Monday, June 10, 2013

Samoa Style Bars

As a girl, the Girl Scout cookies that are now called Samoas were called Caramel Delights.   (Did you know that different parts of the country pronounce caramel differently?   Check out this map to see where it all goes wrong...or right.)
No matter what they are called, they have coconut on them.  Hence they are awesome.  
Last time I went to Hammond's Candies, they were selling "oops" packages of their vanilla and chocolate caramels.    This is when something goes awry and instead of looking perfect, they look less than perfect.    Not something you would give as a hostess gift.   Oops caramels are perfect to to put in your coffee, your mouth or in your baked goods. 
So here we go.   A sugar cookie base with chocolate caramel and toasted coconut on top.   If you want to really take it to the Samoa cookie level, dip the bottom in chocolate or drizzle some on the top.   I thought that the chocolate caramel made it delicious enough.  
What You Need
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter/margarine softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Caramel Coconut Layer:
12 oz of "oops" chocolate caramels (Denver specific here, but if you don't have Hammond's caramels, other chewy caramels will work)
3 tablespoons milk
3 cups toasted coconut
What You Do
Preheat your oven to 350.   Line a 13x9 baking pan with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.   Add egg and vanilla.   Add flour and salt.   With floured fingers, press the crust into your pan.  Even as you can.  All the way to the edge.  Bake for 20-25 minutes and then cool. 
Now it's time to toast your coconut since your oven is already on.   Lay sweetened shredded coconut (from the baking section at the grocery store) on a baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes, then check the coconut and gently move it around with a spatula.  Bake another 5 - watch it very carefully.  Coconut can go from nice and toasty to burned and black in a second.   Once the coconut turns brown on the edges of the pan, take it out of the oven.
Now it's time to eat melt the caramel.   The oops bag had 16 ounces of caramel and I only needed 12 ounces.   I made a non-scientific measurement and cut off a quarter of the caramel for snacking.     Put the 12 ounces of caramel and 3 tablespoons of milk in a sauce pan.    Warm over low - medium heat, stirring constantly until the caramel is smooth and melted.
Remove caramel from heat, add coconut, and then smooth/press the caramel coconut mixture over your cookie base.  It will be sticky.  Allow caramel to cool.    Use foil to pull bars out of the pan and to cut.  
Today Denver had a record day of heat.   If this is the case, store these bars in the fridge.   Or eat them right away.   That will solve the problem too. 

Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic

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