Our love for hazelnuts and chocolate is no news or mystery. There are many recipes from our childhood that we absolutely adore, and Baci di Dama is one of them.
Never attempted to make them before, this recipe on Food52 actually captured our attention. The simplicity of the ingredients in particular, and the quantities: for some reason, they are incredibly balanced. Easy to make, although they require some care and time to rest in the fridge. Better to do them in winter, as in summer working the hazelnuts and butter might get tricky. Still, they can be easily done and just require more time to set in the fridge.
100g Toasted Altalanga Hazelnuts
100g Butter - cubed, super cold
100g Dark Chocolate
1. To make hazelnut meal (skip if you have it). Place the hazelnuts and the blade in the fridge before hand, this way the oil released will be minimal. Blitz the hazelnuts in the food processor, till almond meal consistency. While you prepare the other ingredients, rest the hazelnuts in the fridge.
2. Like every good shortcrust pastry, it must be worked quickly, with really cold ingredients. Combine the butter with flour, sugar and hazelnuts with your fingers, then knead till it's even and smooth. Make a dish shape, place in the fridge for at least an hour .
3. Time to make the Baci. Take the dough out of the fridge, make small balls trying to be consistent. Use a teaspoon to help you measure. Place them on a non-stick baking sheet, then place in the fridge again for a couple of hours (see why winter is also better than summer for these goodies?).
4. Heat the oven at 135°C forced fan, then bake for 15 minutes or until the little balls become hemispheres. If you see that they start sweating, lower the temperature or take them out of the oven for a few minutes. Let cool and resist the temptation of eating them all before the time is right, also don't touch them as they are incredibly fragile. Once cool, they are ok to handle.
4. For the cream: heat 100g Dark Chocolate in a double boiler, take off the heat when is 80% melted. Stir and let cool down, until at the right consistency to be spooned into the baci.
Wait a little for the chocolate to set (so it won't dribble on the side), then place the other hemisphere, leave to set for a few hours.
How to eat them? Tea, coffee, on their own. Our way is very special... Split them, eat the part with no chocolate first, then combine the two with chocolate to create a double decker. Yes, evil genius!