Happy New Years! I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe holiday weekend. We went to a friends house to have some snacks before heading out to ring in the new year, and I brought these bar cookies. They have been on my "bucket list" of things to make for a while now, but I was saving them for a special occasion. These babies are a rich treat and a homemade version of the classic Girl Scout cookies, also known as Caramel de-Lites.
Homemade Samoa Bars
This was adapted from Baking Bites, and while I did like the cookie bars, I will try a different recipe for the shortbread cookie base next time. I'm not sure exactly how I can change it, but it was way too thick for me so it did not turn out exactly like the originals. That being said, the topping that I adapted was to die for!
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 C shredded coconut, sweetened
14 oz chewy caramels
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 T milk
10 oz semisweet chocolate chips
The first thing I did was spread out the coconut on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and toast at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Bake until golden; cool on baking sheet and turn oven up to 350 degrees.
While the coconut is toasting, spray a 9X13 baking dish with Baker's Joy and begin making the cookie base. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Begin adding the adding the flour and salt and beat it together slowly until "mixture is crumbly, like wet sand." This is where I think I would change the recipe because my mixture came together and was creamy; I think it needed more flour. Press the dough into the prepared dish and press into an even layer. Bake for 25 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Place dish on wire rack to cool completely before topping.
To make the topping, unwrap the caramels and place them in a large, microwaveable, bowl with milk and salt. Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir, until nice and smooth.
Fold in coconut with spatula. Spread topping evenly over cookie base and let cool. When cooled, cut into 24 bars with large knife (shortbread will be slightly crumbly). Melt chocolate and dip the base of the bars into the chocolate. Place on parchment or wax paper to cool.
Use left over chocolate to drizzle over cookies with a piping bag or a zip-lock bag with corer snipped off. Let chocolate set completely before storing in airtight container.