Masi Samoa are flaky, buttery, coconut shortbread from Samoa, one of the Polynesian countries. These cookies are easy to prepare, not very sweet and just perfect to have with some tea or coffee.
The key ingredient for masi samoa is coconut milk, which gives the cookies a nice subtle coconut flavor. Fat from the milk gives the cookies extra flaky buttery texture. Freshly extracted coconut milk is idea but canned milk works just fine.
More about the Cookies
Masi means biscuits and these are hard on the outside. But since I prefer softer biscuits, I remove them a few minutes early from the oven. Since these are soft, I guess I can call these cookies.
This shortbread is not very sweet and for sweeter cookies, add some extra sugar or sprinkle powdered or confectioners sugar before serving. For regular shortbread cookies, you can try the 3 ingredient cookies or the savory shortbread cookies.
Preparation of cookies is very easy. Cream together sugar and butter, add egg, coconut milk, flour and make a soft dough. Roll the dough, cut into square and bake. Inspiration for the recipe is The International Dinner Project.
- Butter – Use unsalted and if using salted butter, skip the salt mentioned in the ingredients. Vegan butter also works in this recipe, if you want to use up any leftover butter.
- Coconut Milk – Use freshly extracted coconut milk or canned milk. I use canned. Full fat gives the best results but sometimes, when I get health conscious, I use reduced fat as well. These cookies addictive and when you can’t control yourself, use reduced fat is my mantra.
- Dry Ingredients – All-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Sift these together to mix all the ingredients or whisk it well with a whisker or a mixer.
- Vanilla Extract and an egg.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking tray with a parchment or baking sheet paper. In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk or a spoon or sift it (image #1 in below collage). Keep aside until needed.
In a large bowl, take butter and sugar (image #2 in above collage) and beat until soft and creamy. To the creamy mixture add an egg (image # 3) and beat until incorporated (image #4). Then add coconut milk and vanilla essence (image #5), and mix well.
Gradually add flour (image #6 in above collage), mix until wet and dry ingredients are mixed, and soft dough forms (image #7). I used my hand held mixer until this step. You can use a whisk or a wooden spoon also.
The dough will be very sticky and might not form a nice dough with hand held mixture. Lightly flour a board or countertop, transfer the dough to the surface and knead the dough (image #8). Since the dough is sticky, add more flour as needed but do not add too much flour. Knead for few minutes to form a soft dough.
Lightly sprinkle more flour on the rolling surface and roll the dough into ¼” thick square or a circle. Cut the rolled dough into 1 ½” squares (image #9 in above collage) and transfer the squares to a lined baking sheet (image #10).
Gather all the scrapes (image #11) and roll it again and cut it into squares (image #12). Repeat the step if necessary. It is easy to cut the squares with a pizza cutter than with a knife. If using a knife, dip it in flour to stop the dough from sticking to knife.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 22 – 25 minutes until golden brown. When cooled, cookies should be hard and not soft. These cookies will not expand in size/width when baking but will increase in height and rise. Transfer squares to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Serve & Storage
Serve cookies with a cup of tea, coffee or as a snack. Cookies are not sweet and are great to serve with some beverage. Since these are not too sweet you can even sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, before serving. These stay fresh for up to a week in an airtight container.
- Use softened butter for easy creaming of sugar and butter. Leave butter on countertop for at least 15 minutes or cut butter into small cubes if you do not have time to bring butter to room temperature.
- Use full fat coconut milk for best results but, reduced fat coconut milk also works, if you are monitoring your calories intake.
- Dough will be very sticky. So lightly flour the surface before kneading and when rolling the dough. You will need 2-4 tablespoon or bit more of flour. Do not add too much flour. Shortbread is not very sweet and adding more flour could make it bland.
- Use a pizza cutter when cutting the rolled dough. It is easier with it. If using a knife, dip it in flour to avoid dough sticking to the knife.
More Cookie Recipes
more cookie recipes.
Detailed, Printable Recipe
Masi Samoa ~ Coconut Shortbread Cookies
- 2 mixing bowls
- Hand held mixer or a stand mixer or a whisk
- Rolling Pin
- Pizza cutter or a knife
- Baking tray or a cookie sheet
- Parchment or baking sheet paper
- 4 ½ tablespoon Butter Vegan butter also works.
- ⅓ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 100 ml Coconut Milk, approximately ½ cup Use full fat or reduced fat, freshly extracted or canned.
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tablespoon Baking Powder this 1 ½ teaspoon
- Dash of Salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking tray with a parchment or baking sheet paper.
- In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt with a spoon or a whisk or sift it. Keep aside until needed.
- A large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
- To the creamy mixture add an egg and beat until incorporated.
- Then add coconut milk, vanilla essence and mix well.
- Gradually add flour, mix until wet and dry ingredients are mixed, and soft dough forms. I used my hand held mixer until this step. You can use a whisk or a wooden spoon also.
- The dough will be very sticky and might not form a nice dough with the mixer. Lightly flour a board or countertop and gently knead the dough. Since the dough is sticky, add more flour as needed but do not add too much flour.
- Knead for few minutes to form a soft dough. Lightly sprinkle flour on the rolling surface and roll the dough into ¼” thick square or a circle.
- Cut the rolled dough into 2 – 1 ½” squares and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Cookies will not expand in size/width when baking but will increase in height and rise. So you need not leave space for expanding.
- Gather all the scrapes and roll it again and cut it into squares. Repeat the step until you do not have enough scapes. It is easy to cut the squares with a pizza cutter than with a knife. If using a knife, dip it in flour to stop the dough from sticking to knife.
- This time I got 32 pieces. This time rolled dough was slightly thicker than ¼". I got 32 pieces. Usually I get 40-45 pieces. It all depends on the thickness of the rolled dough and size you cut it into. Second, my square are of all sizes as I am terrible at cutting into equal size.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 22 – 25 minutes until golden brown.
- When cooled, cookies should be hard and not soft. For softer cookies, bake a few minutes less. I prefer slightly soft cookies, so I bake for 22 minutes. The cookies in the photos are slightly thicker than ¼". Baked for 23 minutes.
- Transfer squares to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store cooled cookies in an air tight container.
- Yield – Number cookies depends on the size of each cookie. For smaller and thinner cookies, this recipe yields 40-45 pieces. For the thickness and size you see in the photos, recipe yields 32-34 pieces.
- Coconut Milk – Use freshly extracted coconut milk or canned coconut milk. Use full fat coconut milk for best results but reduced fat also works fine.
- Bake Time – Masi means biscuit and hard and flaky. Since I like soft biscuits, I bake them soft, hence calling them cookies.
- Nutrition – Values mentioned below are approximate values.
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This post was originally published in Dec 2014 as part of the bake-a-thon. Post is republished with new content and images. All the bake-a-thon posts in below link.