Homemade Samoas Bars

16 Dec

Sorry for the silence this week, gang. I am in full-on Christmas prep mode, which translates into my running around like a crazy person from early in the morning until late at night. And that means we’ve been relying on family favorite recipes–old faithfuls I can toss together with my eyes closed from stuff I have in the house. So there’s not been much to chat about here.

Thankfully, last night was cookie party.

Cookie party is a longstanding tradition for a friend of mine, who hosts a couple dozen women in her house the week or so before Christmas for a friendly exchange of baked goods. We talk and laugh and enjoy fantastic food and drinks (chocolate martini, anyone?) and then go around the room to talk about our chosen cookie and hand out baggies for everyone to take home.

The kicker is that my friend’s husband spends the next morning judging the cookies, and the winner gets a very nice prize. Things get a wee bit competitive–y’all should see the trash talk in my email box. We take our sugar and flour and chocolate very seriously.

I’m typing this waiting to hear the results of this year’s competition (I’ve never won but have come in second a few times–we have some fabulous bakers in the group!), but these cookies were a hit with my family. I found them on a few websites and adapted them a bit, but they’re basically bar versions of the Girl Scouts’ famous Samoa cookies, with a shortbread base, caramel and toasted coconut topping, and chocolate.

These were a little time-consuming and they’re messy in the kitchen: I’m not going to lie. But I’ll make them again because they’re very yummy. I tried to simplify the original recipe to get rid of individually dipping cookies in chocolate and a few extra steps, and they turned out really well (I think). You can also just make the caramel/coconut mixture, form it into balls on wax paper, and drizzle them with chocolate to make a candy and a gluten-free option if you want.

Let me know if you try these! You need:

Cookie base:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup room-temperature butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Mix together your butter and sugar until they’re creamy. Beat in vanilla, and then mix in the dry goods. The dough will be crumbly–don’t worry. Dump it into your parchment-lined pan and use a piece of wax paper to spread it into a single layer (the wax paper will keep it from sticking to your hands). Bake for 20 minutes, or until its edges start to brown. Take it out of the oven and cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Base

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate candy discs (I got them at the craft store) or chocolate chips.

When the shortbread is totally cool, melt the chocolate in the microwave and spread it over the cookie base. I used candy discs because they don’t melt at room temperature like chocolate chips do, so it’s easier to eat the finished cookies.

Let that come to room temperature or put it in the refrigerator until it’s cold and totally hardened up. Once that happens, use the parchment paper to carefully lift your cookie out of the pan in one piece. Line the now-empty pan with wax paper, and very carefully peel the parchment off the cookie, turn it chocolate-side down, and place it back in the pan (this sounds harder than it is, but take your time). You now have chocolate on the bottom and cookie on top.

Topping

3 cups shredded sweetened coconut

12 oz caramel candies

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp milk

Line a cookie sheet (with a rim) with parchment paper. Spread the coconut onto it in an even layer and bake it at 350 degrees, stirring it every five minutes or so, until it’s toasted and brown and crunchy. Watch it carefully, gang–it burns in a heartbeat.

Once that’s done, put your unwrapped caramels, milk, and salt into a large Pyrex bowl. Microwave it in one-minute increments, stirring in between (with a spoon at first and then with a whisk as it melts) until it’s all liquid–two minutes was plenty in my microwave. Working quickly, stir in your coconut.

Spread this mixture on top of the cookie base with the back of a spoon. You want to do this while the coconut mixture is still pretty warm–once it hardens, there’s no spreading it. It’ll want to separate from the cookie at first, but have patience–it’ll work out in a few minutes.

Once that’s done, let it harden up. And when that’s done, melt another half-cup of chocolate and use a spoon to drizzle it over the top. Cool completely and slice your cookies with a large, heavy knife. A pan makes about four dozen Samoas.

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4 Responses to “Homemade Samoas Bars”

  1. Laura December 16, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Wow just looking at those is satisfying. I would be a total goner if they were in my kitchen.

  2. Gayle Haeffner December 17, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    My mouth is watering thinking about this recipe. Will be making these for the office Christmas party. Thank you for sharing!

  3. mary m December 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I’ve been trying to decide what cookies to take to a cookie exchange this week, and this sounds good! I’ll just make 2 pans so we have extras at home 🙂

  4. Ali December 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I loved your cookies and loved even more that you were at Cookie Party! =)

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