I’ve had these photos and this recipe ready to go for awhile. Months, really. But I wanted to hold off from sharing them until I knew we’d all be yearning for the sacred purple boxes long after they were available. Good luck finding a box of Samoas (or Caramel deLites, depending on your region) in the month of September! Those girls are too busy going back to school these days to fundraise, so the rest of us are left to suffer without our favorite cookies. Samoas aren’t even my favorites (Thin Mints all the way!), but they are Ryan’s go-to, so if your significant other is craving a Girl Scout fix off-season, rest assured that I have a copy-cat recipe today that’s available all year round :)
I’ve never been a huge fan of coconut, which explains why Samoas haven’t ranked among my favorites of all time, but in the past year or so I’ve really warmed up to the flavor. Maybe because I’ve been toasting it at home to adorn carrot cake cupcakes and cheesecakes, and the aroma is absolutely intoxicating, so I can’t help but like it more and more. The coconut flavor here is definitely a main player, and the sweet caramel and chocolate really do make for a fantastic combination. Ryan insists that the taste doesn’t exactly match the Scouts’ version, but he still gobbled them down without a problem! Because even if they’re not a perfect duplicate, you really can’t go wrong with a delicious shortbead crust topped with plenty of toasted coconut coated in sweet caramel and dipped and drizzled with semisweet chocolate.
I got this recipe from Kelly of Just a Taste after I fell in love with her photographs and was really happy that mine turned out almost just as pretty as hers! She mentions in her post, and I totally agree, that there are definitely a lot of steps involved in making these cookies. The cookies have to be rolled and cut, the coconut mixture needs to be made and cooled, the cookies dipped and drizzled – there’s a lot going on, all wonderful of course, but can be overwhelming for beginner bakers. I wanted to do the beloved cookie as true to its original form as possible so I endured the many steps, but I may have to try her cookie bar version that’s much easier to make next time we’re craving some caramel delight goodness! In the meantime, here’s the cookie recipe if you’re up for the challenge and need a Girl Scout fix :)
Homemade Samoas Cookies
Recipe adapted from Just a Taste
Yield: 24 cookies
for the cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
for the coconut topping:
1-1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
8 oz store bought caramels
1-1/2 tbsp milk
1/8 tsp salt
4 oz semisweet chocolate (I used Baker's)
for the cookies:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter in 3 increments and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the milk and vanilla, and continue blending until mixture is just combined. Use your hands to form the dough into a disk, then wrap it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about an hour.
After the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. Roll out the disk onto a lightly floured surface so it's about 1/8" thick. Use a donut-shaped cookie cutter (or 2 circle cutters - one larger and one smaller to make donut shapes) to cut out the cookies and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the cookies just start to turn golden brown (err on the side of underbaking here). Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling to cool completely.
for the coconut topping:
In a dry medium saucepan, toast the shredded coconut over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently and be careful not to let it burn (make sure to keep your eye on it!). Remove from the saucepan and set aside.
In a double boiling, melt the caramels, milk, and salt until the caramels are fully melted. Remove from the heat and in a large bowl combine 3/4 of the caramel mixture with the toasted coconut. Spread the rest of the caramel on top of the cookies to act as a "glue", then press a bit of coconut mixture atop each cookie. (If the mixture gets too hard to work with, microwave it for 10 seconds or until it's spreadable again) Let the cookies/mixture cool and set for at least 30 minutes.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth, stirring vigorously after each interval. Dip the bottoms of each cookie into the melted chocolate and place them on a wax-paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle the cookies with chocolate and place the cookies in the fridge for 10-20 minutes until the chocolate is fully hardened.