Hands-on time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours, 10 MINUTES
Two things have remained memorable from my time as a Girl Scout (or Brownie, rather) and those are the hideous, uncomfortable, brown pants I wore when everyone else in my troop wore skirts, and, of course, selling cookies. The latter—being a positive memory—inspired me to make my own version of their popular treats. Samoas, or Caramel deLites as they’re also called, were my favorite Girl Scout cookie. What’s not to love about rich, buttery shortbread topped with a creamy, coconut-caramel sauce and drizzled with sweet chocolate? These look and taste amazingly close to the real deal; honestly, you could probably try selling them. Just make sure to wear the outfit.
You Will Need
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Make the Cookies: Beat the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and beat until combined.
Sift together the flour and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add the sifted ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on low speed until combined. Shape the dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, Make the Topping: Spread the coconut on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. (Be careful, as coconut burns easily!) Set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
Unwrap the chilled dough disk, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut the dough, using a floured 2-inch round cutter. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut out a 3⁄4-inch circle in the center of each cookie, reserving the cutouts for scraps. (I use the small round tip of a pastry tube to cut out the inner circle.) Reroll the scraps as necessary. Place the cookies, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Bake until the edges begin to slightly brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
For the Coconut-Caramel Topping, place the caramels, milk, and salt in a saucepan over low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut, and remove from the heat.
Spread the topping over the top of each cooled cookie. (I found the easiest method is to cover the entire cookie, and then stick the tip of my knife through the hole to remove the topping in the center.) Let stand until the topping is set, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, Make the Chocolate Coating: Pour water to a depth of 1 inch into the bottom of a double boiler over medium; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer; place the chocolate in the top of the double boiler (or place a heat-proof bowl over simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bowl), and stir until melted. Add the vegetable oil, and stir until you have a glossy chocolate sauce. Remove from the heat.
Dip the bottoms of the caramel-covered cookies into the Chocolate Coating by holding each cookie between your thumb and pointer finger. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Place the remaining Chocolate Coating in a piping bag, a ziplock plastic bag with the corner snipped off, or a plastic condiment squeeze bottle. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of each cookie. Chill the cookies until firm and set, about 15 minutes.