Jun 1, 2009

Caramel Delights a.k.a. Samoa Bars

Oh. My. Goodness. There are barely any words to describe these little, delightful bites.

I am not even a huge fan of Samoa's...I always, always go for the Thin Mints when I come across a Girl Scout cookie vendor. But, Samoa's are James' favorite, so when I saw this recipe, I thought it would be nice of me to make something that he would actually like.

And as it turns out, I like these, too! Amazing.

I was afraid the caramel would become hard as a rock, but so far, so good. It's gooey and delicious. The cookie is crumbly, but in a good way. And I didn't drizzle chocolate on the top of all of them. James used his Veto Power...he said they were great the way they were (with just chocolate on the bottom). So I left some undrizzled.

Definitely be sure to let everything cool and set between steps. Give yourself a good portion of a day to work on these. The end result will be well worth it. Amazing!!


Samoa Bars/Caramel Delights
from Loves to Eat

Cookie Base
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (Even if I would have drizzled every bar with chocolate, this would have been too much. You might want to consider starting with less so you don't waste chocolate. That would be a sin, you know. You can always melt more if you need to!)

Directions
For the cookie base:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy.
4. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
5. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. (My dough came together...it never looked like wet sand and everything turned out fine. Weird.)
6. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned.
7. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

For the topping:
8. Preheat oven to 300.
9. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
10. Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt.
11. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt.
12. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
13. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base.
14. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
15. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter.
16. Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching.
17. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. (I held the cookie with the caramel side up, filled a large spoon with chocolate and sort of dipped the cookie base into the chocolate. I then laid them on a piece of parchment paper, chocolate side up.)
18. Let the chocolate set and harden
19. .Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish on the coconut caramel side.
20. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Happy 200th Post!! It's hard to believe... :)

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