Monday, September 20, 2010

Homemade Samoas bars

Girl scout cookie season is long past by now but their delicious siren song still sings. When looking for recipes to make while my foodie friend was out visiting we remembered this one and put it on our list. For those of you who don't know what a Samosa is, its a shortbread cookie covered in caramel and toasted coconut, dipped and drizzled with chocolate. They are delicious in this Witches' opinion.

After making this the results are mixed. The taste is pretty good, very much like a Samosa cookie. Its fairly simple to make, up to a point. The dipping it in chocolate is where things went horribly wrong for me. Actually a few things went wrong...

First, the recipe from Baking Bites says that the crust will be crumbly and you'll have to press it together in the pan. This was NOT the case for me, my crust batter was almost runny and very sticky. It was pressed into the pan, but not in a crumbly form.

Second, happened after baking the crust and putting the yummy caramel and coconut topping on. Oh yeah, I forgot the salt in the caramel too, that kinda bites. Anyway. So its topped, they're cooled down, I slice them into bars as instructed. Seems like it went OK, until I went to take a bar out to dip into my melted chocolate.

The crust fell apart and crumbled away! Ok, maybe its just the first bar, keep going. D'oh! Nope the 2nd bar is a cookie crumb coated piece of caramel. Um, ok. Maybe I should have lined my pan with parchment, but damn, you'd think with 1 1/2 sticks of butter there'd be enough grease that nothing stick! Guess I'd be wrong!

Ok so maybe I can dip it anyway...

Ahh...well great now I have a big old chunk of cookie floating in my chocolate. Oh screw this: I'm just gonna dump the chocolate on top of the bars. Yeah it'll be ugly, sue me! I don't care, I just want some yummy girlscout cookie tastin' bars! Sheesh!

Wow. You weren't lyin' they are ugly. Oh well at least they taste good, right? Yeah, well...they're ok. Not horrible but really not that great either. The cookie is incredibly dry and falls apart. The caramel and coconut part is good. The chocolate is only as good as the chocolate you start with, and in this case it was chocolate chips. They weren't that good. Chocolate chips have their place, like in cookies, but as a chocolate coating I'm just not sold. The flavor isn't rich enough and doesn't blend with the other ingredients like higher quality chocolate would. And it tends to bloom after you spread & cool it, meaning the butterfat solids come to the surface causing a white haze to cover the chocolate. This is from the heating & cooling, the chocolate looses its temper (so does the cook from time to time) and it gets ugly.

Would I make these again? Yes, but with some changes in the recipe. I'd change the cookie part entirely and use better chocolate. I'd also probably make my own caramel, homemade is SO much better! I'd give this recipe 6.5 out of 10 stars.

Samoas bars
from Baking Bites
makes about 30 bars

Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.
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 prepapred 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.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

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 (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
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. 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.


  1. I almost tried making these a few months back and for some reason I decided against I'm sorta glad I didn't make them!!! Seems like a lot of hassle for a "so-so" dessert! I'll just wait until the Girl Scouts are selling cookies again!!

  2. Great post! I actually like hearing about when a recipe didn't go as planned. This happens to me all the time! I'm so confused by tempering chocolate as well (and loved your line about the cook losing their temper - I so do that!)

  3. Great blog idea. Although im not surprised to see you havent posted since September! I doubt you even screw up often enough to keep this going. But good luck...or not good luck???

  4. Yum! Girl Scout cookies are a favorite, but I think these look even better - after all, I can have a bigger serving:)

  5. They still look yummy to me. Wish I could eat sugar!

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