My Regional Italian recipe series is back after the holiday break. This week’s recipe takes us to Liguria once again. This time, I am going to take you to the little town of Alassio, near Savona in the western area of the region. This little town is very popular for its beautiful sea and is visited by many tourists each year. One of the best known dish of the area are these cookies, called Baci di Alassio (“kisses from Alassio”) because 2 “half cookies” kiss eachother… with chocolate! They are a little less famous than their Piedmontese cousins Baci di Dama and even though I must admit that Baci di Dama are and will always be my favourite cookies, these are really yummy too! Baci di Alassio are made with hazelnut meal (just like Baci di Dama), but their dough is much softer as it contains egg white and no butter. That is why you will need a piping bag to pipe them into shape and they will need to “rest” overnight before being baked (they remind me so much of their “other cousins”, the French macarons!). They are also quite soft and chewy after being baked… so if you like chewy cookies… these are perfect for you! Enjoy and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a $50 or a $25 Amazon.com gift card!
Ingredients (makes about 25):
250 gms – 1 cup Hazelnut meal
230 gms – 8.1 oz. sugar
1 tbsp honey
35 gms – ¼ cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder
150 gms – 5.3 oz. egg whites
150 gms – 5.3 oz. dark chocolate
100 gms – 3.5 oz. heavy cream (for whipping)
Put the hazelnut meal, sugar, honey, cocoa powder and egg white in a mixer and blend until well combined.
Pipe this mixture with a piping bag on cookie sheets covered with baking paper (I used a decorative nozzle). Let them rest at room temperature overnight, then bake them in a preheated fan forced oven at 190°C – 375ºF for about 6-7 minutes. When ready, let them cool down completely on the cookie sheets before trying to detach them or they will break.
Now you can make your whipped chocolate ganache. Put the cream in a little pot and heat it up until almost boiling. Pour it on top of the roughly chopped chocolate and let it rest, without stirring, for 5 to 10 minutes. Now mix it with a spoon and then whip it with an electric hand mixer for 5 minutes.
Pipe the whipped chocolate ganache on half of the baci and put the remaining baci on the top, like a sandwich.
Put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.