Thursday, April 23, 2015

Samoa Cookie Bars

About .6 seconds after Annie's Eats posted the recipe for Samoa cookie bars, Kenzie was asking for them.  There's just something about Girl Scout cookies, isn't there?  And the problem is that the boxes are shrinking and the price is going up.  As an elementary school teacher, I luckily (or unluckily) have a constant stream of Girl Scouts trying to get me to buy cookies from them (and Boy Scouts selling popcorn... they got the short end of the stick).  To be honest, as you know, I am not much of a sweet tooth, but even I don't mind a Thin Mint every now and then.  Although most of my Girl Scout cookie boxes live in my school cabinets until they are too old to eat anymore.  I'm a freak, I know.

Apparently, Kenzie's love for Samoas is strong, though, so I agreed to make these one day when I was bringing dinner over to her house anyway.  They are pretty fantastic, I have to admit.  A shortbread cookie crust is topped with caramel and coconut, and of course the telltale Samoa chocolate drizzle.  And yes, there is even a thin layer of chocolate underneath.  Besides being delicious, they just look delicious too.  Don't they?


Samoa cookie bars
from Annie's Eats
makes 20 bars

for shortbread base:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
for the topping:
11 1/2 ounces soft caramels
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
pinch of coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x9" baking pan with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add in the flour baking powder, and salt, and mix on low until just combined.  Add in the milk and vanilla and blend in briefly.  Transfer the dough mixture to the prepared pan and press down into an even layer.  Bake about 20 - 24 minutes, or until the shortbread is just set and light golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

2) Add the chocolate for the cookie base to a small bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Spread the chocolate in a thin later onto a piece of parchment paper over an area measuring around 9x9 inches.  Remove the shortbread from the baking pan and place on top of the melted chocolate to coat the bottom completely.  Using the parchment as a sling, gently return the slab of shortbread to the pan.

3) In a medium bowl, combine the caramels and the milk.  Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is fully melted and smooth.  Stir in the salt, coconut extract, and toasted coconut.  Transfer the mixture to the pan with the shortbread and spread or press in an even layer.  Melt the remaining chopped chocolate and drizzle over the top of the bars.  Let set and cool completely before slicing and serving.

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