When my sister first moved to Central Otago to begin her summer working on Felton Road vineyard she had no idea what to expect, and neither did we. We were not familiar with the environment: we did not know the roads she would be driving, or the house she would be living in, or the spectacular scenery she would be surrounded by at the vineyard. From Wellington we could only remind her to wear sunscreen and make sure she was eating something other than toast.

Georgie made these biscuits during her first few weeks of work to take to the vineyard and share with the other workers. I thought it was a good sign she was baking for other people rather than to comfort herself in moments of anxious self doubt and homesickness with half a dozen biscuits.

Last week Georgie was home and my family spent the week cooking and eating and drinking together. It was a good week. Georgie and I made Baci di dama on Monday evening while Mum cooked a piece of aged sirloin (aged sirloin on a Monday night!!). We drank bubbles, ate cheese and Dad conducted a little wine tasting. These biscuits are very easy to make and I imagine they would be more so without all the distractions of wine tasting and bubbly drinking and cheese eating.

Baci di dama means lady kisses in Italian. Eating these biscuits, though, I would liken them more to a tenderly spiky kiss from a softly bearded gentlemen. They are not the sort of satin pillow softness of, say, a mother’s kiss, but they do have a delicate crumb and crunch to them. Ground almond adds a more interesting note than a normal yo-yo biscuit, the sort made with mostly butter and icing sugar.

When you make these biscuits, wherever you are in the world, whoever you are with, bearded gentlemen or little ladies, know that they will be enjoyed by all.

Baci di Dama
These biscuits can be sandwiched together with chocolate or Nutella. I think an almond butter cream could be nice also.

100grams butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup flour

Chocolate filling:
100grams chocolate
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
Stir in the flour and ground almonds until a stiff dough. (Initially the mixture might look like bread crumbs, just keep working it quickly until smooth).
Form walnut sized balls and place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool and thicken. Once biscuits and chocolate have cooled, sandwich biscuits together with chocolate mix, or filling of your choice.

Thank you for the photos and recipe Georgie, x.

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