Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Week of Coconut: Samoas Bars

Recently, I have found myself on a coconut kick. It wasn't necessarily a conscious decision; I just started planning things to make, and then I realized that a lot of them involved coconut. I thought it would be fun to turn it into a theme week here on my blog! So most of the recipes I will feature in the coming week will include a coconut ingredient of some kind. I'm kicking off the week with these delectable Samoas Bars.

So Andy's favorite Girl Scout cookie is the Samoa. He could probably eat a whole box of them in one day. When I found out that there was a copycat recipe out there, I got very excited. When I found it, though, I realized just how labor intensive it would be. First, there's the cookie, which needs to be cut into a circle, with a smaller circle cut out in the center. Then there's the caramel/coconut layer on top of that. Then, you'd have to dip each cookie individually into chocolate, and finally drizzle more chocolate across the tops. Sure, they'd be pretty, but I really don't have time to do all that. But, all hope was not lost! Because lo and behold, there was a Samoas Bar cookie recipe as well! This would cut out the tedious step of individual cookies, since these cookies would be baked as a 9x13 sheet. These are time-consuming, as there are many different steps. However, none of the steps are difficult, and it comes together quickly enough.

The bottom layer is basically a big shortbread cookie. Simple, and very fast to throw together and bake off in the oven. One quick note about the shortbread layer, however: I found it to be extremely crumbly. I don't think I did anything wrong; I followed the directions carefully. When I got to the final step of dipping the bars into chocolate, I couldn't successfully do so because the cookie layer literally fell apart and disappeared into the bowl of chocolate. In the future, I may look for a different, sturdier cookie base recipe and use that instead.

While that cookie layer cools, you toast up 3 cups of coconut, then melt down some caramel. You fold the coconut into the melted caramel, and then drop it by spoonfuls onto the cooled cookie. It spreads fairly easily, but you have to work quickly while the caramel is still warm. You simply cover the entire cookie surface with the coconut/caramel,

then allow everything to firm up. After the bars are firm and cool, they can be cut into bars. At this point, they can be dipped in melted dark or semi-sweet chocolate (I used semi-sweet) and placed on wax paper to set. However, like I had said before, I had major problems when I got to this part. I resorted to spooning the melted chocolate onto the bar bottoms and spreading it to cover completely. I had to stick these in the fridge to firm the chocolate enough to peel the bars from the wax paper; otherwise, the chocolate and half the shortbread layer wanted to come right off. Oh, well. The drizzling part was a breeze; I waited until the bars were all chocolatey on the bottom, then I put what was left of the chocolate into a little piping/decorating bag. A quick squiggle across the tops, and they were ready for consumption!

These are delicious, all technical difficulties aside. They truly do remind you of a Samoa cookie, but without the $4.00 per box price tag. They are a good amount of work, so I'm sure I won't be making them that often, but it's a great recipe to keep in your back pocket, especially if you have a Samoa lover in the house!

The recipe can be found here.

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