“A kiss was a kiss- to be enjoyed to the utmost for its short moment.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Beautiful and the Damned”
Kisses are delicious. Chocolate kisses. Mmmmm…. What could be better? Italian chocolate kisses. Perhaps I’m biased with my handsome italian husband, but move over Hershey’s because BACI are the real deal. And like any good lip-lock, BACI are best enjoyed with your eyes closed.
If you are not familiar with BACI, they are hazelnut and chocolate candies packaged with a little love note. Here is my recipe for a homemade version of this sweet concept.
I know Valentine’s day has come and gone, but how about we celebrate love every day? This will, of course, necessitate eating chocolate every day. We are victims of circumstance.
Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut BACI
To make the BACI we first make the nutella base of the candy. The reward for this is that you will have left over homemade nutella to spread on a toasty baguette.
2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder * Scharffen Berger is fantastic
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt (*I used fleur de sel)
* as with all cooking, the quality of your ingredients directly affects the distinctive character of your food.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Roast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and until toasted brown and fragrant, 70-75 minutes, shaking the sheet every 20 mins or so to re-situate the nuts. Low and slow is the way to go here.
Transfer the hazelnuts to a medium-sized bowl to cool. The nuts will crackle and sizzle as they start to seperate from their skins.
Once the hazelnuts have cooled, place a second bowl upside-down on top of the bowl with the hazelnuts. Shake the bowls to help remove the skins of the hazelnuts. Then, in small batches rub the hazelnuts against one another in a clean kitchen towel to remove the peskier skins. Some of the nuts won’t want to “get naked” and that’s ok.
Blend the hazelnuts in a food processor until their oil is released and they form a smooth paste.
Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, hazelnut oil, vanilla extract and salt and process until fully uniform and glossy. You may have to coax the ingredients with a rubber spatula off the sides of the processor.
Transfer the spread to a jar with a tight lid. Homemade Nutella may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Yields about 2 cups.
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips *Callebaut Chocolate is divine
1 1/2 tablespoon hazelnut oil
3/4 cup roasted/shelled hazelnuts
3/4 cup homemade nutella
22-26 hazelnuts for garnish
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
0ptional- sprinkles of fleur de sel
In a double boiler over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup of chocolate and hazelnut oil. Remove from heat and add the chopped hazelnuts and homemade nutella. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until firm enough to roll into balls.
Roll between your palms into 1″ balls, press a hazelnut on top, and place back into the freezer for a few more minutes to harden.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 cup chocolate in a double boiler over low heat.
When melted, take the bowl of the boiler off the heat, take the chocolate balls out of the freezer, and dip in the melted chocolate. I found it best to focus on dipping the top and then swirling the candy upside down to remove excess and create a pretty “kiss” top. Place the BACI on waxed paper, sprinkle with fleur de sel and let cool. Yields 26, give or take.
BACI can be stored at room temperature for a couple weeks, but consume sooner rather than later for fullest flavor. It won’t be difficult.
I love packaging almost as much as I love cooking, so I printed onto these kraft bags from Paper Source “tanti baci.” Its how Nonna signs off on all her letters. I was also able to feed a sheet of kitchen waxed paper through my inkjet printer to make the love notes. Wrap the baci in foil along with a love note and give to whomever you wish to share a kiss!
Chocolate & Kisses Every Day.
BACI Every Day.