Gluten Free Italian Lady’s Kisses Recipe
Ciao, and welcome to Tuscany! Here you’ll find beautiful landscapes and food plucked straight from your wildest dreams. OK, not really … welcome to my humble kitchen in Florida. Here you’ll find (hot!) sandy beaches and mosquitos the size of house cats, but still, really amazing food. If you want to dream you’re in Tuscany no matter what part of the world you’re in, try this Gluten Free Italian Lady’s Kisses recipe.
These cookies are modeled after the delicious Italian Baci di Dama cookies (translates to lady kisses), which are made with hazelnuts. Instead, I’ve opted to give this recipe a twist to make it easier by swapping the hazelnuts for the often more accessible nut – the almond.
Recipe notes: This recipe is naturally gluten free and you can easily make it dairy free, just make sure your chocolate chips are free of any dairy. As always, make sure you use pure vanilla extract. The artificial stuff doesn’t taste as good and could even contain gluten. And for the almond meal, make sure it’s finely ground. I use unblanched almond meal from Hodgson Mill to give it that nice speckled look and because I like the way it works in the recipe.
- 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon solid vegetable shortening
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2½ cups finely ground Hodgson Mill unblanched almond meal
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Add the shortening and stir until melted. Let cool while the cookies bake and cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until the egg whites are very thick, 2-3 more minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the almond meal using a large spatula, making sure to fully combine. The batter will be very thick and sticky.
Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, or until the cookies are set and slightly cracked. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies on the parchment paper to a wire rack to finish cooling completely, at least 30 minutes.
Spoon some of the chocolate filling onto the flat side of one cookie, place another cookie flat side down on the chocolate, and gently press the cookies together. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling.
These cookies do not brown much and might not look "done" but if you follow the cooking time, they are done! They will harden slightly as they cool, so do not over-bake them.
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