Friday, March 11, 2011

Samoa Bars



I’m sure many have noticed the girl scout troops out at local grocery stores and elsewhere selling their famous cookies. I have so many favorite girl scout cookies, its so hard to just purchase one box. The Samoa cookie is among my favorites. The amount of cookies per box seems to have shrunk, making each cookie a sacred treat. This year I decided that I would forego actually purchasing the cookies and try making them myself. Do to the many steps involved in this process, I decided that bars would be the easiest and fastest ways to duplicate the cookie. The cookie itself is a shortbread cookie, topped with caramel and coconut, drizzled with chocolate on top, and coated with chocolate on the bottom. The bars tasted just like the famous girl scout cookies and the best part is you can now enjoy them anytime of year!

Samoa Bars

For the Cookie Base:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Topping:

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

12 oz chewy caramels

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

10 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate (such as chocolate chips)

To Make the Cookie Base:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

To Make the Topping:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Spread coconut evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with spatula.

Place dollops of the topping on the shortbread base. Using a spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.

When cooled, cut into bars. The batch should make approximately 30 bars.

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.

Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Source: Baking Bites

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