Sunday, May 1, 2011

Samoa Cookie Bars

Being the mother of four daughters and a Girl Scout leader for 16 years would almost make me an expert on Girl Scout cookies. I have sorted hundreds of cases of Girl Scout cookies in my garage and have spent quite a few cold windy days either going door to door with my girls selling cookies in the neighborhood or sitting at a table in front of a store in town selling them at a "booth sale".  The most popular cookies have always been Thin Mints.  They were always the ones that sold out first. Since mint is not my thing, my favorite Girl Scout cookies have always been the Samoas.  Chocolate - coconut - and carmel.  A perfect trio of flavors.  These bars are just as delicious as the Girl Scout cookies are.           

adapted from:

For the cookie base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour

For the topping:
4 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12 oz chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
10 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom and sides of the pan letting it overhang slightly on both sides.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy.  Scrape down bowl and add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until thoroughly combined about 1 minute.  On low speed mix in flour until mixture is crumbly like wet sand. 

Drop the dough into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan.  Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.  Reduce oven to 300 degrees.  Spread coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally until coconut is golden brown.  Cool on baking sheet. 

In large microwave safe bowl, combine caramels, salt and milk.  Place in microwave and cook on high 3-4 minutes stopping to stir.  When mixture is smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. 

Pour mixture over cooled cookie base.  Using a spatula, spread topping into an even layer.  Set aside to cool completely.  Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl on low in 45 second intervals.  Spread chocolate over top of coconut caramel mixture.  Cool before cutting into squares. 

Enjoy!   Susan

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