For those of us in So Cal, it’s Girl Scout Cookie Season! You’re probably being bombarded with salesgirls at work, home, or at your local grocery store. (Which is genius on their part.)
I had to resist the temptation to buy them (even from the little stand in the lobby of my office building, even though I fully believe it’s for a great cause), but that didn’t stop me from making some of my own Samoas for a Super Bowl party.
I’ve had this recipe from Baking Bites tucked away for a couple of years, ever since a friend made them for one of her soirees and I begged her for it. They’re surprisingly easy to make (in bar form), and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I ran out of time to coat the bottom in chocolate, so I just drizzled it on top, but next time I’ll make the effort (and start earlier in the day). The base is pretty crumbly, so I think the chocolate coating would make for a welcome and tasty adhesive. But they’re not entirely lacking in flavor without it!
SAMOAS BARS – Makes 24-30 bars
for the cookie:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
for the topping:
- 3 cups shredded coconut – about 7 oz (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 12 oz good quality chewy caramels (I used a 14 oz bag)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 10 oz dark or semisweet chocolate (for melting)
You’ll bake the crust first, and then add the topping, so preheat your oven to 350ºF. I found the preheating phase a great way to multitask in toasting my coconut, but you can also do it later. Spread the coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I did it on the sheet directly and it was fine). Check on it every 5 minutes and stir it up a bit. You’ll want to toast it for about 15-20 minutes, until it’s golden. Then, let it cool on the baking sheet.
To prep for the cookie base, line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment. (You can also just grease it, but I find parchment is easier for lifting the bars out.)
Cream together the butter and sugar. Then add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add your flour and salt, and mix until just incorporated. The dough won’t come together completely. Pour the dough into the prepared pan, and press it down to spread it evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it’s a light golden brown and the base has set. (You’ll notice the knuckle marks were baked away.) Let it cool in the pan.
If you haven’t already toasted your coconut, set your oven for 300ºF and follow the directions above.
For the topping, unwrap your caramels and put them in a large microwaveable bowl. Use a bigger bowl than I did (stupid cereal bowl), because you’ll need to add the coconut in at some point and still be able to mix everything around without it spilling on every surface in your house. (Or even just the one you’re working on.) Microwave the caramels along with the milk and salt on high for 3-4 minutes. Stop a few times to stir everything together and help the caramel melt. Once it’s smooth, fold in the toasted coconut. (I recommend a silicone spatula.)
Pour dollops of the still-warm caramel over the cooled cookie base, it will be much easier to spread if it doesn’t have too far to travel, and if it hasn’t cooled too much. Then let the topping set, and it’s time to cut. I lifted them out of the pan and tried using both a sharp knife and a pizza cutter, as the original post suggested. I couldn’t tell you which worked better. The base was crumbly, so I was trying my best to preserve it. Maybe it’ll work better to cut them in the pan next time. I guess I’ll find out!
For the finishing chocolate, melt your chips in the microwave in 45 second increments, or you can also use a double boiler. Dip each bar into the chocolate to coat the bottom, and place it on a fresh piece of parchment or wax paper to set. (I skipped this step, no pix, sorry!) Take the remaining chocolate and transfer it into a piping bag or zip-top bag, snip the end, and then drizzle it over the tops of the bars to finish.
Voila, tasty treats you can have year-round. These were a big hit at the party. My favorite part was when I went to grab one, and someone asked, “Have you had one yet?” Truthfully, I answered no. He said, “They’re really good, you’re going to love it!”
And I’m sure all of you will, too. Evil rating of 5 on these, because I’m equally addicted to them as I am to the real thing. (A box should last more than 2 days? Not in my house…)