Faux Girl Scout cookies: Homemade Samoa cookies

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Samoa cookies are not the simplest cookies to make. Easier to buy a box from the Girl Scouts. But then it won’t be homemade, won’t be fresh, won’t be quite the thing you get when you make something of your own.

I made the Samoas once before, and they were very popular. When I wrote up the recipe and baking process last time (way back in 2011!) I included a few photos of the process.

Here I repeat just the recipe and a couple of snaps.

Samoa cookies: Recipe
1. Make the dulce de leche (or buy it) and toast the coconut (you can do a day or two in advance)
2. Make the cookie dough (it will need to chill for a few hours before you can roll it out and cut it)

Shortbread cookie dough
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (do not add if you have used salted butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk (you may not need this much – you are just looking to get the right consistency)

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in one bowl. Set aside briefly. In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy at medium speed, about 3-4 minutes. (I did this by hand.) Mix in the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add the dry ingredient mixture, followed by the milk, one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together without being sticky. The dough should be a soft ball.

Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces and form each one into a rectangle. Wrap the pieces of dough in parchment or plastic wrap and freeze for about 45 minutes to an hour. (You could also just put it in the fridge, as I did. I left it overnight.)

When ready to roll out, cut and bake, take one of your dough rectangles out and set aside to soften slightly. Preheat your oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment.

When ready, put down a piece of parchment on your work surface. Lightly flour and put your dough on top. Lightly flour the top of the dough and add another sheet of parchment. Roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter and cut the dough into rounds. Cut a center hole (I used the round end of a frosting tip), and then transfer to your prepared cookie sheet. Gather the scrap dough and repeat the rolling out/cutting process.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then put on wire racks and allow them to cool completely. While cooling, make the topping.

Caramel-coconut topping
3 cups toasted coconut (you can use sweetened or unsweetened and can use untoasted coconut if you prefer)
1 14oz can of of dulce de leche
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
a bag of dark or semisweet chocolate chips (to melt)

Open the dulce de leche and stir it together with milk and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a couple of times to smooth the caramel. When smooth, add toasted coconut and stir completely. (And no, actually, it’s not pretty.)

Spread 2 to 3 teaspoons of the topping onto each cooled shortbread cookie. While the topping sets, melt the chocolate chips (either in a double boiler or in the microwave, whichever works best for you).

Once the chocolate is melted, spread chocolate onto the bottoms of each cookie and put them on a clean sheet of parchment.

You will then want to drizzle chocolate over the finished cookies — I just did this by dipping a fork into the remaining melted chocolate and drizzling it over the cookies. You can be more orderly about this by using a piping bag.

Refrigerate the cookies for a few minutes to let the chocolate firm up. Store the cookies between parchment sheets in airtight containers.

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