Samoas Pretzel Bites

If you ever walked into the back room of the clinic I work in, you would never guess in a million years that the room belongs to a group of dentists. Well, maybe the scattered scientific journals and dental magazines would give it away eventually, but more likely than not it is also covered with sweets. Cookies, candy, slices of cake, pastries – you name it, it’s back there. Being addicted to sweets while working in dentistry is not just an ironic quality of mine – it’s so, so common throughout the field! Every office I’ve worked in always had a surplus of sweets in the breakroom, and I’m constantly getting messages through the blog of other dental professionals who love to bake. We don’t take birthdays lightly in our office, the birthday boy or girl always gets a cake, and usually I’ll bake a little something extra for my co-residents as well. Marisa¬†LOVES all things coconut and German chocolate, so while we ordered a German chocolate cake for her actual birthday, I brought these little coconut bites in the day before to show her my love. Not quite as rich as a German chocolate cake, definitely less time intensive than my Homemade Samoas, but still full of all the sweet, nutty, salty flavor she loves!

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Samoas are a flavor of Girl Scout cookie (aka Caramel deLites) that involve a shortbread cookie base with a caramel coconut topping and chocolate drizzle. They’re Ryan’s favorites and I recreated them from scratch a few years ago when he had an out of season craving. I learned my lesson with those cookies though – they’re not easy!! So we’re taking shortcuts today to get similar flavor combinations¬†without all the fuss. The same caramel coconut filling (dressed up for fall this time since I used a pumpkin caramel sauce!) is sandwiched between two pretzels and dipped in chocolate – thus skipping the steps of making the cookies and meticulously arranging the filling on top of the cookie rounds. They were really a cinch to put together and the recipe made a whole bunch (about 50), perfect for our sweet-loving clinic group!

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I opted to skip making my own caramel sauce this time since it was a weeknight project and I was looking to minimize my effort and maximize the results. I saw this Pumpkin Caramel Sauce at the grocery store and knew it would be perfect – the birthday girl is also a huge pumpkin fan. I added a little pumpkin pie spice to the caramel coconut filling as well to give it some extra autumnal spice. I realize I’ve been sharing a lot of coconut recipes recently (Magic Bar Cookies, German Chocolate Torte, ayyyy) but if you bought a big bag of coconut for one of those recipes, here’s another excuse to use it up. Even if you don’t love coconut, just make this recipe anyway so you have to toast the coconut and force your kitchen to smell absolutely amazing!

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Although we spend all day telling children and their parents not to eat too much sugar, we are guilty of committing some of the biggest sugar crimes ever. If a child ever strayed back to our break room and got a glimpse of our shared snacks, they’d probably get a cavity just from looking at it all. Yes we are hypocritical and yes we kinda feel bad about it, but at least we’re all really, really good at brushing and flossing regularly (fluoride is our friend!). And I know a few pretty good dentists just in case those sugar bugs really do start causing problems. In the meantime, here’s the sugar-laden recipe for the rest of you with sweet teeth just like us. And don’t tell the kids of Washington Heights our dirty, sugary secrets, pretty please :)

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Samoa Pretzel Bites

Yield: About 50

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
10-oz caramel sauce (store-bought or homemade - I used pumpkin flavored)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (if desired)
100 pretzels (I chose the square Snaps variety)
6 oz semisweet chocolate

Directions:

Place the coconut in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, and continue to stir with a spatula constantly until the coconut is evenly toasted. Keep your eye on it as the coconut can burn quickly!

Once toasted, set aside 1/2 cup for topping and combine the remaining 2 cups of coconut with the caramel sauce. If you're using fall flavors here, add your pumpkin pie spice and mix until smooth. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing well between each interval, until completely smooth. Line 2 large cookie sheets with wax paper and set aside.

For assembly, place about 1 tbsp of filling on one pretzel, sandwich it together with another pretzel, and then dip the whole thing halfway into the melted chocolate. Set on the prepared cookie sheets and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Repeat until all of your Samoa pretzel sandwiches are completed.

I found these stored best in an airtight container in the fridge are stayed fresh for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

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And one more shot of these cuties, just because I’ve been really into backlit photos these days :)

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