Mmmmm.. Samoas (aka Carmel DeLites) Girl Scout Cookies! If you haven't had them (and a lot of you coconut haters out there probably haven't) let me describe them to you. Chewy caramel coconut goodness smeared on a delicate cripsy shortbread cookie which has been layered in chocolate and then the whole sha-bang is drizzled with additional chocolate.
How can you not resist?
I saw this post on Blog-her by Caitlin of A Bicycle Built for Two about how to make a homemade verstion of the Samoa Girl Scout Cookies and was inspired to give it a shot.
Now this isn't to say I have heard that this recipe may end in disaster, but I was really craving the caramel coconut chocolate delight. (I also was thrilled with the idea that I could save a couple bucks by not having to shell out big bucks for the original cookies from those little Girl Scout extortionists.. but that didn't really work out. More on that later.)
It turns out Caitlin got the recipe from Mari at Once Upon A Plate who got the original recipe from Nicole at Baking Bites (fantastic cooking website by the way.) Between those folks who had gone before I figured I had all the tips I needed to make sure they turned out great.
Eh. Sort of.
I did end up with FANTASTIC cookies:
And Caitlin's pictures of the process are pretty much what my endeavor looked like, but I do have a couple of tips to add if you are going to try these yourself:
- Toast the coconut first. Then, if you melt the caramels while the cookies are baking, you can go ahead and add the coconut right away. Because i needed to use the same cookie sheets to toast the coconut, I had to take a long break between after the cookies came out of the oven and when the coconut was ready to mix into the caramel. By then the caramel had re-solidified. If you toast the coconut first, you can melt the caramel and mix in the coconut while the cookies bake. By the time the last batch of cookies is done baking, the first batch is cool enough to start spreading the coconut/caramel mix.
- Give up the dream about them being donut shaped. Making the hole in the center was a giant pain in the ass. You couldn't spread the coconut mix around it and it just wanted to fill in with chocolate. I ended up just making them round. More cookie for your money!
- Keep your caramel/coconut mix warm. If you don't keep it warm (I just kept reheating it in the microwave for 30 seconds) it will start to solidify and you will end up breaking the cookies as you try to spread it on.
- Hold back some of the chocolate chips. When you go to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies at then end, don't melt all the chocolate and add it (already melted) to a piping bag. Instead melt only half the chips to dip the bottom of the cookies and put the remainder of the chips in a ziplock bag and microwave THAT. Then cut a tiny corner off the bag and use it to pipe the chocolate. SO MUCH LESS OF A MESS. I also was able to use milk chocolate on the bottom of the cookie (which I prefer the taste of) and dark chocolate on the top (so the contrast against the color of the caramel was better.)
Needless to say, they came out pretty well.
And to put it in perspective, I ended up making 3 dozen cookies. I needed to buy chocolate chips ($1.99), caramels ($2.39) and coconut ($1.89.) The rest of the supplies I already had in the pantry (Butter: $1.25, Flour/Sugar/Baking Powder/Milk/Vanilla/Salt: ~$3). So it cost me about $10.25 all in.
The Girl Scouts are selling them for $3.50 a dozen, or $10.50.
Uh, yeah. I saved 25 cents and have about a weeks worth of dirty dishes to deal with. I think I better go eat a cookie.