Friday, February 14, 2014

Baci di Dama

Baci di Dama - I had not heard of these little cookies until I saw a post from Baking Bites. They intrigued me, so I did some research on them. I read that the name means 'lady's kisses' so these seem like an appropriate cookie to write about today, Valentine's Day.
I thought they looked really cute, plus the flavors are chocolate and hazelnut, which I really like together. We have a huge jar of hazelnuts and SP likes nutty cookies. He was intrigued be these as well, so we decided to make them.
The dough is very easy to make in the food processor. It looked like a nice, smooth, coherent dough - until I started trying to shape little balls. The above is what happened when I started to roll a pinch of dough into a ball. It crumbled. Not just in my hand, but onto the table, the floor, it seemed like it crumbled everywhere. Ugh. That was the first one and I immediately was discouraged. So many of these to make (supposedly about 70) and the dough was a crumbly mess! So I called SP back into the kitchen to help.
After a couple more attempts, we 'perfected' a pinch and turn technique - just sort of repeatedly pinching/smushing the dough together and turning it until it was pinched into a wee ball. Tedious. Annoying.
Our balls gradually increased in size. They went from 1/2 inch diameter to almost an inch diameter. Oops. Oh well. The baked mini domes with cracks on top smelled amazing and looked promising:
After they cooled, I melted the chocolate and assembled the cookies. They are very cute. Sadly, ours were not uniform in size:
They tasted... well, we're kind of torn. I had a very hard time biting the cookies because they seemed quite hard. Perhaps we baked them too long? But they were golden, not darkened or burnt. The cookie texture seemed off. I expected a shortbread texture, melt in your mouth, buttery, hazelnut cookie. Ours were way too crunchy and kind of dry and I kept thinking I was eating meringue cookies. I ended up twisting my cookies apart, eating each a half at a time.

In spite of neither of us much liking the texture, we couldn't seem to stop popping them in our mouths. It was like we were convinced the next one would taste better.

After 2-3 days, we were avoiding the cookies and trying to pawn them off on each other. When I say I'm not hungry for dessert, I usually really mean I just don't want dessert because what we have is... yucky. All the cookies were finally eaten, but it took nearly 2 weeks. That's a long time for homemade cookies to last in this house!

I would try Baci di Dama again, maybe research more recipes and try one a little different. I'm almost certain we must have done something wrong, like mixed the dough too much or baked them too long. Maybe try one of the recipes with a little lemon or orange zest, maybe zest would help keep the cookies moist? Maybe bake them for less time? A different nut? Cake flour instead of all purpose flour? They were an awful lot of work for something we ended up not enjoying all that much.

Baci di Dama recipe from Baking Bites blog can be found here.

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