Samoas, Interrupted

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If there’s one thing I’m certain of in this life, it is that Samoas (aka Caramel DeLites) are the best Girl Scout cookie. Yeah, I said it. Thin Mints aren’t adventurous enough, Tagalongs make your mouth feel all weird if you eat more than one, and the others don’t have names worth remembering.

That is why Emily and I decided to make our own Samoas one lazy afternoon. Sounds like a great idea, right? If only we knew then what we know now.

Here is the story (or tragedy, comedy, adventure) of our attempt to recreate Girl Scout Samoas, as adapted from Baking Bites.

For the cookies:

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

For the topping:

3 cups shredded coconut (We had a ton of fresh coconut meat on us, but sweetened or unsweetened packaged coconut will do too.)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels (We ended up using Smuckers Caramel Topping, which was not ideal.)
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed. Then add in the vanilla and milk until the dough comes together. Roll the dough out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness.

We used the rim of a jar to make rounds, but if you have a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter, that’s about the right size.

Our dough ended up looking like some kind of ancient board game. (I almost killed myself standing on a bench trying to get this aerial shot — oh the perils of food photography.)

When we had used up just about all the dough, we had two sheets full — about 30-35 cookies. Cut a smaller hole in the center of each round.

Bake the cookies for roughly 10-12 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack. While you’re waiting on them to cook and/or cool, you can get started on the toppings. This is where we got ourselves into some trouble.

Preheat oven to 300F. Take the shredded coconut and spread it evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes until the coconut is golden. I would suggest that the coconut is spread very, very lightly on the baking sheet. Use multiple sheets if necessary. Our shredded coconut just refused to brown because we put too much together. In the end it didn’t affect the taste, but I think a slight crunch would have been nice.

Now you can take the caramels and stick them in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Salt and milk can be added if need be. Once the caramel is melted, fold it in with the toasted coconut. This is where we made our second mistake — the only caramel we could find that night was liquid caramel topping, but to our dismay, it was not nearly sticky enough to hold on the cookies very easily. This means that the process to get the caramel onto all 30+ cookies (see picture below) was long. So. Damn. Long. Emily and I basically sat in the kitchen, our hands covered in coconut and caramel, bitterly wondering why we ever decided to start this. But, as true baking warriors do, we trudged on. Make sure to use chewy caramels and keep them semi-thick for spreading.

Now you need to melt the chocolate. I would suggest you do this either in a plate with curved edges or a bowl with a wider bottom, because you need to dip the base of the cookies into the chocolate next. Our mistake (the third one so far) was having to spoon chocolate onto the base of the cookies because we couldn’t get an even spread just from dipping into the bowl. Having the melted chocolate spread out on a flatter surface would have made this part much less painful. At this point, our hands were covered in caramel, coconut, and chocolate.

Transfer the rest of the chocolate into a piping bag (we used a regular plastic bag with the corner snipped off). Drizzle the rest of the cookies with chocolate. Our mistake number four — not nearly enough chocolate to make the drizzling go easily. 8 oz. of chocolate didn’t seem like enough for 30+ cookies to us, so I would play it safe and melt a few more ounces.

Done! Now stick those babies in the freezer, shoot a few final curse words their way, and give yourself a pat on the back. You just spent your entire evening making cookies that you could have delivered to your doorstep (if you know the right people, that is).

The outcome was incredibly tasty, but surprisingly different from the Girl Scout version. I recommend eating them super cold — like right out of the freezer cold. Our cookies were so rich that one (or two) was super filling, but I know from personal experience that I could house an entire row (or two) of the boxed GS Samoas.

Coming from a non-baker and ten-minute-chef, this was probably one of my most time-consuming kitchen projects yet. But it was a great trial-and-error exercise and bonding experience for me and Em. If you read the above and are thinking “ain’t no way,” and you happen to have a Brooklyn-based Girl Scout connect, let me know! I desperately need a cookie hook-up.

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One Response to “Samoas, Interrupted”

  1. Alisa-Foodista Says:

    Love your photos, and your samoas sure look delicious!if you won’t mind I’d love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it’s good to go.Thanks!

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