Samoa Cookie Bars

We’re going to a football party today, so yesterday I asked my husband what he wanted to bring. I right away thought maybe corn salsa (post coming up later this week!) and some tortilla chips, but his first thoughts are always desserts! I guess that balances us out. He won this time.

He’s wanted me to make Samoa cookies – our favorite Girl Scout Cookie, and America’s #2 to the Thin Mint – as long as I’ve known him. In fact, we usually only allow ourselves 2 boxes of these because they may not make it through the week. Horrible, I know, but oh so good! So I found this recipe – Samoa Cookie Bars by Baking Bites. Same lovely shortbread cookie with chocolate, caramel, and coconut – but in a bar cookie!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt, split into 1/4 tsps.
  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate
There are three basic steps to this bar cookie – 1) Make the shortbread base, 2) Carmel/coconut topping, 3) Dunk everything in chocolate! Who doesn’t love #3!
For the bar cookie, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and the sugar in your mixer until light and fluffy – a couple minutes.
Then add the salt and flour to the bowl – 1/2 cup at a time – letting everything incorporate before adding the next portion of flour. Once it’s done, it should be a crumbly sand mixture that comes together when you press it.
Press into either a greased or parchment paper lined 13×9 baking dish. I went with parchment because it makes it very easy to lift the cookies out later when the coconut mixture has cooled. Hint – use a baggie on your hand to stop it from sticking and to save yourself a run to the sink!
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Cool completely.
Now on to step 2, turn your oven down to 300 degrees and spread the coconut on a cookie sheet. Stir every 5 minutes until your coconut is lovely and golden brown.
Combine the caramels, milk, and last 1/4 tsp. salt in a microwaveable bowl and heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute. Once it’s all melted toss in your coconut and stir to combine.
Take your spatula, I used an offset spatula for this, and spread the coconut-caramel mixture over the shortbread. It will be a little hard to spread at first, but keep with it! You can also spray your spatula with a little cooking spray to help it from sticking. Cool completely.
Once cool, cut into squares. I found the easiest way to do this was a pizza cutter – metal or plastic. Spray both sides of it with a little cooking spray and you’ll have no sticking problems.
Last step! Heat the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl for a couple minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Dunk each bar cookie into the chocolate and place on wax or parchment paper to cool. Some of the cookie may start to crumble from the edges, but the chocolate will cover it up.
Once all of your cookies have been dunked in the lovely chocolate, put the remaining into a pastry bag and drizzle on top of each cookie. I don’t keep pastry bags in stock, but I do have plastic baggies. I’ve had some interesting times trying to hold a bag open while pouring or even spooning in the filling, but I’ve discovered this trick that makes life so much easier! Take a small cup or mug and place the baggie into it, folding the sides over. Now spoon in your chocolate. See – now you only need two hands, not four!
Snip a small corner of the baggie with some scissors and drizzle away!
Let them cool until the chocolate is completely set. I was impatient and put them on cookie sheets in the fridge.
Now, these dont taste exactly like Samoas, but to me they’re kind of a grown-up version. The addition of salt in the shortbread layer and coconut caramel layer enhances the lovely toasty, creamy, and chocolate layers. I’d definitely make them again!
Buon appetito!

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