Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Samoa Bars


My family has, in the past, enjoyed quite a few of the cookies that start selling around this time of year by the Girl Scouts. This year, however, we have decided that we will honor our own family's policy of contributing only to Catholic charities when it comes to those cookie sales. Yes, a purchase of cookies is just that, a purchase, but it is also a donation, and many of the Girl Scout policies are not in line with our personal beliefs (which is why we limit our donations to Catholic charities only).

There are other shortbread and mint chocolate cookies on the market similar to the Girl Scout brand, and I can pick them up at the grocery store. One of our family's favorites, however, is that coconut chocolate treat, the Samoa cookie. Last weekend I came across a recipe for a cookie bar that has the same yummy taste and texture and I'll be hanging on to this recipe to make this an annual treat. While these bars don't look exactly like Samoas (like these do) they are easy to make and the taste and texture are right on.

The base is a bit crumbly and I had a difficult time trying to dip them, but I do think the chocolate on the bottom is crucial. I just used a small spatula and spread the chocolate on instead of dipping. The recipe calls for 12 oz. bag of caramels, but I used a 10 oz. bag of Werther's chewy caramels, because that's what was available at my grocer.

Samoa Cookie Bars
makes 30 bars

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 t. salt
3 T. milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.

When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (I used a bench knife).

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper (I had better luck spreading the chocolate on the bottoms with a small spatula). Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.

Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 30 bar cookies.



Lisa said...

With bars like yours it would be like Girl Scout cookie time all year round. Delicious. I have a linky party on my blog every week called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up.

Mirissa said...

I'd love to know more about the Girl Scout policies you find objectionable. I have three girls in Girl Scouts and haven't come across anything objectionable yet, but I'd love a heads up so I can be ready. Sometimes I'm so busy I can overlook things because I think I've picked activities that are safe for my girls!

Anonymous said...

Your directions end: "Let chocolate set completely before storing...." No way would those cookies last until cooled completely around here!!!!!!!! Also, they would not need a storage container -- they'd be eaten right up! Yummmmmmy! Thanks for sharing this one! --Elizabeth P. in Norcross, GA

scmom (Barbara) said...

Thanks, Lisa. I'll try to remember!

Mirissa, It's kind of long and complicated, but in a nutshell, my biggest beef with GSA is that many Girl Scout troops give access to their girls to Planned Parenthood. Every troop is different, but nationally Girl Scouts of American are very feminist and very open to PP's mission. I myself was a Girl Scout and I have dear memories, but that was in the 60s and before the women's movement that had led GSA to its mission today. They are far to "open-minded" for a young girls organization -- open to lesbianism and trans-genderism, earth-worship and even witchcraft. There are many good people in Girl Scouts, and most are ignorant to a lot of what GSA is about, but it's not the Girl Scouts I grew up with. My daughter is in Little Flowers Girls' Club which is a great Catholic group. The girls learn about a virtue and a saint at each meeting and work on badges or medals through service and spiritually nurturing activities. Their website is here ( ) just in case you are interested.

Elizabeth -- I think you better make some right away! ;-) (I admit I think I ate the majority at my house!)

Barb, sfo said...

There's only one problem with this recipe. It calls for caramels. If I unwrap 12 caramels, I will eat 12 caramels. They will never make it into the cookie!

Barb, sfo said...

Just saw the link to "muffins that taste like donuts" in your sidebar. DO try them. They're quick to make and delicious!

Katy said...

I'll have to try these - that is my favorite girl scout cookie!!

(I was going to share my tagalong alternative that I think is even better than the original and very easy, but I forgot your family has nut allergies.)

Shaun said...

Thanks for the info on Girl Scouts, it is prompting me to do some extra researching even though we are a few years off yet from direct participation. You are right to point out that these types of purchases, all our purchases actually, are in some part a form of support and we should always be mindful of that. Thank you for the Godly wisdom!

Linda said...

Hi, Barbara!
I remember that you are enjoying your yogurt maker and wondered if you'd seen the recipe for chocolate yogurt at the blog called: A Plum By Any Other Name? It looks yummy...I thought you might enjoy it, too.