Once the hazelnut and chocolate cake was gone from last week, I found myself craving hazelnuts again very quickly. Luckily for me, a traditional dessert in Liguria is Baci d'Alassio. These bite sized morsels employ that same decadent combination: chocolate and hazelnut. Though these are time intensive since you have to let them sit overnight (will I ever choose a recipe that isn't time intensive?), they are fairly simple to put together. Pair these with a cup of espresso and you have a fantastic mini dessert!
Adapted from Food Network
3 cups hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-5 egg whites, room temperature
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- After roasting and peeling the hazelnuts, grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until it is a fine powder. Place in a large bowl and mix in the sugar.
- Add the butter, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the egg whites, a little at a time, and mix well between each addition. Add enough egg whites so that the dough becomes the consistency of a loose paste. You may not need to use all of the egg whites.
- Grease 2 baking sheets. Spoon the hazelnut spread into a pastry bag with a No. 6 star tip. If you don't have a pastry bag (which i don't), spoon the mixture into a ziploc bag and cut the tip off of one of the corners of the bag. This will then serve as a pastry bag.
- Pipe out rosettes 1 inch in diameter onto the baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. You should have about 60 rosettes in all. Let the rosettes sit overnight, uncovered at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the cookies until firm to the touch, but still moist inside, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally.
- Take one cookie and hold it upside down. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon chocolate onto the bottom of the cookie, and press a second cookie onto the chocolate, bottom side down, to form a sandwich. Lay the cookie sandwich on a tray. Do this with the rest of the cookies, giving you 30 sandwiches total.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the chocolate.
Ryan's rating of Baci d'Alassio - 3.5. (Keep in mind that he doesn't like hazelnuts. Again - inconceivable.)