Thursday, February 24, 2011

Homemade Samoas (Caramel deLites)

Did you know you can make Girl Scout cookies at home? You probably already knew this. It seems like everyone on earth (besides me) knew this.

A quick internet search will turn up a plethora of blog posts on homemade Girl Scout cookies. Crystal brought this one to my attention. And look at Lisa’s homemade Thin Mints - so pretty! Also, check out Baking Powders’ take on them.

Somehow I missed out on this phenomenon. Heretofore, I just waited around to get my fix during those few special weeks of the year when little green clad girls peddle their goods.

Until now.

In true fashion, I’m always the last one to the party. But at least I finally made it, right?

Homemade Samoas (aka Caramel deLites)

You’ll find that these cookie bars aren’t nearly as sweet as their Girl Scout cookie namesake and as such aren’t a faithful re-creation of the original. That being said, I really like the more nuanced flavor of these bars- you can actually taste the buttery shortbread and the toasted coconut instead of just a chocolate and caramel sugar rush. I like to think of these cookie bars as a grown up, more sophisticated homage to the original.

Shortbread *adapted from the Lemon Lust Bar recipe in Flour by Joanne Chang
½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 T granulated sugar
1 T confectioners’ sugar
1 egg yolk
½ t vanilla extract
½ c unbleached all-purpose flour
½ c cake flour
¼ t baking powder
¼ t kosher salt

½ c granulated sugar
½ c water
½ c heavy cream

½ c toasted coconut chips
½ c bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted for drizzling

1. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper, cut to fit and overlapping the sides of the pan. To make the shortbread, in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (approx. 5 min). Scrape down the paddle and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure all ingredients are mixed in. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until combined. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Continue mixing until that the dough has an even consistency.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, form into a disk approximately 1 inch thick, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes until chilled. It should be firm but still somewhat pliable before working with it (note the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month).
4. Pre-heat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit with the rack positioned in the center.
5. While the dough is chilling, make the caramel sauce. In a medium sauce pan, add the sugar and water and cook over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and allow the mixture to cook without stirring until the sugar caramelizes to a deep golden brown color. (Watch the sugar closely as it will burn quickly.) As soon as the sugar has caramelized, remove the pan from the heat and immediately but very carefully and slowly add the heavy cream. Take care when adding the cream as the mixture will froth and may splatter. You may want to place a strainer over the pan and pour the cream through the strainer to minimize splattering. Stir in the cream until the caramel has a smooth consistency. Set aside to cool slightly.
6. On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll the chilled dough out to approximately the size of the parchment lined baking pan. Then roll it over the pin to transfer to the pan. Use your fingers to press the dough into the corners of the pan. It should be approximately the same thickness all around.
7. Bake the shortbread until the edges have turned light brown, approximately 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a rack to cool slightly.
8. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and use an offset spatula to smooth. Sprinkle on the toasted coconut flakes. Before drizzling on the chocolate, lift up the overhanging pieces of the parchment paper to loosen the shortbread from the pan and then transfer to a cutting board. Remove the parchment paper. Cut into 12 bars and place the bars on wax paper.
9. Here’s a quick, cheater’s version of tempering chocolate. This method won’t fully temper chocolate but it does make it easier to work with and allows it to set up: melt 2/3 of the total amount of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals until fully melted and then add the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate and allow to sit until the added chocolate melts. Then stir the chocolate until smooth. Spoon the chocolate into a small plastic bag and cut off the tip of one corner. Using the plastic bag as a makeshift piping bag, drizzle the chocolate over the bars and set aside to allow the chocolate to set up. The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.


  1. Oooh, now I have to make these! The homemade version looks ridiculously good. The caramel, toasted coconut, and chocolate drizzle are making me dizzy. And, thanks for the mention!

  2. Wow these ever look amazing. Never occurred to me to make GS cookies at home - duh! Fantastic idea....they look *so* delicious. I just had my first Samoa yesterday..(have always been a "thin mint" and "peanut butter pattie" girl)... I like that yours are not as sweet. And, anything adapted from the "Flour" book..I know is outstanding. Great post!!

  3. Your photos make my mouth water. Lovely!

    And, btw, I picked up the Tartine Bread Cookbook. It's my latest LOVE!

  4. Making something as yummy as this at home would only mean trouble for me. It looks so good. I don't think I'd be able to stay away from them until they have been completely gobbled up!
    *kisses* HH

  5. The samoa is the best ever Girl Scout cookie as far as I'm concerned! Yours look even better!!! I would never dare make this at home as I am certain that I would eat the entire batch immediately then feel sleepy and guilty all afternoon into the evening ;) You are a wonderful chef! Too good, perhaps? Have a great weekend.

    (I made a typo for my link on the first message. Shelly, can you delete the first and save the second for me?)

  6. I have no words... except I need a weekend dessert and this is screaming "Make Me!" So I will...Yum.

  7. Looks amazing! I want the whole tray!

  8. First I misread the title and thought it was a post about "samosas", then looked at the picture and sat here for a minute confused about how samosas can look like a dessert! Probably it is because it is 5 pm here and I have not had any coffee yet today!
    They look delightful!

  9. I am in the middle of a springtime "slim down" reading about these treats are not helping! Caramel and shortbread are irresistible to me....I have bookmarked this one to try. Will power will be working overtime!