Saturday morning a strange thing happened – someone knocked on the door.
This might not seem that strange to you, however, we live in a pretty quiet area and we know approximately zero people so we basically never get visitors. Like, ever.
And when we do, we follow a strict protocol involvng things like muting the TV and waiting for the person to leave. This time, however, our front door was wide open and we were sitting in the living room (which is where the front door leads into) so I wasn’t confident that the whole “muting the TV” thing would work.
Unless we could also convince them that we were statues…
FH told me to “handle it” so I got up to assess the situation and there she was – standing no more than three feet tall, quite possibly the smallest Girl Scout I had ever seen. Normally I am a firm believer of the “stranger danger” motto, but she was pretty small so I was pretty sure I could take her if things went south.
She mumbled something shyly about cookies and I assumed that in this case “handle it” meant to find any cash I had on hand and throw it at her in exchange for cookies, so I yelled for FH to get his wallet. If FH’s “handle it” meant for me to tell her to go away he was sadly mistaken, because who can say no to a little girl? No one. Well maybe this guy could, but I don’t have any Knuckle Blasters so that’s not even an option.
Even if I could say “no” to a small child, I definitely couldn’t say no to cookies, especially since for the other 11 months out of the year I listen to FH go on and on about how much he loves samoas and how delicious they are. So I quickly purchased a box of Samoas from her and ran back inside, closing the door behind us to prevent any future incidents.
FH hurried into the kitchen and ripped into them, took a bite, and… groaned?
It wasn’t the usual “these are so good” sound that you might hear when you eat your favorite cookie. It was a more whiny tone filled with dismay and dissatisfaction.
I asked him what was wrong, hoping for something cool like finding a finger or a dead bug or something like you hear about in those news stories. But, no. Nothing so exciting.
His “problem” was that just last week I made these samoa bars for him and apparently the flavor was still fresh in his mind and now he real samoa cookies, the ones that inspired the very bars that I made because he loved the cookies so much, are now “ruined” for him.
His word, not mine.
I will admit that these bars are bit more “grown up” than their ancestors. Rather than just being a vessel to carry the caramel, this cookie layer is thicker than that of the original samoa with a bit more crunch and a more intense vanilla flavor. Meanwhile, the caramel layer is a bit more complex with a hint of saltiness, and the dark chocolate gives the perfect bit of bitter-sweet to compliment the sweet caramel and cookie.
Oh yes, and don’t let me forget the ground unicorns and cocaine, but those ingredients are optional.
So at the risk of ruining the legendary Girl Scout cookies for someone you love…
And at the risk of putting thousands of young girls out of business…
Give these bars a try.
Ground unicorns and cocaine optional.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3.5 cups shredded coconut
- 2 11-oz packages caramel bits
- 3 Tablespoons whole milk or cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 oz dark chocolate (I used the Ghiradelli melting wafers)
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and milk. Add flour and mix on low until just incorporated. It will be on the dry side.
- Pour out onto parchment paper and form into general rectangle shape. Roll close to 9 x 13” and transfer into 9 x 13 baking pan. Press into bottom of pan until it reaches the edges, leaving a slight lip on the edges.
- Poke holes in shortbread with a fork and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Cool completely in pan before topping.
- Toast the coconut by placing on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking at 300F for about 15 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Coconut is done when it is a golden-brown color. Set aside to cool.
- Melt the caramel bits with the milk and salt per package directions, until smooth. Once metled, stir in the vanilla extract and the coconut.
- Pour onto the cookie layer, spreading into an even layer with a spatula and pressing down with your hands.
- Melt chocolate at 50% power in the microwave starting for 1 minute, then continuing in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Drizzle over coconut layer and allow to cool completely. Once hardened, cut the cookies into bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container.
[ shorbread adapted from here]