One of my favorite Girl Scout cookies was the Samoa. Ok actually, I really loved the shortbread (they reminded me of Lorna Doone’s, unfortunately over the years they’ve changed the recipe), but Samoa’s were a very, very close second. I’ve always wanted to try to make them myself, but laziness always got the better of me. When I was in Windsor, Ontario not too, too, long ago, I went to the Real Canadian Superstore (Google it, that’s the store’s real name) and saw this on the shelf:
I was so excited because I hadn’t had Samoa’s in a long time, and I thought the packaging was pretty amazing too for a generic food brand. The cookies were pretty good and definitely satisfied, but I started getting the itch to make them myself. A year later (no judging), I put a batch together. Honestly, the real motivator was, I was going through a caramel phase and had a ton of caramel lying around and thought of this recipe. I found a nice, easy to follow recipe on the little epicurean (I have a need to at least start with directions even if I stray from them later) and swapped my own shortbread (read shortbread-ish) recipe for the one posted. I also used unsweetened desiccated coconut (medium shred) and added more salt to the caramel. I will warn you that this recipe is pretty labor intensive, but the results are worth the
weight wait (insert rim shot).
For the shortbread
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound )unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the coconut & caramel mixture
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 c unsweetened desiccated (small cut) shredded coconut, toasted
For the dipping chocolate
- 10 ounces dark chocolate , chopped
Make the shortbread
Whisk together flour and salt. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, then beat in egg and vanilla. At low speed, mix flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half and form each piece into a 6-inch disk, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour. (If you're impatient, pop it in the freezer for 30 min)
Preheat over to 350°F. Prepare parchment lined sheet trays. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles using a floured 2 1/2 inch cutter. Punch out an inner with a smaller cutter of your choice. Bake for 15 minutes until firm and very lightly golden. Let rest on sheet tray until cool to the touch and then transfer to cooling racks.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line sheet tray with parchment paper. Spread coconut into a thin layer on prepared sheet tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pan and stir coconut. Continue to bake at 5 minute intervals, rotating the pan and stirring the coconut until golden in color. Once toasted, let cool to room temperature.
Make the coconut & caramel mixture
In a medium sauce pan, add sugar. Cook over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt. Once sugar begins to liquify, reduce heat to medium or medium low. Swirl the pan once in a while to make sure sugar melts evenly. Continue to melt the sugar until liquid is amber brown and aromatic. Add butter to sauce pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.
Remove sauce pan from heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Continue to whisk until cream and sugar mixture are well blended.
Continue to whisk until caramel is thick and smooth. Let cool until slightly warm to the touch. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the caramel in a separate bowl, then add the salt and toasted coconut and fold until well blended.
Make the dipping chocolate
Slowly melt chocolate in the microwave. Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 45 seconds on full power. Stir chocolate and continue to heat at 30 second intervals at half power until chocolate is melted.
Assemble the cookies
Once shortbread cookies are cool, dip one side into reserved caramel sauce. Then spread about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of coconut caramel mixture on top of cookie. Dipping the cookie first into the reserved caramel sauce helps the coconut mixture to adhere to the cookie. Let cook on rack.
Dip the bottoms of the cookies into the melted chocolate. Let cool on rack upside down until chocolate has hardened and set. (or, you can place them back on the parchment and pop them in the fridge to set)
Once the chocolate is set, turn cookie right side up. Transfer remaining dipping chocolate into a small piping or sandwich bag. Cut a small tip and drizzle chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Let the cookies sit out until drizzled chocolate has set.
Keep cookies in an airtight container for up to three days.