Tanti Baci (Many Baci)

    One of my favorite sweets as a kid was the famous Italian Bacio (kiss" in Italian).  If you are lucky enough to have had some of these you will know how addicting they are.  Like other kids I would jump at the opportunity of any chocolate, but it was these chocolate hazelnut Baci that were really special.  We could only get them around the winter holidays and they would come wrapped in perfect silver wrappers with little blue stars.    

As an adult, we have earned the right to have as much chocolate as we want, but those little silver baci are still hard to find! Especially here in Abu Dhabi. So, I turned to my bloggers and decided to make my own, with a really simple recipe from Z Tasty Life.  The key to making these little masterpieces is once again the quality of the ingredients.  You need really good hazelnuts, fine cocoa powder, and the best dark chocolate that you can find (over 60% cocoa).

You can obviously use any appliances that you have in your kitchen that would make this recipe easier, but since I no longer have any (sad face), I will give you my manual method. After making these a few times, I realized that this would also be a great recipe to make with kids...The chocolates may not turn out looking perfect, but they will still taste amazing!

Chop a little less than a cup of plain toasted, skinned hazelnuts into small bits.  In a bowl, add in your chopped nuts with 1/3 cup of pure cocoa powder and a full 1/2 cup of Nutella. Mash it all together with a fork until well incorporated.  
Then roll your chocolates between the palms of your hands to form little balls (about 1 teaspoon in size).  Place them one at a time on a tray or cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer, and top each with a whole hazelnut.  Put your Baci in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.  When you dip them in warm melted chocolate in the next step, it helps to have them super cold. 

While your chocolates are in the fridge, melt at least 150 grams (more is fine too, as it is actually easier at the end to dip them if there is more chocolate left) of good quality dark chocolate (at least 60%).   You can melt it in the microwave, heating it no longer than 30 seconds at a time (less as it starts to melt) and stirring it well in between zaps.  Or just set it over a double boiler and stir until it has just about melted (then turn off the heat and keep stirring).  In either method, just remember that chocolate is temperamental so you have to be careful not to burn it.

Finally, dunk your Baci in the melted chocolate.  I found that using two forks was helpful for pulling them out of the chocolate (without leaving fingerprints) and shaking off any excess.  

Italians have a slight obsession with Baci, as you can see by the decoration of this Alitalia plane below.  

So now you know a special recipe to impress those Italians in your life any time you want.


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