Sunday, May 20, 2012

(Better Than Girl Scout) Samoas

Ingredients for the cookies: 1 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups all purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract up to 2 T milk * * * * * * Ingredients for the topping: 3 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened 12-ounces caramels 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 T milk 8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate Preparing the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together at a low speed. Add the vanilla and milk, adding only enough milk as needed for the dough come together into a soft, pliable ball without being sticky - None at all may be needed. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough seems sticky. Roll the dough out in 2 or 3 batches, between pieces of wax or parchment paper to about 1/4-inch thickness or a little thinner, and cut into rounds using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter. Place on a parchment lined (or on silicone mat) baking sheet and make a hole in the center using a small end of a large round piping tip or a straw. Nicole comments that you can use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Scraps can be re-rolled. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are very lightly golden brown around the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, to allow them to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. * * * * * * Preparing the topping: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Watch carefully, especially near the end of toasting time; the coconut toasts very quickly once it begins to become 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. Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2 to 3 teaspoons per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it begins to firm up, to make it soft and spreadable once again. While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching, or over a double boiler. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper or Silpat. Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate. This may require melting additional chocolate, if there is not quite enough for all the cookies. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies


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