Sunday, January 30, 2011
Baci Di Dama
This weekend, we made a trip to New York City for a concert in which Ryan was performing. Our friends Rich and Sara graciously hosted us at their charming apartment in Washington Heights, and as is our custom we arrived with offerings to express our gratitude - a small jug of local New Hampshire maple syrup, and a box of Italian cookies called baci di dama, or lady's kisses.
It seems like the whole weekend was spent eating - our friends' passion for delicious food is in the same category as ours - and we arrived just as Rich was pulling a pan of fresh scones out of the oven. We had dinner at a fantastic no-frills Dominican restaurant around the block, then sampled the beautiful chocolate cake prepared by our hosts. We were all so full that we could scarcely move - but somehow, there is always room for one of these light, crisp little cookies, which are not too sweet and are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.
Baci Di Dama (Lady's Kisses)
from The Italian Baker by Carol Field
125g (about 1 c minus 2 tbsp) blanched (shelled) almonds
125g (about 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp) sugar
1 stick plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp grated lemon zest
125g (scant 1 c) AP flour
1/2 c semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
In a nut grinder or food processor, grind the almonds with 2 tbsp of the sugar into a very fine powder. Add the rest of the sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt and beat or process until very light and creamy. Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Sift the flour over the top and gently fold it in.
Break off small pieces of dough and roll into balls about the size of cherries. Place them on a prepared cookie sheet and flatten them to about 3/8 in thick.
Bake at 350 degrees until delicately golden-brown, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on racks.
To assemble the cookies, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. When the cookies are completely cool, make sandwiches by placing a dollop of melted chocolate between the two cookies.
Notes on this recipe: You can leave out the citrus zest or substitute a pinch of your favorite herb or spice, if you prefer - you can just put it in the food processor in the beginning with the almonds. I made this batch with some loose Earl Grey tea, which led to a lovely almond cookie that was lightly scented with bergamot. I suspect these would also be very good with lavender. If you want to make these ahead, you can make the dough and refrigerate it overnight before shaping and baking the cookies.
Posted by Kate at 5:59 PM