Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bocce Ball Cookies (Almond Butter Sandwich Cookies with Orange Cream Filling)

A special Kissing the Cook welcome to new subscriber, and long time Facebook friend, Pauline Motzko! (Pauline’s “Cookng Up a Storm All Over the World” site is a resource that may be of interest to KTC readers as well.)

Should any readers be concerned that this is a recipe for a cookie inspired by a hard round item of sports equipment, fear not. The real inspiration for this delicious, sweet (and, as always, reduced-fat) cookie is an under-appreciated cocktail called a Bocce Ball, consisting of Amaretto (almond liqueur) and orange juice.

And so we have Bocce Ball Cookies, delicious almond butter sandwich cookies with orange cream filling. If you don’t want to use almond butter, peanut butter might work as well, but since I have never liked peanut butter I didn’t try it. Besides, almond butter comes with some real health benefits! Click here to check out what the folks at had to say about almond butter.

Speaking of ingredient substitutions, it’s possible to use either almond extract or Amaretto when making the cookie dough. The choice is yours. Also worth a mention is the fat-free half-and-half that helps make the orange filling so good. It’s an ingredient I can recommend as an important part of your low-fat baking tool box.

This recipe makes 18 sandwich cookies, each about 2-1/2” in diameter.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, ¾ teaspoons baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt.

In another bowl, using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment, combine ½ cup of very cold butter substitute (I used Smart Balance for its texture, which is firmer than many other butter substitutes), ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup packed brown sugar, ¾ cup of almond butter (either creamy or chunky), and 1 teaspoon of almond extract or amaretto. When combined, beat in 1 egg substitute egg and 2 tablespoons skim milk.

Add the flour mixture to the almond butter mixture and beat till combined to form a soft dough.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, make the orange filling as follows:
  • Melt ½ cup of orange marmalade and 1 tablespoon of butter substitute in a medium saucepan over low heat.

  • Add ½ cup of fat-free half-and-half, little by little, waiting till each addition is incorporated before adding more. (Adding the half-and-half too quickly may cause it to separate.)

  • Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, about 10 minutes, stirring very often avoid burning. Once the mixture is reduced, pour into a separate bowl and set aside to cool until ready to use.

Roll the dough out to 1/8” thick, and cut into about 36 cookies with a 2” diameter cookie cutter. (They’ll spread to about 2-1/2” in the oven.) Bake about 12 – 14 minutes on parchment lined sheets, turning the cookie sheets halfway for more even baking.

After the cookies have finished baking, allow to rest on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to racks till cooled.

Turn half of the cookies over so that the flat sides are facing up. Spread about a teaspoon of filling to each flat-side-up cookie, and allow to rest until the filling has cooled.

After the filling has cooled, gently place the flat side of the remaining cookies on top of each frosted cookie. Serve immediately or, even better, after chilling in the refrigerator.

Also: here’s a link for a bonus “rerun” recipe for your cooking enjoyment! Peach Crepes

Enjoy these delicious, low-guilt cookies! And I hope you’ll visit again next week for another kitchen-tested, reduced-fat recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. These are definitely worth a kiss :-) They look beautiful and they sound delicious. That's a combo that is hard to beat. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Thank you, Mary. I will never turn that down. :-) And a great day to you also!

  3. oh my gosh ben, these look great!
    so worth the hard work

  4. Thanks, Katie! I think you will find these are actually pretty easy: combine the dry ingredients, then the (mostly) wet ingredients, mix them together and let it chill for a while, then roll out, cut into pieces, and bake! :-) The filling is easy too: melt the marmalade and butter substitute, add some half-and-half, and let it reduce for a few minutes. Then just let everything cool and build yourself a delicious cookie. You bake such great things on your site; I hope you will give Bocce Balls a try!

  5. Love the flavor combo, Ben. I love almond butter too and don't use it nearly enough.

  6. Thank you, Lorie. I use almond butter on sandwiches all the time (AB & J?) and thought it would be fun to cook with it. Cookies were just the first thing that came to mind.

  7. These look wonderful, Ben! I know my family would absolutely love these! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Blessings, your friend, Catherine~

  8. Thank you, Catherine. :-) I'm glad you like them! These were pretty popular over here, so I would love to know how your family likes them.

  9. Man, you are so impressive! Low fat?? They certainly don't look it. I like the FILLING. I can't believe you use that Smart Balance (which I've bought) and fat-free Half & Half and you get a nice filling out of that. I MUST try it! BUT: the real reason I came to comment on this post is because of the title: Bocce Ball... I wanted to really say that I have such fond memories of when I was little and walking in McCarren Park in B'klyn with my Daddy, and we'd stop and watch all the older Italian men playing Bocce in the park... You brought back a nice memory for me with your title. :)
    Gloria xx - a couple of "kisses for the cook" for the good memories brought to me!

  10. Thank you so much, Gloria. You know how to warm the heart of a cook. :-) In trying a lot of different things to make low-fat cooking - in particular low-fat baking - work, I have found some useful go-to items for my "toolbox." Egg whites or egg substitutes work for a lot of things. Butter substitutes, too, are very helpful if used right. Fat-free half-and-half is a great way to get a creamy taste and texture. Fat-free Greek yogurt too. There are folks who say things like substitutes for eggs and butter do not work and good low-fat baking is not possible, but I think that is often just what they were taught. I respect that, but my experience has simply been different. (My disclaimer, as always, is that low-fat does not always mean low calorie. lol)