Sunday, December 4, 2011

Juliet's Kisses (Baci di Giulietta) Cookies

There's nothing quite like a holiday show to give you the Christmas Spirit. Having just attended the delightful  All Wrapped Up (where my friend, Lynn Paulson was the amazing music director - brag, brag - I'm not prejudiced - If you had a super-talented friend wouldn't you like to announce it - in print?). I was finally ready for Santa Baby and The Holly and the Ivy. What I wasn't ready for was Winter Wonderland and Let it Snow. (and I live in Minnesota - why?)

And after intermission - it snowed. Yes, only 3 inches. And yes, heavy, wet, greasy snow - the sort of snow that is stunning to look at - it coats all in a white-furred embrace and shimmers in the dusk. The sort of snow that gives a woman who has "driver's anxiety" even when not driving, even in the summer - pause.

A friend - Mark Paulson - Lynn's talented husband and  /colleague/artist/all-around kind and fascinating person was driving. I do plan well around my anxieties! We had parked in a lot and when figuring out the payment for the day, the parking lot yelled at us to "stop loitering." Twice. Now, I grew up in New York City and a parking lot has never spoken to me - much less admonished me - twice. So, the day began with amusement - "the parking lot voice." And got better - with a show that charmed.

And then I got into my friend's  Miata for the slippery drive home. If you know anything about Miatas - you know they are four inches off the ground.  Three inches of snow expected. Four inches. Hmmm. Worrisome for someone with car/snow-phobia.

Yes, we got home. Yes, Mark told me amusing stories (hitching a ride in Glacier park and getting in a truck with some armed-drunk-people and their 90 year-old mother who smoked all his cigarettes and came on to him when he was - all of nineteen). And more. Telling a playwright stories during an anxiety-ridden drive is ingenuous. My friend knows how to calm.

Once home, I thought about this.

But decided butter, sugar and chocolate was better and did this.

Juliet's Kisses (Baci di Giulietta) Cookies
These cookies hail from - where else - Verona. And come Christmas, the bakeries in Verona are filled with them. But you don't have to celebrate Christmas to know that these tender, soft-crisp sandwich cookies laced with chocolate in the middle are meant to please - all. The recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma book Savoring Italy written by Michele Scicolone.


1 cup (8 ounces, 250 g) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup (2 ounces, 60 g) confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar, icing sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rum (can be omitted - use 1 tablespoon vanilla or almond extract if you prefer)
2 cups (10 ounces, 315 g) all-purpose flour
2 ounces (60 grams) semi-sweet chocolate

Baci Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter, confectioner's sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Then, beat in the rum (or extract).  Stir in the flour 1/4 cup at a time and beat till well-blended. Cover and chill until firm. -about one hour.

Tear off 1 teaspoon of the dough at a time and form into a small ball. Place the balls about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on baking sheet.  Bake until firm - about 12 minutes (mine took 14 minutes - you want them to crisp - so a bit firm but not browned. And they will crisp as they cool. Taste to see - tasting is the fun part.) Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Place the chocolate and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the top of a double boiler. (You can try the microwave - if you are really good about not burning). When water in the bottom is simmering (and not touching the top), stir the chocolate and butter together until they combine. Remove top from boiler and set aside to cool a bit (until it is spreadable - 5-10 minutes). 

Spread a small amount of chocolate on bottom of cookie (I put a small puddle in the center and that worked). 
Place a cookie top on top - pressing it a bit to ooze the chocolate - until it is a sandwich and place it on the wire rack to set. Let cool on the wire rack (10-15 minutes). 

Can store in an airtight container for a week (or in the fridge as I am doing!).

Juliet would be pleased. So would Romeo. And so was family. They encouraged me to continue baking to cure car-anxiety!

And so our oven is on, the heat is on, the Christmas lights are on and still there is a chill in the living room.

Oh! Pip-a-doo knows where all the vents are.

I am thrilled and humbled to announce that Under a Midsummer Moon has been selected as one of two plays to receive a grant by Playwrights in Our Schools to be developed in the winter of 2012. And where will it be developed? Park City, Utah. I skiied there. Before snow-phoia sent in.  It snows a lot. Every day in fact. You have to smile.  


Gina said...

You have me all worked up and I've never driven in the snow. I wouldn't probably have to wait on the curb for someone to take me home. Nice to have friends like that, huh. Congrats on your play, and these cookies look fantastic.

Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty said...

Omigosh - I made these once from an Italian cooking magazine back in the Devonian period and never made them again! I forgot all about them! Why? They are SO good! Yours look just like mine did. I may have to revisit this.

Congratulation on the grant! You indeed have to smile.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

I could probably pop about a dozen right in my mouth with these little gems... they look like a wonderful addition to any christmas tray.. hope you have a blessed holiday season... you started out right! Xo CLaudia

Anonymous said...

Wow, I guess it's time for the snowy weather to start :) Those little cookies look super scrumptious, yummy treats!

Wanda..... said...

The cookies look very tempting! Nice news about 'Under a Midsummer Moon'...congratulations, Claudia!

Kavi said...

I just love your photos so much! :D I actually login to my blogger account & check your updates 1st! :D Lovely cookies!

If possible, do go through the rules of Jingle All The Way and link your post there.. :)

Kavi (Edible Entertainment)
Ongoing events:
Jingle All The Way &
Microwave Easy Cooking

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

CONGRATULATIONS on the grant!!! Hooray!

Your cookies look amazing...I think they'd be excellent with that glass of wine :) And I enjoyed your stories today...yes, those anecdotes would be the perfect distraction from your slip sliding drive home.

TinaRBK said...

I love the winter wonderland pictures, glad you made it home safely with that Miata! Congrats on the grant!
Your cookies do look addictive and delicious. Your description as well as the pictures are very tempting!

Anne said...

I grew up and lived most of my life in cold and snowy places. I now just enjoy the warm weather where it only rains. Having a relatives who live where it snows, I always can visit.
Congrats on the play.
I love where you get all your inspirations for cooking and recipes. These cookies look yummy!

Mister Meatball said...

Holiday cookies.

I can feel my waistline expanding already.


easyfoodsmith said...

Beautiful pics there! Love the cookies...they are looking so tempting.

That Girl said...

I'm definitely ready for the holidays! It's Christmas music city 'round these parts.

Erica said...

Those cookies look delicious!Nice pictures.....Thanks for sharing!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Love your stories - always told so well. But the baci di dama are a real treat - one of my favorite cookies.

Emily Malloy said...

Oh it is all so lovely :)

Rachel said...

oh what delicious cookies.

Jo said...

These looks so good! Yum!

Kristen said...

I am so glad to see these cookies, I just read about them in a cookbook I checked out of the library and had noted them down to try. Now I can use your tried and true recipe instead. So happy for you and the play. Utah roads are well taken care of in the snow...I been through there many times during the winter.

tinyskillet said...

These look wonderful! I think I would be popping these in my mouth one right after another. The pictures of snow is beautiful to look at. We haven't turned on the heat yet, but out window and lanai sliders are open. Just a chill in the 60s. Nice time to bake!

Kathy said...

Claudia, Living in the north east and living through many snow storms...I definitely feel your pain! I hate to drive in the snow. Hibernating and baking seems like so much more fun. Love your Baci di Giulietta cookies...they look delicious.

Kathy said...

Oh, I forgot to say....Congratulations on the grant!!

Lyndaa said...

I'm getting anxious just thinking about driving in the snow! We have dodged the snow we were supposed to get this morning, so I'm very happy.
I also agree that butter and sugar are a great cure for driving anxiety, and these cookies look addictive. got to have them!

Cucina49 said...

Congratulations on your play--what wonderful news! And my cat does the same thing with vents, except that ours are in the floor and she sits right on top of them.

As for the cookies, they're just beautiful and I'm saving the recipe. Italian sweets are the best!

chow and chatter said...

great cookies and there must be so many plays this time of year :-)

Arlene Delloro said...

Love the cookies almost as much as Pip-a-doo.

Arlene Delloro said...

Love the cookies almost as much as Pip-a-doo.

Sandra said...

You have snow already??? I can't way that I miss i, but would love at least few days of snow:))
Also Congrats on your play..
And finally those cookies look FANTASTIC!!! Stay warm and wish you great week ahead!

Amy said...

I have to agree driving in the snow is quite scary! We probably got about the same amount as you as I live in your neck of the woods. Your cookies are lovely, and they sound delicious! I hope you got to enjoy some of the wine after making them :)!

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious cookies looks wonderful

Reeni said...

Congratulations on your play Claudia! I was just sitting here making my cookie list - these charming little cookies are going on it!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, We have a lot in common! Yes, I have snow phobia and rain phobia. I work hard at trying to get over them. I pray a lot!! It works and then I am happy and get ready for another day. BTW~The cookies look wonderful. Juliet would love them I am sure. Congrats on the play. That is a wonderful achievement. Blessings to you, Catherine xo

Proud Italian Cook said...

you're the best story teller ever! I almost forget there's a food post, but those little kisses are to die for!

Crystal said...

These look devilishly good! The Italian version of the French macaroons

Joanne said...

I tend to think butter, sugar, and chocolate are the cures for all of life's stresses. These little cookies sound delicious!

Barbara said...

Claudia, if anyone should be used to snow, it would be someone who lives in Minnesota! :) I have two nieces who live there.
When I lived in Michigan I always loved the first snow...but driving in it is something I never got used to.
The cookies look they are wonderful mouthfuls.
(Love the last photo! Cozy cat!)

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Oh my gosh, what a ride home. At least Mark's stories took your mind off of the snow and you could laugh a little.

Lovely cookies Claudia. What treat. Big congratulations on your play.

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Claudia - neat post.
Love the cookies and their name.
Wilson sits in front of the vents too. Sends regards to Pip.
Congrats on your play.

Kavi said...

thanks for the comment, Claudia! :D Just try cooking a handful of pasta in a small Microwave safe dish first. If you don't like it, you can always use the usual method! :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

I really like this recipe. I'm looking for a new cookie or two to try this year and this just may be one of them. I've never seen them before and I'm always drawn to the unknown. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

vianney said...

congrats!! I love these little cookies, they look amazing. Oh I would have been a ball of nerves, hate driving in the snow!!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

How did I miss this post? My life has been a little hectic of late.

I think almsot everyone who grows up in NYC has "drivers anxiety" Claudia! We learn to drive so late in life and then avoid it in the city at all costs. I love my Subaru when it snows as the all wheel drive really helps!

I was looking at the WS book on last night as I was searching for you love it? The cookies look so pretty and with their chocolate center I'm sure they taste so good. I love their name!

Congratulatiosn on another successful play to be published!

I htink your Pip-a-Doo has the right idea..snuggle up!

Christina Kim said...

Oooh, for snow on Christmas!:) Plays, snow, cookies, and everything, what better way to welcome Christmas ;)

Velva said...

So, it will Utah for you! Awesome. Congratulations.

Sorry the cold and the snow have set into Minnesota. I admit when I think Minnesota, I think cold.

Happy holidays to you!


Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

Wow !! I just love these cookies, but I would love them even more, if they were called Baci di Romeo ;D

Magic of Spice said...

Looks so beautiful, but I would probably not be able to drive in it...very winter wonderland though :)
These cookies are wonderful...I would have had the wine too :)
Congratulations on you grant, that is just fantastic!

Pam said...

Congrats on your play and the cookies too! They look excellent and are my idea of a Christmas cookie. I will enjoy following you to see more great recipes!

Savoring Italy said...

So happy for your and your play. I just love your posts. These baci are just delicious:)We just baked some baci di dama. They're so much fun to make with the kids:)xx

Jeannie said...

I am collecting cookies recipes and this will definitely be on the list! Love reading about your ride in the snow:D and congratulations on your grant:)

Angie's Recipes said...

wow SNOW! No sight of snow here yet...this winter is soooooooooo mild.
Those cookies look buttery and melt-in-mouth. I would go for the vanilla too.

Angie's Recipes said...

Oops, forgot to say hi to Pip-a-doo..meow, Pip-a-doo.
Keep purring,

tasteofbeirut said...

First of all, congratulations on the grant for the play: this is so exciting!
These cookies look just adorable. I remember buying them in big bags, never thinking they could b that simple to make. Perfect to have in store for visitors, a common occurrence here in the Middle-East.

Elena said...

Congrats! Love the cookies photo.

Laurie said...

Congratulations.. I wish I could see one of your plays! Last year for a "spring" retreat I had to drive up the mountain in snow.. the retreat was amazing, but I refuse to go this year because I haven't recovered from the trauma of the drive. :)
and I need one of those sweet kisses! xoxo

Sudha said...

Hello Claudia,
This is the first time I'm here and I'm so glad that I found your wonderful blog:)You have a whole place of amazing and interesting recipes!Congratulations on your new play!I am following you from now on and shall be back soon for a good peer at all those delectable dishes.Do drop by my place sometime!P.S-The pumpkin flowers at the top of the page look awesome:)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely well written post, my dear Claudia!!

Your writing is very enthousiastic!
Here in Mechelen, Belgium, near Antwerp , it hasn't been snowing yet, maybe at Christmas???

Your little Verona treats are looking so appetizing! Another must make!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, ...!!!

Anonymous said...

And by the way: I forgot: Congrats for your play! That's the way to go!!!! :)

Beth said...

Congratulations on your grant! You are such a talented woman, and I'm thrilled for you. (Please let me know if any of your shows are put on in Toronto. I'd love to see one sometime.)

And distraction, in the form of amusing stories, can be a very effective tool.

Anonymous said...

hey, I loved this article so I decided to link it into this post ( at the section Veronese cuisine. Hope you don't mind. Have a fine day!:)