Known as lady's kisses in Italian, baci di dama are traditional cookies from the Piedmont region of Northwest Italy that are often made with hazelnuts. Martha uses roasted chestnuts instead, both in the rich chocolate batter and the creamy filling sandwiched in the middle.

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Ingredients

Cookies
Filling

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cookies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds.

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  • In a food processor, pulse chestnuts until finely ground. Measure 1/2 cup tightly packed, then reserve remaining for filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt. Whisk in 2 tablespoons water (mixture will be clumpy).

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, confectioners' sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in 1/2 cup packed ground chestnuts and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.

  • Place sanding sugar in a small shallow dish. Using a 1-teaspoon ice cream scoop, drop dough into one hand, then roll into a ball. Roll in sanding sugar to coat. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough, spacing 1 inch apart.

  • Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed with slight cracking on top, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer sheets to a wire rack and let cool completely.

  • Filling: Meanwhile, in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together confectioners' sugar, reserved 1/2 cup ground chestnuts, butter, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Spread 1/2 teaspoon filling onto bottoms of half the cookies, then sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently to spread filling to edges. Filled cookies are best eaten the day they are made.

Cook's Notes

Alternatively, transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip (such as Ateco No. 826). From the center, pipe about 1/2 teaspoon filling onto bottoms of half the cookies, then sandwich with remaining cookies.

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