Wednesday, March 14, 2012

DIY: At Home Samoa Bars

*Picture from Gluten Free Betsy

Apparently this week is Girl Scout's Week, where Girl Scouts everywhere sit back and reflect on their community service, and I sit back and reflect the delicious-ness that is Girl Scout Cookies. That being said, one can only buy so many boxes of cookies in good conscience. Not only are you painfully aware of how many you buy when the little girl pulls up to your house in a fully loaded wagon, but each box is $4 a piece!

Anyhow, me being pregnant with a hungry hungry husband, and a cookie crazy toddler at home, you can bet your ass I ordered a bunch of cookies. You can also bet your ass they are all gone and I refuse to go out and buy more...mainly out of shame.

So I decided to browse the Internet and find a cheap, easy, homemade version of my favorite Girl Scout cookies, Samoas aka Caramel DeLights. There are a lot of time consuming Samoa recipes floating around, but I stumbled upon an easy adaptation at the oh so yummy Baking Bites blog that better suits my impatient "I-Want-It-Now" personality.

Homemade Samoa Bars:

Cookie Base:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

First things first, making the yummy shortbread crust. Preheat oven to 350F and grease your pan. In a large bowl, cream softened together sugar and butter. Next, beat in your egg and vanilla extract. Lastly, beat in flour and salt completely. The mixture will be a bit "wet and crumbly", but don't worry. Deposit your dough mixture into your pan and press into a crust base. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Let cool Completely before topping!


3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)1

2-oz good-quality chewy caramels (I used Werther's)
1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp milk

10 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

{This is why I love this recipe, it allows you to microwave caramel candies and chocolate chips instead of making it all from scratch.}
For the coconut, preheat oven to 300 and spread your coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so until coconut is golden. I ended up baking mine for closer to 25-30 minutes. Let coconut cool on baking sheet and set to the side for now.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. This step was fun to do with my toddler. She got to "help bake cookies". Cook on high for 2-3minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, mix in your toasted coconut. Baking Bites suggests "folding in the coconut with a spatula", but I literally dumped it in the bowl with the caramel and stirred it with a spoon. To-may-to To-mah-to...

Using my mixing spoon, I loaded on the caramel coconut mixture and evenly smeared it across my shortbread. Let topping set until cooled. Once cooled, cut into bars. Baking Bites made 30, I cut mine extra large and underestimated the richness of them and only cut 15! Once your bars are cut, melt your chocolate chips in a small bowl by heating them on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Again, I only needed to melt my one bag of chocolate chips for 45 seconds. Next, dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Be careful not to burn your fingers, seriously! Lastly, I drizzled chocolate across the bars for that signature Samoas look.

As you can see, they aren't perfect, but man were they delicious! Most of the ingredients I had at home, I only had to buy the shredded coconut and caramels. I spent about $6 making these bad boys, which isn't bad considering they were supposed to make thirty.

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