Baci di Alassio 30.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2016 Dec 1, 2016

These petite treats, made in the Italian town of Alassio in Liguria, are called kisses, perhaps because of the way the pairs of cookies meet, with only a touch of filling between them.

You'll need a piping bag fitted with a medium-size fluted tip.

Make Ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Where to Buy: Toasted hazelnut meal is available at kingarthurflour.com, or you can toast your own; see NOTE.


Servings:
30 small cookies

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 30 small cookies

Ingredients
  • For the cookies
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) toasted hazelnut meal/flour (see headnote and NOTE)
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) good-quality Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) superfine sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey
  • For the ganache
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together the toasted hazelnut meal, cocoa powder and sugar in a medium bowl.

Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer fitted with a balloon-whisk attachment. Beat on low, then medium-high speed until stiff.

Use a flexible scraper to gradually fold in the hazelnut mixture, then the honey. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium fluted nozzle, and pipe small rounds, about 1 inch in diameter, onto the lined baking sheet, leaving space between each. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) for 15 minutes, then transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the ganache: Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat; once it starts to boil, remove it from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let it sit and melt for a few minutes, then stir to form a shiny ganache. Let it sit at room temperature until cool to the touch, then transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer fitted with a balloon-whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until smooth and thick. Do not overbeat, or the ganache will be difficult to spread.

Fill a clean piping bag with the ganache and pipe a small dollop onto the bases of half of the baked rounds. Sandwich them together with the remaining rounds, as for a macaron. Chill in the refrigerator until the filling is set. (You may have a little ganache left over.)

NOTE: To toast hazelnut meal/flour, spread it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 325 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring it every few minutes, until it is dark golden in color and fragrant. Watch carefully; nuts can burn easily. Allow to cool before using.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Italian Baker: 100 International Baking Recipes With a Modern Twist," by Melissa Forti (Quadrille Publishing, 2016).

Tested by Beth Diaz and Jane Touzalin.

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