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Chewy Amaretti Cookies & Samoas Bars

12 March 2009 8 Comments

amaretti cookiesSince I recently lost some weight, I often get asked, “How do you bake like that and still stay skinny?”

Well, I think I’m still pretty far from skinny. But the secret to not eating all the cookies or whatever is to spread it around! So, I bring goodies to the monthly staff meeting at work. That way, I eat a couple myself (just to test, of course) and give the rest away. Voila! Temptation averted.

As many of those who like to cook do, I have stacks and stacks of recipes I’d like to try. I expect that if I made 2 or 3 of them every day for the rest of my life, I’d still never get through them all. And the stacks grow every day.

Establishing this routine has given me a venue to try a couple or 3 new recipes every month. All of my coworkers know they are my guinea pigs and that I usually haven’t tried the recipes I bring, prior to that time. Occasionally, one is a complete failure. Some recipes are more popular than others. Interesting trends in eating habits are revealed. For instance, I always have more leftover cookies at the end of the day in January than any other time. Hmm, I can’t imagine why…

I have a lovely little spreadsheet to keep track of what recipes I’ve already done, but now that I have this little online spot just for me, I can share pictures and details of the recipes I try each month. Hence, Monthly Munchies is born! Care to play along?

Our staff meeting is usually held on the second Thursday of every month. So I’ll be posting that Thursday or the day after, each month, about the recipes that I make. If you’d like to do some Monthly Munchies, just send me the link to your posts and I’ll add ‘em in.

On to this month’s selections!

Chewy Amaretti Cookies

My yield: 147 cookies

Chewy Amaretti Cookies

Source: Epicurious.com

Notes: These are very popular today. They came out to only 12 calories each, so you can eat a handful without feeling guilty, and they are sweet, crunchy yet chewy, and delicious. AND, only 3 ingredients and super simple to make. I skipped the sandwiching part and just served them as is, but I can see lots of opportunities for these – like sandwiching some dark chocolate ganache in the center, for instance.


  • 7 ounces almond paste (not marzipan; 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites at room temperature for 30 minutes


Preheat oven to 300°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large (17- by 12-inch) 4-sided sheet pans with parchment paper.

Pulse almond paste and sugar in a food processor until broken up, then add egg whites and pulse until smooth. Transfer to pastry bag and pipe 3/4-inch rounds (1/3 inch high) about 3/4 inch apart in pans. Dip a fingertip in water and gently tamp down any peaks.

Bake, rotating and switching position of pans halfway through, until golden and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes.

Wearing an oven mitt, rest 1 pan in sink at an angle. Lift top edge of parchment and slowly pour about 1/4 cup water between parchment and sheet pan so that all of parchment is lightly moistened (water will steam on pan, moistening bottom of cookies to help them stick together later). Repeat with remaining sheet pan. Cool cookies in pans on racks.

Note: I skipped this step. The cookies just popped right off the pan so this would only be necessary if you’re doing the sandwiching thing.

Peel cookies from parchment and sandwich bottoms of cookies together

Cooks’ note: Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature 1 day or frozen up to 1 month.


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 12
Fat: 0g, Sat Fat: 0g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 0g

Samoas Bars

9x13 pan

Samoas Bars

Source: slightly adapted from BakingBites.com

Notes: Another big winner! Very rich and decadent and so much better than the Girl Scout variety. One girl in the office is ecstatic since she has never been able to get the GS ones because she is allergic to soy. Homemade is better! I have used the exact recipe, but changed the method of doing these slightly from the original, just to make them easier.


    Ingredients for Base:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips ok)
  • Ingredients for Topping:
  • 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 12 oz Kraft caramel bits (now available in baking aisle at grocery stores) or traditional caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (chocolate chips ok)


Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray for baking. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. As soon as you remove pan from the oven, pour 7 oz chocolate over top of shortbread and return to the oven for a couple of minutes, until soft and spreadable. Spread chocolate evenly over base. Allow to cool completely, until chocolate has solidified (chill to speed this step, if desired). Flip over onto a sheet of parchment and peel off foil. The chocolate has now become the bottom and the bottom of the shortbread is now the top – ready for its caramely-coconuty topping.

Reduce oven heat to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Pour caramel bits into a large microwave safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.

When cooled, cut into 1 1/2″ squares with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping). Once bars are cut, melt remaining chocolate (approx. 3 oz) in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave 20-30 seconds, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching, adding 10 second intervals as needed until smooth. Transfer into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 171
Fat: 9g, Sat Fat: 7g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 11g
Protein: 2g

Amaretti on FoodistaAmaretti
Girl Scout Samoa Chew Bars on FoodistaGirl Scout Samoa Chew Bars

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  • bakingblonde said:

    I love your blog, I have been eyeing that Samoas bar recipe for some time, your pics look great!

  • admin said:

    Thanks! I’ve visited yours many times, too. The Samoas are great! The girl at work who couldn’t have the Girl Scout variety took the recipe home and said she put the chocolate on top of the cookie base, then put the topping right on top of that while it was still warm and it worked great, too. Easy, quick and yummy!

  • stephchows said:

    I am a huge fan of these cookies, I made a batch and used them in a cheesecake. It was the best thing I’ve ever baked in my life. hehe So tasty!

  • admin said:

    Yum! That sounds incredibly decadent!

  • kirbie said:

    Wow, I really want to try the Amaretti cookie recipe. The picture is gorgeous and I can’t believe how few calories and sugars are in these cookies!

  • Digigirl said:

    I know, can you believe it? Of course, part of the reason they are low is because it makes lots of little cookies. The trick is not to eat ‘em by the handful! :D They are super quick and easy, too.

  • Nicole said:

    Help! Why did all of my chocolate peel off the bottom of my cookies?!

  • Digigirl said:

    Hey Nicole – I’m not sure. Did you use parchment paper? The chocolate would probably stick to anything else, like foil, so if not, that may be your problem. Or perhaps the chocolate wasn’t fully solidified before you flipped it over? Sorry this happened for you!

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