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Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas

These Samoas, uh, Caramel DeLites look-alikes are worth every second they take to make. Trust us. That said, you can always opt for the ridiculously easy, weeknight-friendly, bar cookie version of this recipe (see Variation below). The bar rendition requires no rolling or cutting of the dough, so it can be made relatively quickly, i.e., whenever the craving strikes. Although we’re not necessarily certain that’s a good thing.

We happened upon this treasure earlier this spring, before the boxed version was available, at BakingBites.com. Those of you who fancy the other varieties of Girl Scout cookies, take note: there’s more homemade versions where these came from. To read a tale of woe and cookies, check out Lisa Abend’s essay Uniform Dread.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Supersize It! Note

Anyone else go wobbly in the knees at the mere mention of Samoas? Because let’s face it. A single Samoa never seems to be enough. (Sometimes a box doesn’t seem to be enough, either.) So because bigger is sometimes better, you may want to go ahead and supersize these diminutive cookies by using larger cookie cutters.

Homemade Girls Scout Cookies: Samoas Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • For the cookie
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperture
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 2 tablespoons milk
  • For the topping
  • 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 12 ounces good-quality chewy caramels, unwrapped
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 12 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)

Directions

  • Make the cookies
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • 2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a second, larger bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture until combined. Add the vanilla and combine. The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky dough. If the dough isn’t coming together, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time as needed, until the dough forms a ball. It’s possible you may not need to add any milk at all. If the dough is impossibly sticky, sprinkle with a bit of flour.
  • 3. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 portions. Roll out each portion between large pieces of wax or parchment paper to a thickness of no more than 1/4 inch. Transfer the dough and parchment to the refrigerator to chill for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 4. Use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut dough rounds. If you wish to make your cookies exact replicas of the original Samoa, cut a smaller hole in the center of each cookie using a knife, the end of the handle on a wooden spoon, or any other small round device that you can find in your kitchen. Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets.
  • 5. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned and the cookies are set. Cool them for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the topping
  • 6. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F ( 150°C). Line another baking sheet with parchment.
  • 7. Spread the coconut evenly on the baking sheet and toast, stirring every 5 minutes, until the coconut is golden, about 20 minutes total. Cool the coconut on the sheet, stirring occasionally, until it cools to room temperature. Set aside.
  • 8. Combine the caramels, milk, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high power for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to stir it a few times to ensure the caramels melt evenly. When the mixture is smooth, fold in the toasted coconut. Using a small metal offset spatula, spread the topping onto the cooled cookies, using 2 to 3 teaspoons per cookie. If the caramel becomes too firm to work with, reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds. Let the cookies set.
  • 9. Place 8 ounces of the chocolate, coarsely chopped or broken into pieces, in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high power in 45-second intervals, stirring to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate, scraping it along the edges of the bowl to smooth it, and then place on parchment or wax paper to set. Transfer any remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off. If necessary, melt additional chocolate. Drizzle chocolate stripes on top of the cookies. Let the cookies set or, to hasten the process, transfer them to the refrigerator. If any cookies make it to the end of the day, store them in an airtight container.

Variation

  • Rather than rolling out the dough and cutting individual cookies, you can save a few minutes with this bar cookie rendition. Just follow the instructions above, making the following adjustments:

    For the cookies: Use only 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter and omit the baking powder and the milk. After beating the butter with the sugar, beat in 1 egg and the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and salt, and combine until the mixture is crumbly and the consistency of wet sand. Press the mixture into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until the crust is set and the edges are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cookie cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

    For the topping: After folding the coconut into the caramel, place dollops of the mixture on the cooled cookie crust and spread it into an even layer using a small offset spatula or, if the mixture isn’t too hot, lightly floured fingers. Let cool completely. Drizzle with the 8 ounces of melted chocolate as directed. If desired, melt the additional 4 ounces of chocolate and, after cutting the bars into individual cookies, dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate, scraping it along the edge of the bowl to smooth it, and then place the bars on parchment or wax paper to set.
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