It’s that time of year when you see Girl Scouts wearing their brown sashes wandering from door to door and setting up camp outside grocery stores. Multiple order forms float around offices in a subtle contest to get the most buyers. You guessed correctly, it’s the time of year for Girl Scout cookies! According to the Girl Scout website, February 8th is National Girl Scout Cookie Day.
There has been a cookie order form hanging up in our break room at work for the past 2+ weeks for Girl Scout cookies. Every morning when I’m heating up my oatmeal I stare at it, each afternoon when I’m warming up my soup I ponder getting a box. However, at $4.50 a pop, these cookies are anything but reasonable. Just as I was working up the courage to put my name down for a box of cookies… the flyer vanished, along with my hopes of getting a box of Samoas.
This week I got to thinking, Heather you’re a baker for goodness sakes. If the Girl Scouts of America can mass produce thousands of boxes of Samoas each year, surely this is something that you can tackle in your kitchen. After all I was a Girl Scout back in the day—Washington County troop 1848 to be precise. I started out as a brownie scout and progressed to a junior scout. I earned badges, camped out in the woods, and even sold cookies myself! Surely, I could handle a simple cookie recipe.
These little morsels sure are delicious, but they do require a bit of work. Since my kitchen isn’t the equivalent of a factory assembly line, the baking has to be done in stages. First make the shortbread, then add the coconut and caramel topping, and finally add the chocolate bottom and decorations on top. The end result was something better than I could have hoped for. It was better than the little purple box of Samoas that I’d grown to love.
Girl Scout Samoa Cookies
Adapted from Just a Pinch
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk
3 cups shredded coconut
12 ounces chewy caramels
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon milk
8 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.
Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about ¼-inch thickness (or slightly less) and use a 1 ½-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large pot with salt and milk. Cook over low heat stirring frequently until caramel has melted. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 teaspoons per cookie.
While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a double boiler over low heat on the stove. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
Working with the caramel and coconut mixture can get difficult if it begins to harden before you have coated all the cookies. If this happens, simply move the pan back to the stove on low heat for 2-3 minutes to allow the mixture to warm again.