I have a particular fondness for Samoas of all of the Girl Scout Cookie options. I used to be the only one in the house that would eat them, but my son discovered them last year and kept raiding my stash. I saw a link to these bars posted a few days ago on an online forum I frequent, and I just couldn't get them out of my mind. The drawback was the caramel. I have a thing about corn syrup. I really dislike it. There are a very small handful of things I'll use a tablespoon or two of it in, but I really try to avoid it. Lo and behold, another person posted a link to this recipe for caramel sauce that doesn't require corn syrup. Voila! So happy!
I was in a hurry when I made these this morning, so I didn't have time to cut them into individual squares and dip the bottoms in chocolate. More's the pity, because I'm sure they'd be divine that way. I sense another batch in my future. They're quite good with chocolate drizzled just on top.
I used short flake unsweetened coconut and toasted it in my large skillet. This went much more quickly than doing it in the oven for 20 minutes as suggested in the original recipe. I would caution you to stir it frequently and to pull it off the heat as soon as it starts to turn golden.
Samoas Bars with Homemade Caramel
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 t. vanilla
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan or else line it with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then gradually beat in the flour and salt until well combined. (The original recipe says that it may look crumbly - mine came together just fine as a nice dough ball.) Press into an even layer in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned.
Meanwhile, prepare the caramel:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 T. vanilla extract
pinch of kosher or sea salt
Cook butter and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar melts. Stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.
3 cups short flake unsweetened coconut
Heat up a large skillet over medium low heat and pour the coconut in an even layer. Stir frequently, and pull it off the heat as soon as the coconut begins to turn golden. Stir it into the caramel, the pour it out on the crust, spreading it around evenly.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into 1" squares and preparing to drizzle/dip in chocolate. If you intend to just drizzle chocolate on top, you will need to melt 1/2 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips + 1 t. shortening. For a more serious chocolate experience, melt a total of 2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips + 1 T. shortening. Dip each square, bottom end down, into the chocolate, then set on a piece of parchment or wax paper until set. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the tops.