Girl Scouts Samoas Cookies (Campfire Style) and A Burnt Finger

15 Sep

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I recently joined FoodBuzz.com and the first recipe that jumped at me was this Girl Scouts cookie recipe for Samoas by Batter Licker.

My favorite Girl Scouts cookie, that is. I remember being a Girl Scouts Brownie back in the day and buying most of the Samoas myself! I was a fat kid, high cholesterol and all, and my mother tried her best to keep me away from these cookies. Of course, going to college in Boston and having lovely Girl Scouts offer me Samoas at every T station I stepped foot in, didn’t help the kid inside me stay away from her favorite cookies when mom wasn’t looking either. Oh yeah, I looked forward to Girl Scouts cookie season every year and it made my T rides much more enjoyable.

Funny how I ended up romantically involved with a Samoan guy. Guess I have a thing for Samoans!

But I digress.

Of course, as soon as I found this recipe I knew I had to give it a try. I recruited my little sister as my sous-pastry chef and I switched my professional woman hat for my domestic baker bonnet. Because bakers wear bonnets in my world.

As you can see in the pictures, this is how Girl Scouts cookies would look if they were actually baked by Girl Scouts, at a campsite.

Look: very rustic indeed. It is hard to be precise after burning your finger with hot caramel. And, please don’t even think I was about to make piping bags out of parchment paper to make the perfect chocolate drizzles over the cookies at 11pm (and while trying to subdue the pain from by burnt finger)! All along I kept hearing my grandmother’s words in my head “Be extremely careful when handling hot caramel. It is the worst thing you can burn yourself with!”

Texture: Well, I feel obliged to be completely honest with you my readers and I must confess that I was not very impressed with the results of this recipe, or at least my version of it. The cookies lacked the chewy, coconutty, carameliness that characterizes my beloved Samoas. Instead, the caramel/coconut topping turned into a hard-to-bite topping.

I used store bought caramel chews instead of making my own caramel. Perhaps, I should’ve made my own?

Below is the recipe just in case you want to try it out yourselves and give me some suggestions on how to fix my Samoas signature topping. Until then, I think I will await the visit of an eager Girl Scout at my door.

We used different cookie cutters and made heart and star shaped cookies in addition to the traditional donut-shaped Samoas.

Girl Scout Cookies- Samoas
(Adapted from Batter Licker via Food Buzz.com)

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 3 cups grated coconut
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) soft, chewy caramel
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups (16 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 300F.

In a large bowl, mix melted butter, brown sugar (or white sugar and molasses), vanilla and salt until combined. Add flour, and mix until combined.

Lay one piece of parchment paper on kitchen counter. Transfer dough onto parchment paper. Place second piece of parchment paper over dough, and roll out dough with a rolling pin until it is 1/4-inch thick. Let stand while you toast the coconut flakes.

Spread coconut flakes evenly across a baking pan. Toast in oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes. Once coconut flakes are lightly browned, remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl, and allow to cool, stirring periodically (coconut will continue to toast slightly). Set aside, but keep oven heated at 300F.

Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp the dough. Using a 1/2 or 1/4-inch cookie cutter (or the wider end of a pastry tip, in my case), cut center holes out of each cookie. Transfer cut mini doughnut-shaped cookies to parchment or silicon-lined baking sheet. Roll out any remaining dough, and cut additional cookies, transfer to baking sheet, and repeat until all dough is used.

Bake on center rack in oven for 14 to 16 minutes until cookie edges turn lightly golden. Remove from oven, cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to continue cooling.

If using homemade caramel, make according to the instructions here, removing caramel from heat once it reaches 246F and immediately pouring it into a cool bowl (ignore all the subsequent cooling and rolling/cutting instructions). If using store-bought soft caramel chews, heat in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between zapping sessions, until caramel becomes soft and melty.

Pour toasted coconut flakes into a bowl with the caramel and mix until evenly combined.

Using a spatula or your fingers, cover each cookie with the coconut caramel topping, pressing it onto the cookie to adhere. Allow topping to set.

Heat chopped chocolate in the microwave, stirring in 30 second increments, just until barely melted. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate, and set on wax paper to cool. Drizzle the top with chocolate  with a piping bag or spoon if desired. Store on wax paper in an airtight, refrigerated container for 3 to 5 days, if you can manage that sort of self-control. Allow to come to room temperature (unless room temp is 75F or warmer because chocolate will get too soft) before serving so the caramel softens up a bit.

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2 Responses to “Girl Scouts Samoas Cookies (Campfire Style) and A Burnt Finger”

  1. Layla September 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

    YUM. Just….yum. Even if they didn’t taste just like a samoa, they look freakin’ awesome!

  2. Kristen @ Batterlicker September 26, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    So sorry to hear that the topping didn’t come out to your liking, and that you burned your finger to boot! Candy burns are so painful – trust me, I’ve been making candy since I was 6 years old, so I’ve managed every type of burn possible!

    But in case you (or your readers) do want to attempt these cookies again, I wanted to pass on a few tips that should help:

    First, I HIGHLY recommend making the caramel yourself for the best texture results. Making the caramel from scratch only takes about 20 minutes (and you can do it while cookies are cooling), though you will need a candy thermometer. The original recipe for Samoas (http://batterlicker.com/2010/09/samoas/) contains a link to the caramel recipe I used, although as noted in the Samoas recipe, I cooked the caramel to a lower temperature than the original candy caramels (http://batterlicker.com/2010/05/fleur-de-sel-caramels/). I’ve tested the recipe quite a few times with great results, and have also had friends with no candy-making experience test the recipe, and they had no problems either.

    Second, if you use store-bought caramel (and depending on the type and quality of store-bought caramels used), the caramel can harden more than desired when you heat it up in the microwave, especially if you accidentally overheat it (which I’ve done a million times when trying to take short-cuts – it happens, usually when I’m trying to do other things at the same time). Ideally, it’s heated until just warm and soft enough to mix in with the coconut flakes and press the coconut-caramel mixture onto the cookies to stick. Candy is fickle any time it comes into contact with heat (and results will vary depending on the type of caramel used), which is why I recommend making your own fresh caramel from scratch to minimize the less-than-pleasant hard texture that could result from re-heating store-bought caramels.

    Third, for less texture in your caramel-coconut topping, you can toast the coconut flakes for less time or skip the toasting altogether. I toasted the coconut flakes to add some color, texture, and flavor to the topping – this was my personal preference; however, if you prefer a chewier topping (caramel-related issues aside), using barely or not-at-all toasted coconut flakes might work better for you.

    Thanks for trying my recipe, and that’s too bad the store-bought caramel you used didn’t work out. If you don’t mind passing on the brand name of caramel chews used, I’d appreciate it so that I can warn my readers against that particular type!

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