You guys know by now that I can’t do Friday without something sweet, preferably something with chocolate, so you were probably expecting these.
Since we’ve been living in Chile for about a year and half now there are things that I think we’ve started to forget. I wanted to make something with toasted coconut the other day and I had samoa cookies stuck in my head. When I was little these were my favorites. They happened to be my dad’s favorite too and it somehow made them taste better when he would ask who kept eating all of his cookies. I didn’t even like coconut back then, (I know, crazy right?) but having it disguised in all of that caramel and chocolate kept me from finding out what that delicious “samoa” flavor was that I loved so much.
Anyway, I remembered samoas and asked my sisters if I should make them and they said that they didn’t know what I was talking about! Then they said “What are Girl Scout cookies?” and I was like “How can you not remember them? You poor, poor things!” That decided it then and there. I had to make somoas, or at least my version of them.
I love the traditional shape of samoas. It’s like a doughnut and who doesn’t like doughnuts, right? On the downside though, I don’t have the right shape cutters and rolling out dough, which I usually enjoy, just didn’t sound fun at the time because I had a whole list of things to do later. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! Plus, I’ve always wondered if samoas could be improved by making the cookie part thicker and softer and as it turns out, in my humble opinion, it does. Big time!
So I know I’m usually pretty excited about sharing a recipe with you guys anyway, I mean, isn’t that the point of the recipe blog here? Well, today I’m extra excited because this one is like really, really good! My younger sister Lela shocked me by saying they were, to date, her favorite sweet that I’ve made. Ever. She’s not easily impressed either.
You know how some people have all the luck and can eat whatever they want and it never shows? Well, that’s Lela. I can’t help being a little jealous of her and her hummingbird metabolism. She lives on bologna, top ramen, potato chips and chocolate and is one of the healthiest looking people I know. It’s outrageous. Ironically, my younger brothers hate coconut so I thought these would be around longer, but she doesn’t seem to mind picking up their slack. She’s a team player.
So these may seem complicated but they are really very simple when you make them in bar form. If you can multi-task then this recipe goes even faster. I started the caramel going and made the crust while I stirred it every minute or two. Then I baked the crust and toasted the coconut at the same time and it all came together in about 35 minutes. The only time-consuming part is waiting, first for the bars to cool so you can cut them, and then for the chocolate to set so it’s mostly hands-off time.
I feel a little guilty about these because I feel I will be putting those cute little girl scouts out of business and I keep picturing their sad faces. You see, you may never be able to buy a box of samoas again after these!
- 2 sticks butter
- 3/4 sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups (300g - 400g) semi-sweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and lightly grease a 13x9 inch glass pan (or similar sized pan). Beat butter and sugar until creamed. Scrape sides of bowl and add salt, vanilla, and flour and mix until evenly combined. Press into prepared pan and bake for 10 - 12 minutes until top is light golden brown. Remove and cool.
- Meanwhile, spread coconut out on a baking sheet and toast in oven with crust. Stir every 2 - 3 minutes until toasted. It should take about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Combine sugar, milk, cream, and butter in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a soft boil, stirring gently. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring often, every 60 - 90 seconds, until caramel is thickened and smooth, it should take 12 to 15 minutes depending on your stove.
- When caramel is finished, pour about 1/3 of it on top of shortbread crust and spread into a smooth layer with a spatula. Pour toasted coconut into remaining caramel and stir to combine. Scrape out onto crust and spread evenly, then use a spatula to gently press down onto crust.
- Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
- When bars are cool, cut into squares or rectangles and line a tray with parchment. Melt about 1 cup of chocolate (or more if you want a thicker layer) in a double boiler and dip the bottom of each bar to coat and place on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining bars. Melt remaining chocolate and pour into a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Drizzle over bars then allow them to dry and chocolate to set. If you're as impatient as I am you can stick the tray in the freezer to speed this up.
- Store at room temperature in an air-tight cotainer for up to 1 week.