Friday, June 5, 2009
It seems like everyone's favorite girl scout cookie is the Thin Mint. I know it's my husband's. For a few years in a row he'd order girl scout cookies from someone at work and come home with a couple of boxes of Thin Mints. Now, I do like Thin Mints, and never have a problem helping him eat them, but I had to tell him to cut it out and start ordering MY favorite! Samoas... yummmm. Chocolate, coconut, caramel. There's a lot to like in those cookies!
When I came across a homemade version of samoas, I bookmarked the recipe and kept occasionally going back and staring in amazement at it. And then I finally had a good occasion to make them - a family reunion. I know my Mom is a big coconut fan, so I figured she'd help me eat them. Turns out, she isn't the only one. I had a LOT of people helping me eating them. They were so delicious, and tasted almost exactly like the girl scout cookie.
I need to include a little disclaimer that these bars were gorgeous and perfect. I forgot to take pictures until after we traveled to the family reunion and the bars were packed and banged together and smushed. These were the only few that were left after we served them. So imagine them even better looking than you see above - without the chocolate topping cracking and falling apart! :-)
Now, I'm not going to lie and say they were totally simple to make, because they were a bit time consuming. However, they were totally worth it. The only problem I had was dipping them in the chocolate at the end. My bars kept falling apart, so I resorted to using a spoon to scoop up the chocolate and spread it over the bottoms. That worked like a charm. If you like samoas, these are worth the effort.
Homemade Samoa Bars
(from Baking Bites)
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
First, make the crust.
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
2. 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 prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. milk
10 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)
1. Preheat oven to 300° F. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined 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.
2. Unwrap the caramels and place in 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.
3. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
4. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
5. Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper.
6. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) 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.
Makes 30 bar cookies.