Homemade samoas. Let's have a collective "yum." Yum.
It all began when I entered a contest to win some products from Bob's Red Mill from a blog I read often, Design, Dining, and Diapers. I happened to win, and soon after received this lovely box in the mail. Thanks Taryn!
1 bag of gluten free shortbread cookie mix! Now the question was, what to make? I've used some other Bob's Red Mill products, but never this mix. I've also never done anything gluten free.
I brainstormed, consulted my other half who would be eating whatever I created, and decided to make homemade samoas, our all-time favorite Girl Scout cookie. Almost every one I know favors Thin Mints, but we both always favored Samoas growing up. I think we were meant to be. And this homemade version? Probably much cheaper and we can have them year round. :)
The process is a bit lengthy, but worth it. Oh so worth it. Who doesn't love a buttery cookie with chocolate and gooey caramel with flavorful bites of toasted coconut?
Here's how I did it.
Homemade Samoas (approx. 40-45 cookies)
What You Need:
1 package of Bob's Red Mill GF shortbread cookie mix (or your own favorite shortbread cookie recipe)
1/2 package of unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
1/2 package of caramels (I used Kraft caramel bits), melted
1/2 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted with a bit of butter added
With this recipe, you've got the shortbread cookie base to worry about and then the add-ons.
To start, I toasted up half a bag of coconut flakes. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F, empty half the contents of the bag onto a baking sheet, and pop in the oven for an hour. Do this while you're working on the shortbread cookies. When it's finished, set it aside.
Back to the cookies. I utilized this awesome mix, and it was a lifesaver! I followed the directions on the bag exactly, except added an extra tablespoon of water to make the mix not as dry.
I rolled the dough out (the thinner the better I think), used a circle cookie cutter, and made a ton of cookies. I made the customary center circle cut-out, although with all the added toppings you couldn't see them very well! You could skip this step, make the circles after you add the topping, or carefully apply the topping so you can see the centers. I got carried away with the topping, and I don't regret it one bit. Oh well little circles.
As I said, this mix was easy and tasted quite good! It was nice to use a mix and not have to worry too much about that part of the process. After making and baking the mix according to package instructions, take cookies off the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.
Here comes the fun, messy, and rewarding part of this process: making these shortbread cookies into samoas.
Take half the bag of caramels and melt in the microwave. As I used caramel bits, the time in the microwave was minimal, as they melted quick! I'd do 30 second intervals, and stir until smooth. Once smooth, add all that amazing toasted coconut to the bowl and mix well with a spatula.
I took my cookie sheet, covered it in wax paper, and topped away! Top each cookie with 2-3 tablespoons of the caramel/coconut mixture. I used a large dinner spoon and this seemed to work well. Be careful-- this caramel/coconut mixture is hot!
If the mixture becomes hard to work with, pop it into the microwave for a little bit to loosen things up and get things back to being easily spreadable.
Let the cookies sit with the caramel/coconut mixture so it hardens a bit. If you want to speed up the process, pop the sheet into the fridge for a few minutes.
While the topping hardens, the chocolate makes its debut. Melt half the bag of chocolate chips. My method was with the microwave and using a bit of butter to make things thinner. You want the chocolate in a consistency that where you can easily dip the bottoms of the cookies in.
Once the chocolate is ready and melted in its bowl, take out all those cookies. I just used my hands to hold the cookie around the edges, and then I dipped! It's as easy as that. You could let the chocolate harden with the cookies face up or face down. I found the chocolate on the wax paper was too much, and found greater success with the chocolate facing upwards instead of directly on the wax paper.
I popped mine in the fridge again. I was anxiously awaiting my chance to eat these bad boys. Once everything is set, there is one last step. Melt a little more chocolate, fill a ziploc bag, and cut the corner. Use your little piping creation to drizzle the melted chocolate all over the tops of these little treats.
Cookies complete. I'm not going to lie--it's a lot of steps. A bit of work, but when you eat one (or three), you'll think "job well done".
Job well done indeed. I kept these in a tupperware container in the fridge, and they've kept well.
Now the real question arises: are they better than the Girl Scout Samoas? They aren't the same, but I love them because of what they are---homemade! You have control over the size of the cookie, the amount of topping you want, and how much chocolate-to-topping ratio you enjoy. (We determined lots of topping with minimal chocolate!)
I think they are amazing. Paired with a glass of milk, it makes me feel fulfilled. A time of joy and happiness, all thanks to a bit of shortbread, a heaping helping of caramel and coconut, and a smear and drizzle of chocolate.