A friend posted a link to a recipe for homemade Girl Scout Samoas (aka Caramel De-Lites). I decided to make a double batch for a fundraiser.
First of all, these cookies are fiddly. Oh so fiddly are these cookies. Allow yourself lots of time… these took me about six hours, start to finish.
I suspect some of the problems people were having with the “wet” dough was that they were melting their butter. Can’t do that…
I don’t know if it helped, but I whipped the butter and cream in my stand mixer for several minutes. It got really fluffy, and I think it made a nice dough.
I had to use bread flour, and it may have toughened the shortbread bases… which was probably a good thing, because you’re going to have to handle them none too gently later on. They taste fine, nice and crumbly, not chewy or hard at all.
I used the 2-inch mouth of a canning funnel and a 1/2-inch cake decorating tip to cut out the cookies and hole. If I were gonna make these again, I would just make the 2″ rounds and forget the hole. But it looks cute. Also, you want to go more towards the 1/4″ thickness, not less.
When you are cutting out the middles with the cake decorating tip, it is extremely amusing to hold the wide end to your lips, face upwards, and blow the dot of dough in the air and then try to catch it in your mouth.
With those measurements, it took 17 minutes for the cookies to bake. They do NOT brown; you’re looking for them to firm up just a bit, but if you overcook them, they’ll be too brittle and dry. I baked them one 13×18″ sheet at a time, middle of the oven, using a Silpat.
I used Werther’s caramels, four 5.5 oz. bags, in a double boiler made of my metal Kitchen-Aid mixer bowl over a pasta pot. This kept the coconut/caramel mixture soft and warm.
The time it takes to unwrap all the caramels is approximately the same amount of time it takes to toast the coconut.
Instead of trying to spread the caramel mixture in a circle, I finally hit on the idea of just spreading it across the whole cookie, and then using a spoon handle to poke out the hole. The caramel was driving me crazy, but I’m glad I poked the hole out because the chocolate shows through and looks really nice.
Using the same double-boiler set-up, I wound up using two 11.5 oz. bags of Ghirardelli bittersweet 60% cacao chocolate pieces.
I used a pretty tiny cake decorating tip and bag; I thought it made the cookies look rather elegant.
If I hadn’t gracefully dumped part of a tray when I removed them from the oven, I would have had 60 finished cookies total from that double batch (that came out to about 30 cents and six minutes per cookie!).
Did I mention how fiddly these cookies are? But they are soooo good… like fabulous little candy bars!