First thing first: The real Lady’s Kisses have nothing to do with cookies in the picture I posted. I come from the land where Baci di Dama (the Italian name for these cookies) were born and I can tell what I baked is nowhere near…:D
That said, the story of these Modified Lady’s Kisses started two days ago when a friend of mine told me last cookies I baked (Choco Almonds Horns) looked like the ones from a pastry shop. So I thought it would have been challenging to see if also my home made Lady’s Kisses would have looked as good. Between a thousand recipes I chose the one from Martha Stewart book ‘Cookies’…Yeah ok, I should have known better: it’s like asking an Italian to make Banana Bread or Carrot cake. But my unfailing trust in her made me think it was a good idea! I started whisking eggs whites, stirring cocoa, sugar and almonds…and then I thought: ‘Where’s the flour?…and BUTTER???!!!’. With my big surprise there was no butter in the recipe. No Sir. Not even a spoonful…I suddenly realized what I was baking sounded more like a meringue with some almonds in it. But I was already half way, so I decided to go on. I opted for a different filling to add a twist (and basically cause I had to kill those 10 strawberries I had in the fridge). Beside my personal odissey, I would say they turned out really good and matched perfectly with the strawberry cream cheese filling, but Lady’s Kisses are far cry from them. Never mind, I’ll try a different recipe soon!
For the cookies:
– 2 large egg whites
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
– 1 1/2 medium-finely ground blanched almonds
For the filling:
– 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
– 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 8-10 strawberries (or same weight in raspberries)
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Make cookies: Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until egg whites form stiff peaks . Add the sugar slowly; continue beating until egg whites are very thick, 2 to 3 minutes (adding a pinch of salt at the beggining usually helps to have a thicker result). Beat in cocoa until combined. Stir in almonds; mix until completely blended. Batter should be quite thick and sticky.
- Transfer to a heavy pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch sound tip (I used Ateco #846, but it is up to you). Pipe teaspoon-size, peaked mounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart.
- Bake until slightly cracked, 15-17 minutes, rotating sheers halfway through. Let cool on sheets several minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Make the filling: Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Soften cream cheese beating. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.
- Chop strawberryes and fold them in to the cream cheese. Gently stir them with a spatula.
- Turn half the cookies over, bottom side up; dollop each with about 1 teaspoon chilled cream-cheese filling. Top with remaining cookies, pressing gently to spread filling to edges.