Samoas from scratch: college’s solution to Girl Scout cookie season
There are few better moments than unearthing a box of Samoa Girl Scout cookies shoved to the back of the freezer six months after cookie delivery season. Since my sister was a Girl Scout for many years and my parents wholeheartedly supported her by buying many boxes of cookies, this was a common occurrence in our household.
However, my freezer is now smaller than a shoebox and $4 a box seems nonsensical to my poor student budget — especially since the boxes seem to keep getting smaller. Of course my solution to Samoa-withdrawals is to make them from scratch. This recipe makes about four dozen cookies, way more than a single box. Dare I say they might even taste better too? Try them for yourself and keep them handy for post-midterm munching.
Homemade Samoas Girl Scout Cookies
recipe adapted from justataste.com
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Beat butter and sugar until light with a rubber spatula or electric mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter in two separate additions, mixing after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix until the dough comes together completely.
Divide dough in half and form two disks. Flatten by hand to about a 1/2 inch thick, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
When the dough is firm and chilled all the way through, dust a countertop or table with flour and roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick.
Using a two-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough. Go back over the rounds with a one-inch cookie cutter directly in the center of the circle to create a doughnut shape.
Place on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. As the cookies will not spread very much, it is okay to place them less than an inch apart.
If the dough is soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm, before baking. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the sheet 180 degrees after the first five minutes. The cookies should not be any darker than a faint golden brown.
Let the shortbread cookies cool completely before assembling the Samoas.
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon — make sure there are no seeds or pulp
In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, combine heavy cream and butter and stir with a rubber spatula to prevent the bottom from burning. Bring just to a boil and pour into a metal bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and let it continue to cook until it is a golden caramel color. The liquid in the pan will appear darker than it actually is, so use a metal utensil to drop a little on a white paper towel to check the true color.
When the caramel has reached a gold, deep amber color, immediately take it off the heat and whisk the heavy cream into the caramel. You may need to add the heavy cream gradually since the caramel may bubble up and foam with the first addition. While whisking will keep it from bubbling over, be careful not to get the hot caramel on your hand.
When all the heavy cream has been combined, return the caramel to medium heat and bring it to a boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Take off heat and pour into a metal bowl, whisking occasionally to help it cool down quicker.
“Caramel” recipe above
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
8 ounces dark chocolate
When the caramel has begun to thicken, but is not completely cool, whisk in the milk and salt. If the mixture is too thick, return to medium-low heat and stir until it becomes viscous again.
In a large bowl, stir together the coconut and about 3/4 of the caramel. Add the caramel gradually, just until the coconut is moist and sticks together.
You do not want the coconut topping to be soupy or else your cookies will be a mess. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Fill a small saucepan with about one inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and place a small metal bowl over the pan. Melt the dark chocolate in the bowl, stirring occasionally.
Spread a thin layer of the remaining caramel on each of the cookies. This will help the coconut topping adhere to the cookie better.
Press on just enough coconut topping to cover the top of each cookie, keeping the hole in the middle clear.
Dip the bottom of each cookie in the dark chocolate, using the rim of the bowl to wipe away excess. Place cookies on a clean cookie sheet, parchment paper or other clean flat surface to let dry. When all the cookies are dipped, use a fork or whisk to drizzle any excess chocolate over the cookies. Let sit until the chocolate is set.
Just like the Samoas from the box, you can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature, refrigerate or freeze these cookies — whichever you fancy.