Nocciola Baci (Hazelnut Kisses)

from ButterYum
recipe adapted from David Lebovits via Teressa Murphy
makes 35 tiny sandwich cookies

1 1/4 cups (140g) hazelnuts, skinned, toasted, and ground** 
1 cup (140g) rice flour** (or all purpose flour)
3 1/2 ounces (100g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 ounces (55g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

To make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a BeateBlade attachment, combine the ground nuts, rice flour, butter, salt, and sugar until it forms into a dough; chill for about an hour.  Roll marble-size balls of dough about 3/4-inch wide (5 grams for those of us who have "Baking OCD") and place on a parchment or silicone lined sheet pan; return to refrigerator and keep chilled until you're ready to bake.

To bake the cookies:
Preheat oven to 325F.  Bake for 8-12 minutes; allow cookies to cool completely on sheet pan. 

To assemble the cookies:
Gently melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a double boiler.  Place a chocolate chip size dollop of chocolate between two cookie halves; set aside until chocolate sets.  Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

**To make rice flour:
Pulse uncooked white rice in a spice mill or coffee grinder until very finely ground.

**To blanch and peel hazelnuts:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a 4-quart sauce pan (you need a large pan because the water and baking soda will bubble up a lot).  Add baking soda to boiling water; add hazelnuts and boil for 3 full minutes (don't be alarmed when the water turns black; this is to be expected).  In the meantime, have ready a bowl of iced water.  After 3 minutesremove hazelnuts from boiling water and plunge them into the iced water to stop the cooking process.  Slip hazelnuts out of their skins and allow to dry.  Toast hazelnuts in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes.  Cool completely and pulse in a food processor until finely ground (should resemble dry cornmeal or polenta).