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When planning a trip to Northern Italy, it didn't occur to me stop in Turin, a city best known for the 2006 Winter Olympics, Fiat cars, and a mystical shroud that's supposedly embossed with Jesus' face. Luckily I had a friend who had spent a year there as a student, and he alerted me to a fact that makes Turin perhaps the most desirable city in Italy: it's the home of Gianduja.
The thought of stuffing my face with a variety of chocolate-hazelnut sweets was more than enough to lure me to the city, especially when I learned it's only about an hour and a half by train from Milan. A day in Turin quickly proved that the city has a lot to offer besides gianduja, though of course my focus was primarily still on the sweets.
One such treat was Baci di Dama, or "lady kisses", a sandwich cookie that is traditional to the region of Piemonte. These small, round cookies typically include ground almonds (though hazelnuts are occasionally used) and they're sandwiched around a smooth chocolate filling.
Though the traditional baci are amazing, I've given them a little makeover for Valentine's Day. The cookies now include chocolate and a hint of espresso, which make them just a bit richer and sexier.
Instead of chocolate ganache, I've sandwiched the cookies around raspberry jam. So give a box of these petite chocolate cookies to someone you love. I'm sure you'll get real kisses in return.
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About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios