BIY: Girl Scout Cookies. Samoas!

Everything is DIY nowadays.  Well, I'm one-uping DIY. BIY: Bake it Yourself.  Not that I condone cheating the Girl Scouts out of your order, but when they aren't knocking on your door and you are craving some of that purple boxity goodness -- your have to be resourceful.  That's the scouts honor isn't it?  Survival of the fittest? Ok, I clearly was never a Girl Scout.  I just liked it when they rang our doorbell.  Hey, was it just me or did it always feel like YEARS of waiting between when my my signed the little clipboard and when the boxes finally arrived?

While visiting Uncle John in San Diego, I decided to "whip up a batch" (over several hours) of one of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies -- Samoas.

Caramel deLites or Samoas
Caramel deLites or Samoas

Cole hates coconut so I agreed to make him some Do-Si-Dos as well.  But guess what?  He decided he liked coconut once he got a taste of these.  I'm that good.

I must say, it was extra sweet to bake in Mary's kitchen.  She had everything so perfect.  Every nesting bowl and variety of whisks and spatula size you could imagine.  I was definitely feeling the Mary love-from-above as I baked.

Here are some step-by-step shots and the reason why this batch took me so long...

Starting with 12 ounces (or 11 ounces, if you buy two 5.5 ounce bags like I did) with some good quality caramels...I chose Werther's Chewy Caramels.

Carefully remove each wrapper.

And set aside in microwave safe bowl.  Warning:  "NSFW" Caramels.  Jk-ing.  Get it?  Cuz they're nakey?

In a large mixing bowl, throw in 1 Cup of Unsalted Butter (room temp, cut into tablespoons) and ½ Cup of Granulated Sugar.

sugar and butter

Cream together until light and fluffy.  I used UJ's handheld mixer.  Kind of liked it for a change.   You have a little more control.  Which is nice.  When your a control freak.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour, ¼ tsp. of baking powder, and ½ tsp. of salt.

Add flour mixture to creamed butter mixture.  Beat until combined.

Add ½ tsp. of vanilla extract and up to 1 Tbsp. of milk (or none) until the dough comes together without getting sticky.  Psssssttt! Now is a good time to pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

Once the dough has come together in a nice, soft mass of dough, break it into two portions.  Place each one on a piece of wax paper.

Then, sprinkle some flour onto the dough and the rolling pin.  Roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thickness.  Sprinkle a little flour on top and cover with a piece of parchment paper on top (will use this later when baking) and place in fridge.

Ok, once both rolled out doughs sandwiched between a piece of wax and parchment paper have gone into the fridge, evenly spread out 3 Cups of Shredded Coconut (unsweetened is best, but I was only able to find Sweetened at the VONS in San Diego and the world didn't end) into a jelly roll pan.

Toast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring around every 5 minutes.  You can lower the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for the coconut, but make sure you turn it back up to 350 for the cookies when your done.  Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn -- you want it only to be a nice toasty golden color, like so:

Now, you can take the dough out of the fridge.  Place the sheet of rolled out dough with the wax paper side up.  Carefully remove wax paper.  On the parchment paper, cut out doughnut-like shapes using a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter and a 7/8 inch biscut cutter center (or the wide side of a small decorating tip).  I didn't have my Ateco Round Cookie Cutters handy in San Diego.  Lesson learned: Don't leave home without 'em.  I did, however, find a new use for UJ's Pineapple Corer.  Because the dough was so delicate, I cut my cookies directly on parchment, peeling away extra dough, then just lifting the parchment paper and placing it right on the cookie sheet.  These cookies don't spread much so you don't have to worry about spacing them out more than ½ inch apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges look like they are kissed by a touch of gold.  They can change quickly towards the end, so don't start watch the Real Housewives of 90210 just yet.   Remove from oven and put onto wire rack for cooling as soon as possible.   If it looks like you took them out a little too early, just leave them on the baking sheet.  Let cool completely.

While the cookies are baking/cooling, you can get going on the caramel.  Add 3 Tbsp. of Whole Milk and ¼ tsp of salt into the bowl of caramels we set aside earlier.

Heat this breakfast of champions in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

The caramel should be fully melted and stirred until smooth and evenly combined.

Then fold in the toasted coconut with a spatula.

Using a knife or small offset spatula, spread the caramel-coconut topping on cooled cookies, about ½ inch high.  You can reheat caramel for a 30 seconds in the microwave to soften it up a bit if it becomes difficult to spread.

Melt about 8-12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave on low for 1-2 minutes.

Dip small spatula into chocolate and swing it like a pendulum above the cookies to get that casual striped look.  (Or you can get fancy and use a squeeze bottle to draw 4 straight lines across the top like the real deal.)  Then, holding the cookie upright between your thumb and forefinger, dip into the chocolate until the bottom is fully coated.   (My hands were too messy to photography this part.)  Here is the finished product!  Mmm, mmm.  Delish!

Random cute find on the Girl Scout website:

samoas and thin mint earings
samoas and thin mint earings

They are even cookie scented!  No wonder they are sold out...


Bake-It-Yourself: HOMEMADE SAMOAS

INGREDIENTS

Cookie Base

1 Cup of Unsalted Butter (room temp, cut into tablespoons)

½ Cup of Granulated Sugar

2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour

¼ tsp. of baking powder

½ tsp. of salt 

½ tsp. of vanilla extract

up to 1 Tbsp. of milk, if needed

 8-12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate

 

Coconut - Caramel Topping

12 ounces good quality caramels

3 Tbsp. of Whole Milk

¼ tsp of salt

 

DIRECTIONS

Cookie Base

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit..

  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed butter mixture.  Beat until combined. 

  4. Add vanilla extract and milk (if needed) until the dough comes together without getting sticky. 

  5. Once the dough has come together in a nice, soft mass of dough, break it into two portions.  Place each one on a piece of wax paper. Then, sprinkle some flour onto the dough and the rolling pin.  Roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thickness. Sprinkle a little flour on top and cover with a piece of parchment paper on top (will use this later when baking) and place in fridge to chill, at least 30 minutes.

  6. Remove dough from fridge and place the sheet of rolled out dough with the wax paper side up.  Carefully remove wax paper.  On the parchment paper, cut out doughnut-like shapes using a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter and a 7/8 inch biscuit cutter center (or the wide side of a small decorating tip). I cut my cookies directly on parchment, peeling away extra dough, then just lifting the parchment paper and placing it right on the cookie sheet.  These cookies don't spread much so you don't have to worry about spacing them out more than ½ inch apart.

  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges look like they are kissed by a touch of gold. Remove from oven and put onto wire rack for cooling as soon as possible. Let cool completely.

Caramel - Coconut Topping

  1. Lower the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Evenly spread out coconut onto a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring around every 5 minutes. (Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn -- you want it only to be a nice toasty golden color.)

  3. Remove caramels from wrappers and place in a microwave safe bowl. Add milk and salt.. Heat in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute or so. The caramel should be fully melted and stirred until smooth and evenly combined.

  4. Fold in the toasted coconut with a spatula.

To Assemble Samoas: 

  1. Using a knife or small offset spatula, spread the caramel-coconut topping on cooled cookies, about ½ inch high.  (You can reheat caramel for a 30 seconds in the microwave to soften it up a bit if it becomes difficult to spread.)
  2. Melt about 8-12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave on low for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Dip small spatula into chocolate and swing it like a pendulum above the cookies to get that casual striped look.  (Or you can get fancy and use a squeeze bottle to draw 4 straight lines across the top like the real deal.)  Then, holding the cookie upright between your thumb and forefinger, dip into the chocolate until the bottom is fully coated.
  4. Let chocolate cool and harden on wax paper.