Homemade Samoa Bars

10:20 PM



I have been on a huge baking-spree lately. I have been scouring sites and blogs for yummy recipes to try, and I've added so many to my "to try" pile that I don't think I'll live long enough to try them! It doesn't help that my husband is currently deployed, leaving me one less person to eat all the yumminess that is taking over my kitchen. Its also one less workplace I can pawn my food off on. And making an entire batch of oh-so-good homemade Girl Scout cookies sure isn't helping my weight loss efforts either! What is a girl to do? Maybe I should don my 8 year old's Brownie outfit and try to rid the extras to my neighbors, while making a little pocket change? Nah...I'm afraid the police will have a different idea of what I'm selling. I'll just work off the calories the old-fashioned way and indulge. Walking on the treadmill while eating Samoas will keep the caramel and chocolate from clinging to my thighs, right? I think its worth a shot.


The cookie culprit I speak of is an amazing recipe I found on bakingbites.com. Nicole, my new hero in life, graciously shared a Homemade Samoa Bar recipe that I had to make. She also has a recipe on how to make them look like the real thing, but I don't think I have the patience to restrain myself from eating the entire batch before finishing making them look so cute. I made them last night, and while it is a multi-step process requiring a little bit of cooling time in between steps, it was very simple to make, and so worth the efforts. They are absolutely gorgeous to look at, with all the menacing chocolate drizzles screaming out to be eaten. The cookie tastes very much like the original Samoa cookie, with the added benefit that it is a heartier cookie - thicker, a little denser, and you get way more than a tease's worth like you do with a $3 box of cookies. Don't get me wrong, I'm an avid supporter of the troops and always buy boxes (or cases...) of cookies every year, but who can wait for February for cookie season? Not me!


The recipe below is slightly adapted from bakingbite's site, mostly just to include notes for myself for next time.





Homemade Samoa Bars
Serves 24


Cookie Base
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Topping
3 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
12 ounces chewy caramels, good quality (I used 2 bags + a small handful of Werther's caramels)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
10 ounces chocolate chips, dark or semi-sweet


Crust:


1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.


2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.


3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.


Topping:


1. Preheat oven to 300˚.


2. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.


3. Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.


4. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.


5. When cooled, cut into 24 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).


6. Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place upside-down on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Allow to the chocolate to cool and harden (place in refrigerator to speed the process).


7. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.

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