Saturday, February 26, 2011

Samoas Cookie Bars

Yep, that's right - the same as the Girl Scout Cookie! Did you buy Girl Scout Cookies this year? I did, for the first time since I was about 9 years old! When I grew up, these cookies were called Caramel Delights and now they're called Samoas. Apparently, it's not the time that has changed the name of the cookie, it's the region of the country you live in! When this topic comes up with friends, everyone has a loyalty to a different name, but it's the same cookie! Actually, after doing a quick 5 minute Google search, I guess the Girl Scouts use two different bakeries that distribute to certain areas of the country and the recipes are "slightly different".

Regardless, I couldn't wait to get my cookies this year, so to tide myself over I decided to make my own, in the form of BARS!!! These babies are so delicious you'll want to have them year-round. Plus, they're cheaper than $4 a box! The simple shortbread cookie is the base, topped with a coconut-caramel layer, and then it's dipped and drizzled in semisweet chocolate! Incredibly delightful.

Samoas Cookie Bars
From Sweet Pea's Kitchen

For the Cookie Base:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Topping:
  • 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 12-oz chewy caramels
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 10 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. On low speed, mix in the flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Reduce oven to 300 degrees F. Spread coconut on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toast 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until coconut is golden brown. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  4. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine caramels, salt and milk. Place in microwave and cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir. When the mixture is smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
  5. Pour mixture over the cooled cookie base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Using a small piece of parchment paper, press mixture evenly into pan. Set aside to cool completely.
  6. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer all remaining chocolate into a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish. Chill in refrigerator until chocolate is set.

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