Baci di Alassio (Kisses of Alassio) are small chocolate delicacies with a creamy heart, a delicious reinterpretation of the traditional Baci di dama (Lady's Kisses). The smooth taste makes them suitable for snacks and tasty breakfasts. Born around 1910, the biscuit takes its name from the homonymous Ligurian town in the province of Savona, which, thanks to this sweet, has become part of the Club "Chocolate City" and of the Route of the Kiss. In 2006, the Kisses of Alassio have obtained the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) certificate. According to the tradition, the first Kiss of Alassio was created by the pastry chef of the Royal House of Savoy, Rinaldo Balzola. Initially, it was exclusively produced by the Coffee Pastry Balzola, a historical patisserie of Italy, but later it spread in the most important bakeries in Alassio. The original recipe is kept secret, so that several differences arise from bakery to bakery in the product.

300g shelled hazelnuts
200g sugar
2 egg whites
25g cocoa powder
20g acacia honey

For the cream:
100g dark chocolate
70g fresh cream

Using a mixer, mince hazelnuts with sugar. Place the mixture into a bowl, adding both the honey and cocoa powder, and mix well.In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt (the egg whites will be firmer) and add to the mixture of hazelnuts. Stir gently with a spatula from the bottom to the  top, avoiding that egg whites liquefy again.
At this point, transfer the dough in a sac-à-poche (or pastry bag) provided with a large star-shaped spout and form many tufts appropriately spaced a few centimetres on an oven plate covered with baking paper. Bake the biscuits in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Once ready, remove them from oven and wait until they are completely cooled before removing them gently from the paper.
Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and place it in a saucepan to melt in a double boiler, taking care that the chocolate does not come into contact with water. Add the fresh cream and mix until it becomes creamy. At this point, remove the saucepan from the heat and, once the chocolate cream is cooled down a bit, use it to join the cookies in pairs.Before serving the biscuits to your guests, let them stand at room temperature.
Tips:The cookies can be stored at room temperature for about fifteen days.