Italian Cookies (Baci di Dama) are made with two melt-in-your-mouth hazelnut cookies held together with some good dark chocolate. Italian cookies would make an excellent addition to the Christmas cookie platter!

Italian Cookies Baci di Dama with chocolate filling

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Hi guys! Marina from Let the Baking Begin blog here! I hope these Italian Cookies will become part of your holiday traditions. They’re so good!

Italian Cookies Recipe (Baci di Dama)

Originating in the northwest region of Italy, these Italian Cookies are filled with tons of roasted hazelnuts. Combined with the dark chocolate, they remind me of Nutella (or this Ferrero Rocher Cake). Their texture is both crunchy and melt-in-your-mouth tender which makes it so hard to stop at just one!

The Italian Cookies are perfect to serve next to a hot cup of strong coffee or espresso in the morning, or as an afternoon treat. The name, Baci di Dama, means “lady’s kisses” since the two halves of the cookies resemble two lips that come together for a kiss.

Italian Cookies Baci di Dama are made with two melt-in-your-mouth hazelnut cookies held together with a good dollop of dark chocolate.

The secret to Perfect Italian Cookies:

One of the most important things which ensure proper shape and texture of the Italian cookies is to use well-chilled butter. Then, once the cookies are shaped the dough must be chilled once again to prevent melting or spreading in the oven, as well as cracking. The rest of the process is smooth sailing!

Ingredients for the Italian Cookies

  • This recipe can be made with both hazelnut and/or almond flour/meal, depending on your preference. Using store-bought hazelnut or almond flour will give a more tender resulting Italian cookie, so feel free to replace whole hazelnuts with the same amount of hazelnut or almond flour (by weight, 240g). I prefer the cookies with little pieces of hazelnuts still felt throughout the cookie though. For this, I pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor or a coffee grinder until mostly flour-like.
  • Use only well chilled, unsalted butter for this recipe.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the recipe card for the gluten-free version.

Ingredients for baci di dama Italian cookies with ground hazelnuts, butter and flour

How to make the Italian Cookies (Baci di Dama)

  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Add the cubed butter, vanilla extract and beat with a mixer until a dough forms.

Italian Cookies - Baci di Dama

  • Shape the Italian Cookies by using a small ice cream scoop, or just pinch away about 2 teaspoons of dough, then roll into a ball and place on a baking sheet about 1.5 inches apart. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  • Then, preheat the oven to 325 degrees with the baking rack in the middle. Bake the cookies for about 17-18 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Italian Cookies - Baci di Dama

  • In a microwave-safe bowl melt the chocolate chips by heating it in 10-15 second intervals, stirring occasionally, until melted.
  • Sandwich two cookie halves with about 1 tsp of chocolate and allow to set for about 30 minutes before serving.

How to Make Chocolate filling for Italian Cookies

How to Roast and Peel Hazelnuts:

If you aren’t able to find peeled hazelnuts, they peel easily after roasting. The best way to roast hazelnuts is to spread them on a baking sheet and bake @ 325F for about 12-15 minutes, tossing often. Start checking on them from around 10 minutes and remove them when they’re to the desired doneness.

To peel the hazelnuts: remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Transfer the nuts to a ziplock bag and rub them from the outside to remove the skins. Now shake the bag until all skins fall to the bottom. Remove the nuts from the bag leaving the skins behind.

More Christmas Cookies to Try:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Italian Cookies - Baci di Dama

4.93 from 63 votes
Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
Italian Cookies - Baci di Dama
Italian Cookies Baci di Dama are made with two melt-in-your-mouth hazelnut cookies which are held together with some good dark chocolate.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 20 sandwich cookies

Italian Cookie Ingredients

  • 2 cups hazelnuts, roasted, skinned (2 cups = 240g)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 oz cold unsalted butter, cut to small pieces
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Baci di Dama Chocolate Filling

Instructions

How to Make Italian Cookies

  • Line 2 baking sheet pans with parchment paper, set aside. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor or a coffee grinder until mostly flour-like with some pieces that still retain texture.
  • In a large mixer bowl whisk together ground hazelnuts, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the cold cubed butter, vanilla extract and mix until a dough forms with no visible butter chunks. 
  • Using a small ice cream scoop, portion the dough into about 2 teaspoon chunks, then roll each one into a ball. You'll get about 40 dough balls. Set Italian cookies onto the prepared baking sheet about 1.5 inches apart. Slightly tap on top of each hazelnut cookie ball to flatten. See *recipe notes* for how to shape and bake smaller sized cookies.
  • Chill cookies in the fridge for 1 hour. About 45 minutes into it, preheat the oven to 325 degrees with the baking rack in the middle. Bake cookies for about 17 to 18 minutes, or until just starting to brown on top. Remove from oven and cool completely.

How to Assemble Italian Cookies

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips in 10 to 15-second intervals, stirring occasionally until the chocolate chips have melted half way (about 2 minutes). Then, continue stirring until the rest of them have melted completely.
  • Spread 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the bottom half of the cookies. Cover with the other half and press to adhere. Allow to sit undisturbed until the chocolate has set, about 30 minutes. 

Notes

To Make Gluten Free Italian Cookies:

Replace the all-purpose flour (1 cup) and the cornstarch (4 Tbsp) with the same amount of rice flour (1 cup 4 tbsp).

Whole Hazelnut Substitution: 

Start out with 2 cups of whole hazelnuts and grind them yourself, or replace whole hazelnuts with the same amount by weight (240 g) of hazelnut or even almond flour.

To make smaller Baci di Dama:

Cut the dough into 8 pieces and refrigerate. Remove one piece of dough from the fridge and roll it out to about 10-inch long rope, next cut it into about 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a marble sized ball. Reduce baking time to about 10 minutes. Fill with only about 1/2 a tsp or less of chocolate. 

Nutrition Per Serving

117kcal Calories9g Carbs1g Protein8g Fat3g Saturated Fat7mg Cholesterol15mg Sodium69mg Potassium1g Fiber5g Sugar90IU Vitamin A0.4mg Vitamin C11mg Calcium0.7mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Italian Cookies - Baci di Dama
Amount per Serving
Calories
117
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Cholesterol
 
7
mg
2
%
Sodium
 
15
mg
1
%
Potassium
 
69
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
9
g
3
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
90
IU
2
%
Vitamin C
 
0.4
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
11
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.7
mg
4
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baci di dama, hazelnut cookies, italian cookies
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 117

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Italian cookies stacked on a platter

Aside from being amazingly good any time of the year, these Italian Cookies are always a hit at holiday cookie exchanges or cookie platters.

What is your favorite holiday cookie?

Marina | Let the Baking Begin!

Hey! Marina from "Let the Baking Begin" here - your go-to destination for all things baked, sweet and delicious. Come, join my family on a tasting journey through our favorite recipes!

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • KitchenWitchoftheWest
    December 4, 2023

    My dough was too dry to come together and shape, so I drizzled in water, probably 1/3 cup by the time I was satisfied it would hold. Also, only the ones I did NOT gently flatten had the characteristically rounded shape. I added 1/8 tsp espresso powder to the chocolate. The finished cookie is delicate and delicious, a new favorite.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 4, 2023

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me!

      Reply

  • Jade
    December 13, 2022

    Silly question, but for the chocolate filling, could i just substitute nutella? I suppose other than freezing it, there wouldn’t be a way to stiffen the nutella, which is why you’re using chocolate chips? I just think the chocolate hazelnut flavour would work better. Has anyone tried it this way?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 13, 2022

      Hi Jade! I think that would be fine to use Nutella instead.

      Reply

  • NA
    November 8, 2022

    Have you tried making this using vegan butter? Will it work?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 8, 2022

      I have not, so I am not sure how it would turn out. If you experiment, I would love to know the results.

      Reply

  • Esther
    November 3, 2022

    I think the amount of butter in the recipe is incorrect. I believe it needs to be doubled. I added a full stick of butter and the cookies are still dry. I will double
    butter next time. But the flavor is outstanding

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 3, 2022

      Hi Esther, 1 stick of butter = 8 Tbsp or 4 oz. The recipe calls for 5 oz of butter which is 1 1/4 sticks of butter so it does sound like you were short on some butter if only using 1 stick. A good way to double check is to click on the metric button in the recipe card and you will see gram measurements. 1 stick of butter is also 113 grams and this recipe calls for 141 grams of butter.

      Reply

  • NA
    October 30, 2022

    Can I freeze these cookies without the filling and fill them after they thaw out? Will the taste ot texture be affected?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 31, 2022

      I haven’t tried doing it that way to advise.

      Reply

  • Lori
    October 21, 2022

    When you say 40 cookies, is that 40 whole cookies or 20? I only want to start off with maybe 20 to see how they come out so should I halve the recipe?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 24, 2022

      Hi Lori, you may click serving in the recipe card to half and adjust the recipe and ingredients.

      Reply

    • Natasha
      October 24, 2022

      Hi Lori, they are 20 sandwich cookies and 40 halves. Thank you for asking. I will clarify in the recipe.

      Reply

  • Cooper
    July 14, 2022

    Finding a good baci dama recipe is so hard! I always try new recipes with no luck and this recipe was just like all the others. Several of my cookies melted. The smaller versions took way longer than 10 min to cook. I wish there was a simple way to make these because they’re my favorite!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      July 14, 2022

      HI Cooper, I’m not sure why it would ‘melt’ unless there was something happening with how the ingredients were measured. Check out our post on how to measure ingredients for baking which may help.

      Reply

  • Samovila
    December 22, 2021

    These cookies are fantastic morsels of Italy bundled into a tiny cookie. Delicious! For technique, I used a method I found elsewhere that allowed for more uniformity. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment. Press processed dough evenly into pan, freeze for 10 min. Using a ruler, cut into 1” strips; turn and cut again. You end up with 64 (32 cookies) squares to roll into uniform little balls, which makes them easy to pair. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 22, 2021

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

    • Beth Doyle
      May 28, 2022

      good idea, mine are baking now and using my smallest scoop they are larger and I won’t press them together with another cookie, just top with chocolate

      Reply

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