Thursday, August 12, 2010

Samoas Bars

I'm not too proud of the way these turned out. I know. They're ugly. What can I say? I was in a hurry. That being said though, they really are delicious and surprisingly true to the flavors of a real girlscout samoa. And truly with girlscout cookie prices rising every year these prove to be a good alternative. Now if only I could get the samoa look down. Instead I will just say that I desperately needed to go to the auto parts store and had a ride ready so my cooking took the back seat so to speak. The bars are just a buttery shortbread topped with a caramel-coconut mixture and then drizzled in sweet sweet chocolate. I thought that I could handle them in the short amount of time I had but I was very wrong. The times in the recipe are deceiving because the bars desperately need to cool in between every step. I was a little rushed. That's why they don't look so appetizing. Taste though? Amazing!

Also have I ever mentioned how much I love bar desserts? Love them! I'm completely obsessed in fact.

This is the shortbread base. Note the wire cooling rack, an absolute necessity in this recipe as I mentioned before. Also note the parchment paper as another necessity since these are incredibly sticky and covered in chocolate.
Luckily there are many components that can distract you during the cooling process, such as toasting the coconut. I don't think I have ever toasted my own coconut before but it made my kitchen smell absolutely heavenly. I decided to follow the toasting instructions on my bag of coconut rather than the one in the recipe.
I could not find these caramels anywhere. Both King Soopers and Safeway failed me but Target (the place outside of walking distance naturally) didn't let me down. I guess I could have just waited until halloween to make these. I always see these then for caramel apples.
Then mix the caramel and coconut together to form this delicious and sticky mix. I ate some right there. oops.
I cannot stress enough the importance of greasing the spatula you use to spread the caramel over the cookies. See how flat the topping is in the picture? That's from greasing the spatula. Then naturally they need to cool after that before cutting into bars.
This was my hectic chocolate dipping/dripping/flinging chocolate station. But despite the mess, I can't say it enough that the taste of these was totally worth it.

And now for the recipe found initially here on Baking Bites (the ones on that site look gorgeous by the way... as me offering proof that it can be done) but here it is right here:

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
12 oz chewy caramels (mine came in a 14 oz bag so I ate 5)
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp milk
10 oz semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9/13 baking pan. In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and then gradually add the flour and salt until the mixture is crumbly. Press this down evenly into the bottom of the 9x13 pan and then bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool completely!

2. While the cookie base is cooling, change the temperature on the oven to 300 degrees to toast the coconut. Place the shredded coconut on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and put cook for about twenty minutes, tossing around the coconut every 3-5 minutes. Cool and set aside.

Wait until the cookie bars have cooled completely to begin this step.

3. Unwrap the caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl with the milk and salt. Beware, unwrapping is far from fun. Microwave on high for 3 or 4 minutes, stopping a few times to stir the caramels around. While still hot, stir in the toasted coconut.

4. greas a spatula and pour the caramel over the cookie bars and spread it out evenly. Let this cool completely once again then cut into bars.

5. Melt chocolate in another microwave safe bowl, stopping the microwave and stirring occasionally so the chocolate doesn't burn. Dip the shortbread base of each bar into the melted chocolate and then place on a piece of parchment paper. Drizzle the rest of the chocolate on top using a ziploc with a corner chopped off or any drizzling method of choice.

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