If you like the famous Samoas from the Girl Scouts, you will love this upscale, homemade version!
I have had a lifelong love affair with Girl Scout cookies, but I find that either they have changed or I have changed. The homemade variety are much more appealing on the palate, and I really like that the ingredients can be better and better for me. In that spirit, I whipped up this recipe as I envision the girls in the iconic late 80's movie "Troop Beverly Hills" would want them. Sparing no extravagance and with the jet-set palate in mind, the cookie base is English shortbread, the chocolate is Beglian dark, the caramel is classic French, and the coconut is unsweetened desiccated organic. Topped with a conspicuous sprinkling of fleur du sel, these Samoas are ready for consumption. "Beverly Hills, what a thrill!" If you're more of a Thin Mint lover, try my Not-So-Thin Mints recipe.
Equipment: cutting board; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large mixing bowls; wooden spoon; hand or standing mixer, rubber spatula; medium saucepan; spoons; rolling pin; 2-inch round cookie cutter; tiny round cookie cutter or pastry tip; parchment paper or silicone baking sheets; sheet pans; offset spatula; cooling rack; paper cornet or small plastic bag for chocolate decoration
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
1½ cups sugar ¼ cup water 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 cup whipping cream 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups dark or semisweet chocolate,
¼ cup dark or semisweet chocolate, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare one large sheet pan or two half-sheet pans with parchment paper or nonstick baking liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar until well combined. Then add the salt. Add the flour and blend just until combined. Do not overbeat or the dough will be dry. If necessary, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water as you blend.
3. Gather the dough and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes up to a few days.
4. Meanwhile, toast the coconut. Spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the preheated 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Now prepare the caramel. Stir sugar, water, and lemon juice in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, being careful not to let any sugar splatter on the inside of the pan or it will burn. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add in cream carefully, as the mixture will bubble vigorously. Return the pan to low heat and stir until any bits of caramel dissolve. Add butter; whisk until smooth. Set aside.
ILOC tip: Should any splattering occur as the sugar-water-lemon juice mixture boils, use a pastry brush soaked in cold water to wipe it away.
6. Remove the disc of dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle a scant amount of flour on your work surface and place the unwrapped dough on top. Roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness using a rolling pin. Cut circles using a 2-inch round cookie cutter and a small round cutter (or the bottom of a party tip). Gather the scraps and continue to cut circles until you have no dough left, Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the pan for 5-10 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.
8. Combine the toasted coconut and the caramel, folding well to incorporate. Set aside.
9. Melt 2 cups of chocolate and place in a small bowl. Carefully dip the bottoms of each cookie in the chocolate, using an offset spatula or butter knife if necessary to smooth the surface and remove any excess chocolate. Place each cookie chocolate side-up on the cooking rack to set. Once all the cookies have been set, place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
10. Remove the cookies from the freezer and turn right side-up, chocolate side-down. Top each cookie with 2-3 teaspoons of coconut-caramel and set on a cooling rack.
11. Top each cookie with 2-3 teaspoons of coconut-caramel and set on a cooling rack.
12. Melt the remaining ¼ cup chocolate and place in a paper cornet or small plastic bag (snip the corner with a scissor). Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Place in the freezer or refrigerator for one hour to set. Store in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator for up to one week.
"You can eat these right out of the freezer (the cookies will be crisp but the coconut-caramel will be chewy), and you will be as happy as can be!"
Makes 3 dozen cookies.