11 December 2010

We Don't Need No Stinking Girlscouts

Today is Josh's birthday so I have made him a present influenced by his favorite girl scout cookie: The Samoa. This isn't his actual birthday cake and I didn't have any candles or anything, so don't get your hopes up and then let my negligence get you feeling down. I made him a present!* That's great!

I got the recipe from a blog called Crepes of Wrath, who got it from Baking Bites, who got it from Margaret Mead, who got it from the Samoans in the 1900s. Here it is (as printed in Baking Bites):

Here are the ingredients I used!

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
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

First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

Here is how mine looked. The edges looked browner than this but thanks for trying, camera.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook 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 spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).

The bag of coconut I bought only had 2 2/3 cups of coconut in it, so I think the topping turned out a little skimpy. Or it would have, if I hadn't added extra caramel to fix it.

Once bars are cut, melt 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. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.

Here is another picture of mine! Boy did I have 99 problems with the melted chocolate. First of all, its bowl got ridiculously hot in the microwave, and then the chocolate melted my plastic bag when I was piping it over the bars! That just meant that two of them were mega-chocolate ones, which is actually great. It's a birthday miracle!

 Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.
Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

Happy birthday, Josh!
*I also got him an autographed picture of Michael C. Hall (Dexter, himself) and some secret gifts that haven't been revealed yet but do exist and in fact I'm only waiting on the last third of it to come in the mail.

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