Kisses of Alassio

Kisses of Alassio

Baci di alassio

By
From
The Italian Baker
Makes
20

Alassio is a charming town in Liguria where my uncle used to live, in a small apartment overlooking the sea. I also have a good friend from there, so thanks to both uncle and friend I have become addicted to these little treats! They are tiny moments of pure pleasure.

Perfect all year round, but amazing to nibble at a cocktail party or simply enjoyed on a rainy midweek evening in front of the TV, they are pure comfort food. Warning: high risk of overdose!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
240g hazelnuts
35g good-quality cocoa powder
250g caster sugar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
2 tablespoons clear honey

For the ganache

Quantity Ingredient
80ml double cream
80g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Spread the hazelnuts out on the lined sheet and toast in the oven until they have released their oil, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Transfer the cooled hazelnuts to a food processor, add the cocoa powder and sugar and pulse to a fine powder. Place a clean sheet of baking parchment on the baking tray; set both aside.
  2. Put the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a mixing bowl and electric hand-held whisk) and whisk until stiff. Very gradually fold in the hazelnut and cocoa mixture, then the honey. Pour the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium, fluted nozzle and pipe small rounds onto the lined baking sheet, leaving space between each to allow for spreading as they cook. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan over a medium heat and, as soon as it reaches boiling point, take off the heat and add the chocolate. Leave to melt undisturbed for a few minutes, then stir to mix. Leave at room temperature until cool to the touch, then transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a mixing bowl and electric hand-held whisk) and whisk for 2 minutes on a high speed until smooth and thick.
  4. Fill a clean piping bag with the ganache and pipe small dollops onto the bases of half the baked rounds. Sandwich together with the remaining rounds, as for a macaroon. Chill in the fridge and take them out just before serving.
Tags:
baking
cakes
biscuits
Italian
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