I can't possibly be the only person who has to map out a budget to buy those tiny, colorful boxes of Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, and my favorite Samoas. It was one thing when those doe-eyed tots would show up at my door with that seductive, glossy order form, explaining how the sale of these cookies is going to help finance their camping trip in the summer. Then it was quite another when their parents stopped sending the girls out on their own (no doubt from the terrifying number of creepers out there) and began sending out mass e-mails encouraging their co-works to stop by and buy a few boxes. And that is all fine and well because either way I still got my cookies - but then the unthinkable happened.
The cookies became smaller. And those green-sashed scam artists started putting fewer cookies in each box. The price stayed the same, and at this point I'm starting to think I'm paying upwards of eighty cents per cookie (math not actual) but no matter how you slice it, I couldn't keep at it. God bless this little darlings, learning to make s'mores for their cooking badges and what have you, but my bank account is no longer Girl Scout Cookie friendly.
Unfortunately, my firm stance against purchasing such overpriced, packaged cookies was weakening with each craving. Where else could I get Samoas? Should I just break, swallow my pride and dish out my life savings in the name of these cookies? Thankfully, I didn't have to stoop quite so low. With a bit of research, I dug up a mock-recipe for Samoas, which even more thankfully, was a Samoa bar instead of the actual cookie. Between you and me, when those cravings hit, the last thing I want to do is stamp out a bazillion individual cookies.
Just like the regular Samoas, these cookies start with a buttery shortbread, melted caramel and toasted coconut with their bottoms dipped in chocolate. They are best eaten the day they are made, but they'll keep in an airtight container for up to two days.
from Baking Bites
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter, until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the flour and salt until the mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour the crumbly dough into preared pan and press into an even layer, using your hands.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened; I used sweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
20 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F while the cookie base cools. Spread the coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with the milk and salt. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a greased spatula.
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the greased spatula (this is important so everything spreads smoothly), spread the topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 or so bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (I used a pizza cutter and it worked really well once I got the hang of it).
Once the bars are cut, melt half of the 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 bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Melt more chocolate, little by little, if needed. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt more) into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with a tiny corner snipped off and the drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container. I recommend keeping them in the fridge. Makes roughly 30 bar cookies.