Sunday, April 13, 2008

Samoa cookies

Butter cookie with chocolate coating and coconut caramel.

So Samoas are a type of Girl Scout cookie. They're also known as Caramel deLites (which I think is a much more PC name, but that's a rant for another day). They're a vanilla cookie with a coconut caramel on top, drizzled with chocolate, with a chocolate covered bottom.

They're one of my favorites of the Girl Scout repertoire, and I thought, "Hey, it can't be that hard to make these myself." So this is my attempt.

First off, I made a normal shortbread cookie. But I added an egg to the dough, because shortbreads are a little too crumbly for this recipe. (Looking back, I might not use a shortbread next time because the cookie part was not quite the same as the Girl Scout version. Still tasty, though.)

While the dough for the shortbread cookie was chilling in the fridge, I made the caramel.

I thought the trickiest part would be to get the coconut caramel right. But it was actually pretty easy! I eyeballed my own caramel formula. I melted down some tablespoons of unsalted butter and I added in a good amount of light brown sugar (half a cup?). Then I added a dash of salt, some milk, and a little bit of vanilla extract, and let the mixture thicken. It thickens quickly, so you can always add more milk if it gets too solid to work with.

I say a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, because I kept tasting as I went. I just played around until it tasted right. Then I added in sweetened shredded coconut (which I had roughly chopped before I tossed in, to get the pieces smaller).

By then, the dough was ready, so I rolled it out and used a cookie cutter to get consistent circle shapes. I also used a heart-shaped fondant cutter to take out a hole in the middle of each cookie. (Because Samoas have holes in them.)

By the time I was done cutting, the caramel was cool. The caramel was a bit too thick to use a pastry brush to spread on top of the cookies, so I just dunked them into the caramel upside-down. Whatever coconut didn't get picked up, I spooned on top of the cookies.

As they bake...

While the cookies baked, I made a chocolate ganache. I melted down a bar of good semisweet chocolate in a double boiler. I added some milk and vanilla and a little bit of butter (to get a glossy look).

Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I put them on a wire rack upside-down. Then I used a pastry brush to cover the bottom with chocolate.

Then I put them in the fridge for about half an hour to let the chocolate harden and set. Once the bottoms were hard (you can test by seeing if your finger leaves an indent when you poke one), I took them out and flipped them over. I put the remaining ganache in a piping bag and drizzled the tops with chocolate.

Once more, into the fridge, to let the tops harden. And there you have it! Homemade Samoas.

Or, you could just buy them from the cute little girls at the grocery store. I GUESS.

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