A Sarcastic Appetite

Lazy Samoas
May 18, 2010, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I don’t know how it goes where you are, but in these parts, April showers bring May Girl Scout Cookies. It’s a glorious time of year. Except when I’ve tried to exercise restraint by only purchasing one box of Samoas, prompting outcries and vows of revolt from the Nutritional Ninja. (Interestingly enough, it seems his gluten agenda doesn’t extend to dessert.) Anyway, he moaned and wailed so much after polishing off our lonesome box of Samoas that I thought I’d do a little research and see if the Internets could provide me with a suitable homemade alternative. And the Internets, well, they came through with a doozy.

Now, you must be forewarned. I call these “lazy” only because I skipped a few key steps – but it’s still an afternoon-long process. Most of this is just waiting around: first for the shortbread to cool, then for the toasted coconut mixture to cool, then for the chocolate to set.

So don’t think you can bake these off in a flash and be done with it. They are, however, well worth the wait. The shortbread crust is actually quite tender and delicious, and the toasted coconut and caramel is just like the real thing. I covered these guys with semisweet chocolate, but might try milk chocolate next time. Whatever floats your boat.

Another sidenote: the only “good quality” chewy caramels I found came in 5.5 oz bags, requiring me to purchase 3 to get the requisite 12 oz. Next time I’d probably live dangerously and make it work with 11.

Lazy Samoas

Adapted from this recipe. Yields 12-15 bars…or more, if you’re polite and reasonable, and don’t cut them into giant squares.

Shortbread base:

2 c. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish, then line with parchment paper (just in one direction, so they can easily be lifted out of the pan) and butter that.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour and salt. In another, larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar for several minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla; add the flour mixture a bit at a time, beating until the dough is like wet sand. It won’t come all the way together; press it into the pan and bake, about 22 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Toasted Coconut Caramel & Chocolate Topping:

3 c. shredded, sweetened coconut

12 oz. good quality chewy caramels

1/4 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. milk

12 oz. chocolate chips – whatever kind you like

Leave the oven on, but turn it down to 300º. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and toast the coconut until golden, about 20 minutes – stirring every 5. (Careful! Coconut burns easily.) In a microwaveable bowl, melt the caramel, milk, and salt for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Fold in the toasted coconut, then dollop the mixture onto the cooled shortbread, and spread with a rubber spatula/knife/your hands/whatever works. Let that cool completely.

Lastly, melt the chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl, about 3-4 minutes (be sure to stir every 30 seconds or so). Pour it over the cooled coconut mixture and let sit undisturbed, until completely cooled and set. The bars are easily removed, thanks to the parchment paper, so you can cut them into small, exact bites….or big honking squares.

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