of extra butter to the dough, mixed and chilled, and rolled straight into balls a little bigger than marbles so they end up like mini puddings. Rather than sandwiching, I topped each with melted chocolate and chopped hazelnuts and they are perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  • One more thing to add: these cookies freeze very well! I put half a dozen in an airtight container when I made them on Sunday, and pulled them out today. Left them for just a few hours on the kitchen counter in the sealed container, and they taste just as good.

  • I made these today (7 Dec 2012): they came out pretty nice, thanks!

    Just wondering: what do you think of using chocolate ganache for the filling in place of melted chocolate? It occurred to me that the ganache might be thicker, thus easier to pipe and get a filling that would set a bit better (my chocolate was a bit too hot when I piped it, so it was pretty liquidy).

    I had the same initial crumbling issue as others (maybe next time I will try European style butter, which has a higher fat content) but they still came out well in the end. The cookie firms up nicely after cooling from being in the oven.

    Thanks again!

  • Hi David,

    I made these twice and they turned out super. Both times I used rice flour as we have no trouble getting it in India. Next i will try with plain flour but I think the light crunch u get is because of the rice flour.

  • Made them today and after adding a tiny bit more butter ( ca. 25g) the dough came together and the final cookies taste heavenly!!! Highly addictive :-)

  • I made this lady’s kisses today, and i followed the recipe all the way through, except for the butter. i had no unsalted butter at home, so i used salted butter minus the additional salt in the recipe. it turned out great, no problem with the dough. i tried putting it in the fridge, but couldn’t wait, so i did your way, put it in the freezer and it worked. it was tricky though but with patience, especially with the rolling into balls. i just used very light pressure to roll them. my only question is, though may sound daft, is 160C in conventional oven or fan oven? i used fan but reduced it to150C which took longer to bake, which also could probably be because mine weighed 13g each.it was yummy, thanks for the recipe.

  • Just made these to bring to a Christmas Cookie exchange next week. I have frozen them as recommended in one comment. I think if you have a food processor it is the way to go, they come out in a good consistency to roll into a log. I used wax paper to roll the dough and then put them in the fridge wrapped in the wax paper. They were easy to cut and roll into little balls afterwards. In my gas oven, I found they needed 15 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!

    Michèle

  • “the importance of having a bottle of wine handy, no matter where or what you’re cooking…or baking”….i am quite certain the wine helps with the chilling (out) and rolling (with it).
    these are tasty. thank you!

  • I made these yesterday and they turned out great. I used half white rice flour and half brown. Yes the dough was super crumbly when first mixed, but I used wax paper to roll each log and a very light hand and after a few minutes it became very pliable. My butter was pretty soft by the time I mixed the dough and I think that helped. I found that instead of rolling each slice into a ball, pressing it worked better. Half of the cookies did spread when cooked; in retrospect I should have chilled them again before baking. So some of the sandwiches are a little flat but they have a fantastic flavor.

  • Made these yesterday afternoon and they came out perfectly. Love the sandy and weirdly crunchy texture that the rice flour gives them. After grinding the nuts in the food processor, I followed the advice of an earlier commenter and just added the remaining ingredients to the processor in the order specified in the recipe and it worked beautifully.

    Take the plunge! They’re not that fussy.

  • I made these cookies and they turned out “dama” good! Mine looked a little different though. I made the balls a little too big, so instead of sandwiching chocolate between two cookies, I drizzled the chocolate over each individual cookies. They didn’t look as cute, but they were sure tasty!

  • My husband loved them and ate them just like he was really enjoying a lady’s kiss! I used almonds and they taste great, but I should have ground my sugar to make caster sugar. I only had sugar in the raw and it added to the slightly grainy texture with the rice flour. I wonder what confectioners sugar would work like?
    I also didn’t even try to roll them. Just worked the dough until it would stick together and proceeded to make a zillion little balls with a tsp measure. I didn’t even need to refrigerate. They turned out looking just like the photos. I cheated and used the Nutella knock-off by Jif for the filling. http://www.jif.com/products/details?categoryid=428&productid=1226. Thank you!

  • Unfortunately made the mistake to experiment (I hadn’t read the comments, now I regret it!) with this flour which is a mix of rice, potato, tapioca, maize & buckwheat flour. I’ve substituted this flour for normal white flour in many recipes with no problems, but it seemed to not have worked in this case.

    They ended up like flat parmesan crisps. Would be OK if they were edible (they still taste great) but you can’t even pick one up in your fingers without it going into a 100 crumly pieces :o(

    I would advise against any other kind of flour that is not mentioned in the recipe!

  • Why can’t everyone write recipes like you?!?! The way you write is informative, precise, and HILARIOUS! The process is as fun as the finished product is good :)

  • Hi David. Thank you! I have been looking for a good baci Di dama recipe since first eating them last year and I have now found it! They worked perfectly. No extra butter or different flour needed. I used brown rice flour as they don’t seem to sell white – I have it in the cupboard anyway as I use it in other recipes – it is great added to shortbread and similar biscuits for a great texture (just substitute about 1/4 of all purpose for rice flour). These were perfect and I will be making them again and again (and probably soon as this batch isn’t going to last long! One just leads to another, and another…..).

  • Poor results from my batch. The dough was too crumbly before and after cooking, like moist sand. I got the baci made but they look awful and require some care to eat. I blame the rice flour. I would prefer to add some plain flour and maybe a bit of egg, if I ever did it again. Wish I had read the comments first.

    • If you change the flour and add egg, you are basically making a different kind of hazelnut biscuit. Very nice, no doubt, but not baci di dama!

      • I found quite a few recipes (in Italian) that used rice flour. As an Italian friend once told me, there are a lot of Italians who can’t tolerate gluten so a number of recipes are made with other flours – including ice cream cones, pastas, and I’ve even seen gluten-free cornetti in Italy, and I think it’s great that folks get to enjoy these kinds of things, that might not ordinarily get to eat them. (I eat wheat, but I appreciate the rice flour in them; I think it gives the cookies a nice crunch.)

  • I made these Thursday and served them to family last night. There were nine of us. The entire batch is gone, and though I thought there was one left for me to enjoy after cleanup, someone must have grabbed it on the way out. I will definitely make them again, and my daughter-in-law also intends to make them.

    I did experience the same difficulties with the dough that so many have reported. used Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour. After kneading for a time, I added the remaining bit of butter from the stick and that seemed to work. I used the quick freeze method and had no trouble from that point on. The end result was well worth the little bit of anxiety.

  • I made these yesterday, weighing everything and sifting in AP flour instead of rice flour. I could not get the dough to hold together no matter how long I kneaded it. Unable to roll logs to cut, I had to use my fingers to form individual little marbles of not-too-consistent size. They came out of the oven looking the same as they went in – like marbles. They taste divine, so I’m going to dip each one into melted chocolate to try to salvage them. Next time I’ll add more butter as needed, until the dough feels right.

  • Undaunted, I will make these again in hopes of achieving the intended results. I am, however, proud of salvaging what I got from my first attempt.

    If life gives you marbles … dip them in chocolate:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/109614875263120279856/BaciDiDamaCookies?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMX-q9HmsYzXEw&feat=directlink

  • I just made these last night and they are wicked awesome. I made a possibly substantial change to the recipe since I don’t have a food processor (i.e., no easy way to grind hazelnuts to crumbles). I used hazelnut flour from Bob’s Red Mill & glutinous rice flour. The flour I suspect is way drier than if one were to toast and smash hazelnuts oneself; I ended up with close to two cups of h. flour to hit 140g, and the hazelnut flour I had appeared to have the skins ground in too, so my dough had a very speckly look. Then one stick of butter (130g or something I think it was) was in no way enough to even make a handful stick together. So, I added 3/4 more of a stick (1 3/4 sticks total); this mashed together just fine; I could have probably gotten away with a little less but it’s only butter :) I also used salted butter because I like salt.

    I still had a tough time making the balls though (still kinda crumbly when manipulated); next time I make it, I might try to roll it out and cut small circlets (because my other issue was when I went to put the sheet into the oven, the balls rolled all over the place! GAH!!)

  • looks awfully delicious..
    can i use ‘almond meal’ for that cookie , should i roast the almond meal ?

  • I made these yesterday with my mother. First issue was I don’t think our hazelnuts were ground consistently enough (a very persnickety food processor with a broken pulse button). So getting them a little finer would have helped. We had trouble getting it to form into a dough (probably because the nuts were not fine enough to release more of their oil) so we added about a half of an ounce of melted butter.

    After getting frustrated with rolling the little logs, I just rolled the balls directly – froze them for 20 minutes then baked.

    The only real issue was getting them to stay together while the chocolate set up. While it would ruin the whole visual appeal of them, I think I might just flatten the balls slightly next time so they don’t roll around too much when setting.

    (But part of me is also thinking of keeping them as spheres – perhaps a little larger – dipping the tops in chocolate and then some crushed hazelnuts. I know … a different cookie then, but perhaps a little less sweet with some really dark chocolate.)

  • I first tried a Baci di Dama last week and was utterly happy to find the recipe in your blog (which I really enjoy!) David. I liked the cookie I had so much that I could not wait to make it myself at home.

    I made the recipe yesterday, used 1 stick of butter (110g), and the cookies turned out amazing. They were perfect, and look just like your picture!
    My only question and comment is that I found them to be sooooo sweet, way sweeter than the one I tried and way, way sweeter than what I would like them to be. Would it still work out if I decreased the sugar?? What would be your advice in this, could you please help me David?
    I will make more this week for sure as I want to give some to friends :-)
    The ones I made yesterday some were eaten by my son and his friends (they liked it a lot!), and some my son took to school in nice gift tins to give to his teachers!
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe, I am really happy to see these cookies featured in your blog!
    Ana

    • Ana,
      Are you sure you put in only 1/2 cup of sugar? Mine were not at all sweet. I liked them but my husband who has a sweet tooth did not find them sweet enough.

      Michèle

  • Made mine with almonds that I blanched but forgot to toast. Both batches turned out great overall, with crunch, chewiness and most importantly just have the right amount of sweetness. Just the bottoms for some reason were burnt slightly. Dont know how to explain that. Maybe something to do with my oven temp or the fact that blanched almonds had a bit of moisture when I ground them or that the unrefined brown sugar I used was a bit grainy. Anyways thanks David for this lovely GF recipe, it goes right into my file.

  • Hi Michelle Dextras
    Yes, I used the 100 grams of sugar. I weighed all ingredients in my scale.
    I have a very low tolerance for sugar, so I would not be surprised if I was the only one finding these to be too sweet :-)
    My son and my husband liked the cookies a lot and did not complain on the sugar.
    I already have more hazelnuts ready and butter on the counter to make more cookies tonight!
    Ana

  • made these surprisingly successfully; what’s more with super lazy steps as these:

    1. bought ground hazelnut instead of whole (but I did toast the hazelnut flour first)
    2. the ground hazelnut comes in 250g pack, but I nearly doubled the butter (estimated amount)
    3. did not do Step 3 & 5, instead I used a roundish teaspoon to scoop out marble-size volumes from the dough, then rolled them into marbles (I did chilled the dough overnight)
    4. after I took out the freshly baked cookies, I waited only long enough to turn each over on the baking sheet itself so that the flatish bottom faced up. Then I placed a chocolate chip on each. The cookies are warm/hot, and will melt the chocolate. Then, when cooled, I glued each together. Piece of cake! No need to melt chocolate and get some wasted sticking to the pot.

    It worked so well that this is by far the most delicious and easiest cookies to make!

  • I have blanched raw hazelnuts; do you think I can toast them and then proceed with the recipe? Or is it necessary to toast them with the skins on first?

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  • I made these for a second time today and again they turned out perfectly. They look exactly like yours and my family fights over them :)

  • Rather than rolling the dough into a log, I used the technique where you make a line of dough on parchment paper, fold the paper over the top and squish the dough into a log shape using a straight edge. If that didn’t make sense, there’s a picture here http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/tips.html (scroll down to the slice and bake section) It worked great! I didn’t even have to pre-form the dough into a cohesive mass before hand.

  • I just made these cookies tonight… after baking (and longer than the recommended 10-14 mins.) they are crumbling and not holding together. It is as if they are missing an ingredient such as egg for binding. The cookie tastes very good by itself. In addition, I could not roll the logs during the dough stage…the dough kept crumbling then as well. I went straight to rolling balls and refrigerating them before baking. Any thoughts?

  • There have been a number of comments about these cookies. Most people had excellent results, as did I when I made them in my kitchen (as shown in the post). A few readers have posted pictures of their final cookies and/or noted their results in the comments. Please read those as they can help answer your questions. I’ve also responded in the comments to various scenarios quite a few times so the answer can likely be found in one of my responses (highlighted in green).

    Since a number of people had the same results we had, if you are having issues:

    -Make sure you measure ingredients carefully.

    A few noted that their dough was dry, or asked about substituting other nuts or ingredients:

    - If your dough seems dry, as mentioned just above the recipe, try adding a bit of melted butter, just enough so the dough comes together. You could also try a bit of water. I did not have to do either since our dough came together just fine, but those would be solutions to try.

    - Teresa said that one could use almonds in place of hazelnuts. Other nuts have different flavors and oil content, and if you want to try one, you can. But she has only made them with those 2 nuts.

  • I made there cookies in the presence of my cousin who is a trained pastry chef. I followed the directions to a “T, but as soon as I tried to roll them into logs, they crumbled in my hands. No amount of kneading helped hold these together. So, I added another 100g of butter, skipped the log and rolled them into balls. My cousin very smartly told me to try baking a small batch, because she had a feeling the were now too buttery. I quickly put them into the fridge for 15 minutes and baked them for 15z as my cousin anticipated, they didn’t retain their shape at all. They became disks, instead of balls. We let them cool and tried one and they just tasted like pure butter. We’re the cookies in the pictures made with gluten-free flour, or with all-purpose flour?

    • 100g (4 ounces/1 stick) is an excessive amount of butter to add so they will spread. Your pastry chef cousin, who was with you, perhaps should have advised you that adding that much butter to a recipe substantially change the result. I gave some guidelines in the recipe headnote. We made these with rice flour.

  • I am on to my second batch. A couple of things that helped..

    Using UNsallted butter. It makes a difference.

    Also, in my first batch, I scooped the rice flour. In the second, I spooned it carefully into the measuring cup to keep it from getting packed. I went to a gluten free baking class once in which the instructor stressed the importance of weighing the flours. They can easily get packed into your measuring cup, which means you will have too much. She advised always using a kitchen scale, or spooning the flour into the cup.

  • Ella – what ACTUAL difference does using unsalted butter make? Taste? Spread of biscuits?

    What was the difference between your two batches?

    I use salted butter and some of my batches resulted in domes and some spread into flatter biscuits. The same ingredients produce different results which is really puzzling.

  • I just made these tonight and they are adorable and perfect, just like the photos. I used Bob’s Red Mill Stone Ground White Rice flour. I DID have trouble making them stick together at first – but I am stubborn and a die-hard baker.

    So..I read the comments and decided to add a ‘touch’ of water and then the dough came together nicely just like in the photos. I live in San Francisco and it has been raining cats & dogs, so I know that the humidity is not an issue. I am just wondering if the hazelnuts that you get in Paris are of a different variety and have a little more moisture than the ones we get here in the states. Seems like a lot of people had this problem, and I definitely worked the dough for a LONG time before deciding to add the water. Anyways, they came out great. I love your blog, I love Paris, and I love San Francisco, so I am a BIG fan of yours!

  • Hi,

    I just made two batches.
    The first one was with gluten-free flour and I hadn’t chilled the dough long enough. Result: very buttery discs…

    The second batch was with all-purpose flour and I had chilled the logs thoroughly. Result: perfect half rounds with a delicious nutty flavor.

    I didn’t have any problems with getting a nice dough but I only use scales never cups since I don’t find them accurate enough.

    Thank you!

    P.S.: Since we mostly use walnuts and almonds I exchanged the toasted hazelnuts with toasted walnuts.

  • Hi David, excellent recipe. I used American butter, and the dough came together nicely (after some serious kneading). I did weigh the ingredients, and 140 gr of hazelnuts came to about a cup (not 1 1/4 c like the recipe states). So, maybe that’s why some folks had trouble. Also, the dough is very delicate, so use your finger tips. Thanks for a great recipe – looking forward to more. Happy holidays!

  • I started late with these cookies. I toasted them, and ground in the food processor, but did not read the comments until after I had tried to form the dough by hand. I had 500g of ground hazelnuts, so I used same amount of rice flour and sugar, with 380g of unsalted butter. I ended up moving it all into my big Kitchenaid mixer and let that mix for about 5 min while I cleaned the prep equipment. I then scooped and made logs on waxed paper, and since I’m short on time tonight. I vacuum sealed on gentle pressure, 3 logs to a bag, and into the fridge they went. I hope to bake these after Christmas. I am assuming that using the vacuum seal bags will help keep any off flavors out and not lose or gain extra moisture in the logs. Hopefully I got the ratios correct since I used about 5 1/2 sticks (American) of butter.

  • My daughter and I just made these. They are delicious and have a very interesting texture.
    Instead of toasting and rubbing the skin off, we blanched the hazel nuts (Add some baking soda to the boiling water just before adding the nuts) and then toasted the nuts.
    We will definitely make these again.