Girl Scout Cookies are delicious, but they keep raising the price and decreasing the quantity/size. Being an avid baker, I figured I could replicate some of the best selling GSCs in my own kitchen. About 19% of the GSCs sold are Samoas - "Tender vanilla cookies, covered with caramel, rolled in toasted coconut, and striped with a rich, chocolaty coating." I decided to use a vanilla shortbread, homemade caramel, and dark chocolate to give these "girl" cookies an adult flair.
These are not Samoas - They're better!
Prep Time: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 2 hours (includes chilling time)
Yield: 35 cookies
2 c flour plus extra for rolling
1 c butter plus 3 tbsp
1.25 c sugar
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz dark chocolate
12 oz sweetened coconut flakes
(1) Cream 1 c butter with vanilla and 0.5 c sugar
(2) Slowly add flour and salt until combined
(3) Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes
(4) Meanwhile, spread coconut on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
(5) Bake at 300 degrees, stirring every 3-4 minutes until toasted
(6) Remove dough from refrigerator; place on a well-floured surface
(7) Roll out to about 0.25 inch thick; cut into "O" shapes
(8) Place cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and chill for another 10 minutes
(9) Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake cookies just until edges turn golden brown
(10) Cool cookies completely on a wire rack
(11) Evenly spread 0.75 c sugar in a heavy-duty saute pan
(12) Heat over medium-low heat until sugar melts and turns light golden brown
(13) Add 3 tbsp butter and swirl until melted; reduce heat to low
(14) Working quickly, dip tops of cookies in caramel and sprinkle with coconut
(15) Melt chocolate in a double boiler
(16) Temper the chocolate: heat to about 115 degrees, place bowl in an ice water bath and stir to reduce temperature to 82 degrees (or spread on a marble slab, if you have one), then place over heat again to raise to 90 degrees
(17) Place half of the melted chocolate in a pastry bag with a small opening cut out
(18) Dip bottoms of cookies in chocolate and place on parchment paper sheets
(19) Pipe remaining chocolate onto tops of cookies
(20) Chill in refrigerator or freezer until chocolate is set
Notes: To cut out the cookies, I used a circle cookie cutter for the outside and an apple corer for the inside circle. The shape isn't really essential, so use whatever cookie cutters you have on hand. I'll be making more shortbread-based cookies next week, so I doubled the dough recipe and put half of it in the freezer.
Caramel is surprisingly easy to make, but it is really hot, so you need to take certain precautions. You should wear long sleeves in case it splatters. When dipping the cookies, use a wooden chopstick or skewer so you don't burn your fingers. Caramel also cools rapidly, so dip cookies and sprinkle with coconut one-by-one so that the coconut will dry into the caramel. If you happen to burn the caramel, throw it out and start again - there's no turning back from burnt caramel.
Tempering chocolate allows for a dense, hard network of stable crystals to form. According to Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking, untempered chocolate will "taste fine, but it's likely to look dull and mottled, and to be soft instead of snappy."
Legal disclaimer: I am not a Girl Scout, I am not affiliated with the Girl Scouts or Brownies, these are not Samoas; Girl Scouts, Samoas, and Girl Scout Cookies are the property of the Girl Scouts. Don't sue me. Thanks.