Valentine’s Day is here. I know it has become a day “used” by many companies to sell stuff you may not buy otherwise, but I still like the idea of a day in which to exchange sweet gifts with the person you love (in Italy, friends are not included on this day… it is strictly a “love affair”). As I have always believed that home-made is better, I have decided to recreate the most classic of Italian Valentine’s Day gifts: Baci Perugina, made with hazelnuts and chocolate (bacio in Italian means kiss). The only Baci Perugina that I have seen here are the small version called Bacetti (little kisses…) which lack 2 of the best things of their bigger brothers: the hazelnut on the top and the messages. In fact, the messages are probably what best represents these chocolates. Whenever you unwrap one, you find a message… a piece of thin paper with a quote written in different languages. The theme is usually love and the quote can be either by very famous people or anonymous. These chocolates are very popular in Italy and they are 90 years old this year… as they were created in 1922! I have always liked them as I have a thing for hazelnuts (and I am a hopeless chocoholic!). I had a great time making them at home and I will also show you 2 different ideas on how to serve them. You can just put them in paper cases or you can try and reproduce the original bacio casing by wrapping them in alluminum foil, this way you can even include your personalised love messages inside! I am really satisfied with the results… actually my husband told me that the baci I made taste much better than the store bought ones, and I think he is right… but don’t tell him or I will never hear the end of it!! 😉 The good news is, they are really easy to make! And I am here to show you how… you are still in time to gift these to your loved one this Valentine’s Day! Have a great day!
Recipe adapted from Mysia
Ingredients (I got 11 out of these, but the original recipe says 14):
50 gms – 1.75 oz. milk chocolate
10 gms – 0.35 oz. butter
50 gms – 1.75 oz. chopped toasted and skinned hazelnuts
50 gms – 1.75 oz. Nutella
11 (or 14) toasted hazelnuts
100 gms – 3.5 oz. dark chocolate
Put the milk chocolate and butter in a sauce pan and melt them over low fire. Mix well.
In the meantime, combine the chopped hazelnuts with Nutella (1). Add the melted milk chocolate (2) and mix well (3). Put this mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden it a bit (4). This will help you to shape your baci.
After 15 minutes, take the chocolate mixture out of the freezer and make 2.5 cm – 1 inch balls out of it. I got 11, but the original recipe said 14. I guess it depends on the chopped hazelnuts. I chopped mine myself (the original recipe had store bought chopped hazelnuts, which will all be approximately the same size)… I put them in a mixer for 5 seconds and I still got some powdered hazelnuts together with the chopped ones.
Anyhow, no matter how many chocolates you get, make sure you have enough toasted hazelnuts to top them with. Apply one on each bacio with a slight pressure.
Put the chocolates back in the freezer to harden for half an hour.
In the meantime, melt the dark chocolate. When melted, let it cool down so that it thickens enough to coat the baci (1). Dip each bacio into the melted chocolate (2) and coat it completey. I used two forks to do this, so that the extra chocolate could easily fall through the tines. Put them on a rack to harden (3-4).
When completely dry, you have 2 options: you can serve them in small paper cases or wrap them in alluminum foil. In this case, you can also add some personalised messages written on baking paper for your loved one and wrap it around the chocolate and then wrap the full thing with alluminum foil. Just like the “original” baci.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! <3