I Baci di Alassio (Alassio’s kisses) are delicious dry pastries made with chocolate fudge and hazelnuts, distant relatives of the more common Italian Baci di Dama (Lady’s kisses) but very different from American chocolate kisses (only made of milk chocolate).
It is a relatively recent recipe, born on the wave of the fashion of the sea baths that in the early 1900s brought the first tourists, especially the British ones, to the Riviera.
Alassio owes its fame to the Baci di Alassio, this delicacy combining sweetness and romanticism.
Alassio’s kisses are oval in shape, brown in color, with a flavor enhanced by the presence of hazelnuts and not overly sweet chocolate. Tradition traces the creation of the first Bacio di Alassio to a pastry chef of the Royal House of Savoy. Production spread to the most important pastry shops in Alassio at the end of the 1950s and after the Second World War we started to find the Bacio di Alassio in all publications concerning the city.
Today the Baci di Alassio have become a reference brand of the splendid seaside town and since 2006 they can boast the important D.O.P. labeling (protected designation of origin). The differences of the product derive mainly from the quantity and way in which the different elements are mixed, which continues to remain a secret.
There are many pastry shops in Alassio and all over Liguria where one can find this specialty but the prize for best producer of Baci di Alassio might go to my friend Luciano, and he’s not even from Alassio!
After various experiments, he found the perfect recipe for them and it’s no secret!
His kisses have that perfect compact consistency but they melt in your mouth at the same time but they do not mix in the mouth or become too chewy and they leave you with a persistent and delicious taste of hazelnut and cocoa that accompanies you for hours, if, like him, you use the best hazelnut.
Ingredients for 20-22 Kisses
250 grams of toasted hazelnuts
125 grams of sugar
20 grams of bitter cocoa powder
25 grams of honey
2 egg whites beaten until stiff
A pinch of salt
100 grams of dark chocolate (for the filling)
25 grams of butter (for the filling)
In a mixer, blend the hazelnuts, sugar and cocoa together as finely as possible.
Put the mixture in a bowl and stir in the honey.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, then gently add them to the hazelnut mixture.
Put the dough obtained in a sac-a-poche (the larger kind) and form, on a baking tray biscuits about the size of a walnut, spacing them from each other.
Put the pan in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven at 160 C.
After the rest time, take the biscuits out of the fridge and bake them immediately for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by melting the chocolate with the butter, remove from the heat and bring to room temperature.
Stuff the Baci by combining two biscuits (the flat side) with a little melted chocolate that will act as a glue.
Put them 2-3 minutes in the fridge to make them firm before eating them but do not serve them cold.