Friday, May 1, 2015

Samoa bars

I feel like we've been really busy with projects lately but yet there is nothing blog worthy to show for it (or really to show for it at all).  For instance, we're working on a big basement clean, a big garage clean, landscaping/backyard things, a master bedroom update, my first furniture project, and a few small craft projects.  Matt has a long list of woodworking projects he want to do.  It's partly a time issue (there really are just so many hours in the day and we have to work, take care of Luke, sleep, eat, etc.) and partly a time management issue.  You know that feeling of constant busyness but then you feel like you have nothing to show for it?  Yep, trying to fight that as much as we can.

Until there is actual project progress, here is a delicious dessert to make.  Just from my time on Pinterest, I would say that Samoas are the most popular Girl Scout cookies, solely based on the different ways they are recreated into cakes, brownies, cookies, and bars.  I mean, every component of these is delicious on their own: chocolate, coconut, shortbread, and caramel.  You can't go wrong mixing them all together!  And bar form makes it pretty darn easy.

Samoa Bars
yield: 9x13 pan, 24 bars

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups flour

3 cups shredded coconut
12oz chewy caramels (use homemade if you are extra ambitious.  I used store bought.)
1/4 tsp salt
3 TB milk
16oz chocolate (I prefer the baking bars to chocolate chips)
2 tsp butter

1) Preheat the oven to 300°.  Spread the coconut evenly onto a baking sheet and bake (toast) for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5.  It will go from white to burnt pretty quick so keep an eye on it.  If it's looking too brown pull out before the 20 minutes is up.  Set aside and let cool.  Turn oven up to 350°.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and room temp butter until creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing just until all combined.  Add the flour and salt, mixing until crumbly.  Press evenly into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until the edges are light brown.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before moving on.

3) Unwrap caramels and place in a large saucepan over medium low heat with the 1/4tsp salt and milk.  Stirring often, heat until the caramels are soft and the mixture smooth.  Stir in the toasted coconut and combine completely.  Pour over the cooled crust and let cool.  Once cool cut into 24 squares.

4) Heat the chocolate and butter either over the stove top (low heat) or microwave (start with 30 seconds and then stir ever 15 seconds), whichever you prefer (I use the stove).  Once the mixture is smooth, dip the bottom of each cut square into the chocolate and place on wax paper, chocolate side down, to cool.  Once all the bars have been dipped, put the remaining chocolate in a piping bag or ziploc with the corner cut off and drizzle over the top of the bars.  Let set completely.  Store at room temperature.
I find this to be a treat easy to make steps.  I generally toast the coconut and bake the crust one day and then do the caramel coconut and chocolate another.  I've also had good luck freezing these, once they are fully prepared.

Samoa Bars

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