As we past possibly the 4th cookie stand we’ve seen so far this year last Friday evening on the way to the grocery store, Kyle asked me why Girl Scouts don’t sell cookies door-to-door anymore. We get bombarded at work with order forms, stalked into and out of the grocery store, K-Mart, the bank, the post office, etc. by Brownies selling cookies, yet it’s been years since we’ve had a Girl Scout come to our house to hawk her wares. What happened here?
In a matter of that one quick conversation, Kyle got me all worked up. I walked my ass off for years trying to sell enough boxes to garner new patches for my sash (that I’d have to sew on myself, of course). My mom worked at home and dad in construction or as a truck driver on the road for much of my childhood so my cookie order form never sat in a break room waiting to get filled. So I walked and walked and walked. And I’m sure when I was little, my mom walked with me, but I know that by the time I was 9 or 10, I was either out selling with my little brother or with friends from my troop. When did this cultural rite of passage for girls go by the wayside, leaving the parents do the “hard work” of shaming their co-workers (yeah right) to buy their kid’s cookies or by setting up a stand to shame us shoppers (who, by the way, never carry cash!)?
Alright, either way, I still do love me some Girl Scout cookies. The summers I was a counselor at my local GS camp were the best. Seriously guys – you think Willy Wonka had it good? Think about the stockpile of cookies at a Girl Scout camp!! A never.ending.supply. And samoas have definitely been a favorite of mine for years. These homemade samoas are very similar except that I got lazy and didn’t punch out an extra whole in the center of the butter cookies, thereby leaving extra real estate to be covered by caramel-coated toasted coconut. It wasn’t a horrible problem to have. They are dream cookies for coconut lovers like me, if not a little time-consuming and slightly frustrating to make (the caramel firms up pretty quickly)…but totally and completely worth the time anyway. Now to go dig out that sash…
For the cookies:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the caramel coconut topping:
- 2 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 15 oz caramels, unwrapped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp salt
For dipping and drizzling:
- 8 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- To make the cookies: Sift together flour and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar; mix until smooth. Mix in half of the egg and the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch rounds. Using a spatula, transfer rounds to baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 inch apart.
- Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are barely golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks using a spatula to let cool completely.
- To make the caramel coconut topping: Spread the coconut out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet (use 2 sheets if one is overloaded). In the 350 degree preheated oven, toast the coconut for 10-12 minutes, tossing halfway through as the pieces on the edges start to brown. Once the coconut is uniformly browned, transfer it to large bowl and let it cool – it will crisp as it cools. Heat the caramels in a small saucepan over low heat with the cream and salt until the caramel is melted, stirring to combine the ingredients. Pour the 3/4 of the caramel over the coconut and stir everything together with a silicone spatula. Pour the remaining 1/4 of the caramel into a small bowl.
- Spread a thin layer of the reserved caramel onto the top of a cookie then dollop 1 tablespoon of the caramel coconut mixture on top of the caramel layer, spreading it out to the edges of the cookie. The bottom layer of caramel will help the caramel-coconut to adhere to the cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies, setting them back on the parchment-lined baking sheets. If the caramel topping hardens in the bowl, heat briefly in the microwave to soften. Allow the caramel topping to set for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave for 30 second increments, until melted and smooth. Dip the bottom of each cookie in the chocolate and place them back on the baking sheets to harden. Once all the cookies have been dipped, drizzle the remaining chocolate over the cookies. Store at room temperature. Cookies can be heated for 10 seconds in the microwave if the caramel becomes difficult to bite into.
Yields: about 3 dozen (2-inch) cookies