Thursday, March 17, 2011

homemade girl scout cookies.....samoas

Oh March, how I love thee!!! The winter season is slowly saying it's good-bye, we sprung forward, there's still light out when I get off of work and most importantly it's Girl Scout Cookie season!
So there are some things you just have to leave for others to make and that's the Girl Scout Samoa cookie. I made these over the weekend and then broke the sad news to my husband that this was probably a one time deal. Laborious. That's all I've got to say.....
I'm blogging about these because they are probably my most favorite GS cookie and I thought it would actually be fun. Fun? Yeah, right.
With the numerous steps in this recipe, I should have stopped right there. Instead I gathered up what ingredients I had at home, gave my husband a short list of what I still needed and then dreamed of eating Samoas whenever I wanted any time of the year.
After making several "things" this weekend plus multigrain breadI went ahead and added these to my list. So enough said.....

This recipe is straight from the blog Baking Bites and I pretty much followed everything down to a tee. Except I cheated when it came to a few techniques. ***See notes throughout the recipe***
Homemade Samoas

1 cup butter, soft ***I used unsalted butter***
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
up to 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350˚. ***I did this later in the recipe***
In a large mixing bowl, either on a stand mixer or with a handheld, cream butter and sugar followed by the vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at low speed. Add milk as needed to make the dough come together without being too sticky (it's possible that you may not need to add milk at all). ***I added 2 tablespoons*** The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky. ***Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour***

Cut dough into thirds. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter cut out rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart. They do not spread. With a plastic straw or an Arteco #806 tip, make a small hole in the middle of cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough. When finished cutting "donuts", refrigerate for 15 minutes. ***Now is when I started to preheat my oven, 350˚***

Bake cookies for 10 -12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Turn your oven down to 300˚.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) ***I used unsweetened to cut down the sugar***
12 ounces good-quality chewy caramels ***I used Werther's chewy caramels***
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons milk
8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate - chopped fine (chips are OK)

Spread coconut evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden brown and fragrant. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally with a spatula. ***I toasted my coconut in a cast iron skillet over a medium heat, stirring/turning constantly for even browning*** 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 smooth, fold in toasted coconut.***I dumped everything in a small pot and slowly melted over a medium-low flame/heat, stirring constantly. I then added my toasted coconut***

Using a small offset spatula or knife, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2 - 3 teaspoons per cookie. Reheat coconutty-caramel as needed if it gets too firm to work with. While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the bottoms of each cookie into the melted chocolate and place on a clean parchment lined baking sheet. ***Dipping seemed messy so I just used a small offset spatula to spread chocolate on the bottoms*** Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a little bit more if needed) into a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut of a bit of the corner. Drizzle finished cookies with chocolate. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container. ***I placed mine in the fridge to speed up the "setting" process. I also stored mine in the fridge because I prefer them a little chilly***
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Note from Baking Bites blog: These cookies are fairly time consuming to make, (trust me, they were!!!!) but if you take your time and have fun with them, the results will be worth it. That said, if you want something a little bit less challenging, try baking a batch of Samoa Bars instead, which require no rolling and cutting of the dough!

After ALL that.....I do think eating these is your reward.

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