Last week a coworker mentioned wanting “those coconut girl scout cookies with chocolate,” and I thought YUM, Samoas! A while back I’d find a whole arsenal of homemade girl scout cookie recipes, but somehow I’d forgotten about them and never gotten around to actually making them. In this case, since the opportunity had arisen, I figured it was about time to give ‘em a go!
The recipe I decided to use comes from Baking Bites, one of my go-to blogs for all things baking. I decided to tackle the cookies on a weeknight, which was a bad idea but I hadn’t considered it at the time — these cookies are much more time consuming that I’d thought! But nevertheless I got them done in one night, and they were sooo yummy. I didn’t cut the centers out like real samoas, that little touch seemed too difficult, and why not allow for more surface area to pile on the caramely-coconut?
The individual components of these cookies are all easy enough to make, but I’d recommend trying them on a weekend, or maybe making the cookies alone a night before you assemble them. The caramel and coconut mixture must be used as soon as it’s melted, otherwise it hardens into one big block, so you’ve got to have the timing right. These little beauties are worth the effort though, they were a huge hit at the office, and my family loved them too when I brought them home for the weekend.
Homemade Samoas (aka Caramel de-Lites)
1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (add the milk a bit at a time — you may not need much, or any at all). The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.
3) Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or slightly less — the thinner the cookies, the crispier they are when baked) and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole (I omitted this step, and they were great!). Repeat with remaining dough.
4.) Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 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. Be careful not to burn the coconut! Check frequently to make sure it’s not getting too toasted. 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. Alternatively, you can melt the caramels with milk and salt on the stove-top in a saucepan over low-medium heat. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
3) Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with.
4) While topping sets up, 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 cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
5.) Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.
These cookies were great, as I sit here writing about them I wish they would just magically appear on my counter! I can’t say that they will replace the box or two I buy from girl scouts every spring, but in the interim they’re a pretty darn good substitute. It’s comforting to know that in the absence of the real thing, there’s a close substitute that you can make in your very own kitchen.
After I made the samoas, I was inspired to try another girl scout recipe, so that’s coming up soon! I think I might try yet another one in the next few weeks too — I get a kick out of trying to replicate such classic American favorites!
With love, and sugar. Enjoy!