Friday, May 9, 2014 Samoa Adjacent

It was a bitter sweet moment when I realized Girl Scouts were no longer standing outside every grocery store tempting me with cute smiles and devilish boxes of deliciousness. I waited, maybe a week, to scour Pinterest trying to find a recipe for homemade Samoas. I love these cookies, they are my favorite second only to the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie but I will probably leave them to the Little Brownie Bakery from now on. There's a lot of time between each step and I like the two steps it takes to open the box and eat a cookie. I did learn how to paint with caramel & chocolate when dipping was too difficult. I got to choose the shape of my Samoa, a circle, a dog, a star & a fleur de lis. (Why do they cheat you out of the hole in the center? That's just more room for caramel, coconut & chocolate!) Overall it was a lovely afternoon with MMcK, while I waited for the cable company.

for the cookies
1 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla

for the coconut topping
2 Cups Shredded Sweetened Coconut
10 oz. store-bought or Homemade Salted Caramels
3 Tbsp Milk
1/4 tsp Salt
8 oz Dark Chocolate

for the cookies
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cream together the Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. In three increments, add the Flour mixture to the creamed Butter. Add the Milk and Vanilla, blending until combined and the dough begins to come together in large pieces. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Once the dough has chilled, cut it in quarters and and roll one section out onto a lightly floured surface until it is 1/8-inch thick. Cut out as many cookies as possible with a doughnut-shaped cookie cutter (I don't own this type of cookie cutter, I used a 1/3 Cup measure to make the circles and I made it a little more interesting with a Fleur di Lis, a star & a puppy!). Place the cut-out cookies on a Silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through, until the cookies are pale golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire wrack to cool completely.

for the coconut topping
Spread the Coconut Flakes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the Coconut for about 10 minutes in a 350ºF oven until toasted, stirring frequently to ensure even browning and so that it does not burn. Remove the toasted coconut from the oven and set it aside.

Melt the caramels, milk and salt in a double-boiler by placing the caramels in a medium glass bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, the waterline should be just at the bottom of the bowl. Cook, stirring, until the caramels are fully melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and combine 3/4 of the caramel with the toasted coconut in a large bowl. (If I make these again I would not combine the caramel and the coconut. I used a Silicon Basting Brush to put on the first layer of caramel but the Coconut & Caramel Mixture was difficult to evenly spread. if the Coconut was toasted but not mixed with Caramel it would be easier to spread and press into the Caramel.)

With a Silicon Basting Brush spread the remaining 1/4 cup of Caramel atop the cooled cookies then press on a portion of the Coconut mixture (or toasted Coconut without Caramel). Let the cookies cool for 30 minutes. If the Caramel-Coconut mixture thickens too much at any point while pressing it onto the cookies, return it to the double-boiler and warm it until it's spreadable again.

Melt the dark chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Brush the bottoms of the cookies with the chocolate and place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Use the brush to drizzle the tops with chocolate. Let the cookies sit until the chocolate hardens fully.

Happy Baking!

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