Homemade Samoas Girl Scout Cookies
What's your favourite girl scout cookie? It took me no time to figure that out my friends' answer to that. Everyone's eyes lit up and knees went wobbly at the mere mention of Samoas.
These coconut ring-shaped chocolate cookies are a guarantee crowd-pleaser. The multiple components can be quite time-consuming, but they can all be made ahead. I am aware that most people are partial to one kind of girl scout cookie, but why?! I refuse to pick, and will definitely be making my own thin mints, do-si-dos and tagalongs.
Adapted from Leite's Culinaria. Makes around 4 dozens Samoas.
For the topping:
3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
12 ounces good-quality chewy caramels (I used Werther's Original brand)
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (bar or chips)
For the cookie:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Up to 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Make the cookies. 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. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time as needed, until the dough forms a ball. You may not need all of it. If the dough is sticky, sprinkle with a bit of flour.
- 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, or until sturdy enough to handle.
- 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 small offset spatula, carefully transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets. The dough softens very quickly, so work fast.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned and the cookies are set. The top should still be pale. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the topping. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F ( 150°C). Line another baking sheet with parchment.
- 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. You can also do this step before the cookies.
- 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.
- 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 transfer them to the refrigerator. Store in an airtight container.