Day 12: Samoa Bars

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It’s girl scout cookie season and since I cannot find Girl Scout cookies being sold anywhere in NYC, I’m making my own! I must admit that Thin Mints are my favorite ones, but those are not the ones I’m making tonight. I especially love eating thin mints after you put them in the freezer! I bought some cookies last year and froze them, but they are at my parents house in Texas! Hopefully my dad hasn’t broken into them and I can eat a couple when I go home for Easter weekend! That’s wishful thinking though because if there are sweets in the house, then my dad always hunts it out and finds it! As a kid it used to drive me insane when my dad would eat my Christmas candy especially because I was known for hiding mine and saving it! I was such a miser with my candy!

Anyway, onto Day 12 of the Pinterest Project, where I am making Samoa bars! I’m not a big fan of coconut, but I do love caramel and chocolate, which should be no surprise there. This recipe that I’m trying out was originally posted on the blog ‘Baking Bites’ and it was repinned from there. I’ve seen this recipe all over Pinterest, so I’m hoping it’s a keeper!

Samoa Bars

Ingredients:

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

Topping

  • 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)

Directions:

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9×13 inch pan, or line with parchment paper. [I didn’t have a 9×13 baking pan, so I used a cookie sheet and tried to estimate the size when rolling out the dough.] In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Beat in flour and salt until dough is crumbly. Pour dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer [or roll the dough out like I did onto a cookie sheet]. Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are light brown and base is set. Cool completely before topping.

Preheat oven 300 degrees. Spread coconut evenly onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and toast for 20 minutes. [I only toasted mine for about 9 minutes since the oven was still extremely hot from cookie the cookie base]. While toasting coconut, stir every 5 minutes until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet, then 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 melted, 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 with a large knife or pizza cutter. I used the pizza cutter which was way easier! Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent it from burning. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean sheet of parchment or wax paper to set. Place all the remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle chocolate over the top of the bars. [The chocolate was too thick, so I just took a spoon and drizzled the chocoalte on top of the cookies. It doesn’t look that pretty, but it does the trick]. Let chocolate set before storing in an airtight container.

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.

The Samoa bars turned out way better than I anticipated. The only problem that I had was that the chocolate took a while to harden, so I put the bars in the freezer for a few minutes and it turned out to be a great idea. It ended up only taking a few minutes for the chocolate to set and if I hadn’t put the bars in the freezer it would have taken a few hours since the chocolate was so hot. This is definitely a healthier and cheaper alternative to purchasing Samoas from the Girl Scouts. No offense Girl Scouts, as I used to be one too, but let’s be realistic, your cookies are always going up in price and there aren’t that many cookies in the box! If you like cookies that are both firm and chewy then you’ll like these. Also, the coconut doesn’t taste that strong, which is good if you’re like me and not a big coconut fan. Eat a bar or two with a glass of milk and you’ll be happy!

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