Gluten Free ‘Baci di Dama’ (Hazelnut and Chocolate Cookies)

If you’re looking for the perfect bake for Valentine’s Day, look no further than these mini Hazelnut and Chocolate Cookies which are very romantically named ‘Baci di Dama’ or ‘Lady’s Kisses’.

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Baci di Dama originate from the Piedmont region of Italy and were made to celebrate the excellent Hazelnuts produced there. It is thought that the cookies are called ‘Lady’s Kisses’ as the two sandwiched cookies are said to resemble lips pursed together ready to receive a kiss or the two halves symbolise two lovers kissing.

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Whichever explanation you decide to opt for, there’s no doubt that these miniature cookies are incredibly cute. They are also incredibly simple to make and require just five ingredients – great for a last minute gift idea if you’re stumped for what to get someone for Valentine’s Day!

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Baci di Dama (Lady’s Kisses)

Ingredients

100g blanched hazelnuts
100g gluten free flour (I used Schär Mix It! Universal)
60g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
50g good quality dark chocolate

Method

1) Place a dry frying pan over a medium heat, then lightly toast the hazelnuts until golden brown.

2) Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Place the ground hazelnuts into a large bowl, then stir through the sugar and the flour.

3) Rub the butter into the hazelnut mixture and start to bring the mixture together to a form a dough – if the mixture is a little crumbly, add a few drops of water to help it come together.

4) Wrap the dough in cling film and chill it in the refrigerator for two hours to help it firm up.

5) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3. Roll the chilled dough into small ball shapes which weigh approximately 5 grams each, then place the pieces of dough onto baking trays lined with baking parchment and chill the

6) Place the balls of cookie dough into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.

7) Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely while you melt the chocolate.

8) Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow the chocolate to cool for a few minutes, then dip the flat side of a cookie into the chocolate, then sandwich it together with another cookie – repeat until all the cookies have been sandwiched together.

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Baci di Dama over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

 

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Gluten Free Torino

Over the Easter weekend, I went to Italy for some much-needed rest and to spend a little time with my Italian family, who live in the northern city of Torino. Easter is a great time to be in Italy, as so much of the Easter celebrations revolve around food – in fact, I can’t remember the last time I was so full 5 consecutive days in a row!

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Mole Antonelliana in Torino

I’ve been to Italy many times, but this was my trip since going gluten free and was a little worried about finding food I could eat on the go, and a little anxious because the language barrier makes reading labels and menus a little more difficult.

With it being Easter, I actually spent a lot of time at my cousin’s house eating with my family, so I didn’t eat out all that much. Cooking gluten-free at home in Italy isn’t really any different to cooking at home in Britain – the supermarkets have such a great range of gluten-free products and a lot of places stocked Schär products, a brand we are familiar with here in the UK.

As well as familiar brands, there are so many different things to try. It’s not a surprise that gluten-free pasta is so much better over there, but there are also lots of different cakes and biscuits that you just can’t get in England – I even managed to find a gluten-free version of Pan di Stelle, which were my favourite biscuits as a child!

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Before my trip, I did quite a lot of research into Coeliac friendly restaurants and cafes in and around Torino and printed out a restaurant card to keep in my handbag, just in case we ended up going to restaurant and I needed to explain what I can and can’t eat (you can get free cards in 54 different languages here). In the end, I didn’t need to use it as my cousins were fantastic at translating for me and at correcting my terrible Italian, but I will definitely take it to Venice in July.

On my first day in Torino, I was out and about sightseeing with my cousins, who took me to a trendy little eatery right in the centre of Torino (not far from the Mole Antonelliana) called Poormanger. The restaurant is a little unusual for Italy, as they specialise in baked potatoes (which are such a British thing!) but with an Italian twist – there were tonnes of different fillings to choose from and the staff there were really clued up when it came to eating gluten-free. The restaurant was quite busy as it was a super popular place to eat out, but we didn’t have to wait long for a table.

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There are also so many amazing places to grab a coffee or an ice cream and most gelaterias are confident dealing with gluten-free queries, or know which of their flavours contain gluten – most places will serve ice cream in cups, but Grom (which is a sort of chain gelateria) does gluten-free cones.

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It was a flying visit, but I had a fantastic experience in Torino and I’m looking forward to being in Italy again in July when I go to Venice – if anyone has any recommendations for eating out in Venice, please leave them in the comments below!