Friday, July 15, 2022

Samoa-Inspired Bars

Three shortbread bars topped with caramel and chocolate drizzle pictured on a green plate. Inspired by Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

I know that it’s a long way from Girl Scout Cookie season, but I see recipes and I am always curious how they will turn out. Usually, I end up not making Samoas (aka Caramel DeLites) because of having to roll out dough or some other complexity like that. This is a bar cookie, and I figured I could handle that a little better. In the end I did make some changes for simplicity sake, to make the cookies more “true to form,” but yes, I really just made the change as it was easier.

This is not a quick cookie to make. You end up making them over two days, with lots of time for the bars to chill between steps. You also get to make caramel, which can be fussy. This made a larger quantity which works better, plus I had some heavy cream to use up. I had a newer candy thermometer that works great, and that has helped a lot with my uncertainty in making caramel. It doesn’t rest on the bottom of the pan and give a false reading, and is otherwise easy to use. It doesn’t fog up like my old one did!

The original recipe had you cut the bars and then dip the base in melted chocolate, then flip them upside down to set the chocolate. That seemed needlessly complicated, especially since Samoas are known for the chocolate stripes on top. Since it is difficult to cut chocolate stripes, I cut the bars and then drizzled with chocolate and that was perfect. Do store these in the refrigerator; some of the edges were on a plate on the counter and they became a big, caramel mess. (Still tasty though!) They are the perfect combination of shortbread, caramel, coconut and a hint of chocolate. While I don’t equate them to eating a Samoa cookie, they are still wonderful.

Samoa-Inspired Bars
1 cup butter, room temperature
113 grams powdered sugar
240 grams flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup butter
170 grams heavy cream
300 grams sugar
156 grams light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
50 grams coconut flakes

¾ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Line a 9” square pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium mixer bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium until smooth. With the mixer running on low, mix in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Press the dough into the prepared pan and prick the dough with a fork. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Bake the shortbread for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool completely before moving on to the next step.

Make the caramel: in a medium saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. When the butter is nearly melted, add the heavy cream to warm it. Set aside. In a separate saucepan, combine the sugar and light corn syrup over medium low heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not stir, instead swirl the pan to encourage even cooking. After about 10 minutes, the mixture will turn an amber color. At the point, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the butter/heavy cream mixture.

Add a candy thermometer to the pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Stir the mixture frequently until the thermometer reaches 248 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the caramel over the shortbread base and the sprinkle with the coconut, stirring gently to distribute them evenly. Allow the bars to come to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

To finish: remove the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut the bars into small squares.
Melt the chocolate and vegetable shortening in the microwave, stirring the mixture every 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and cut off a small piece of the tip. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars in a diagonal pattern. Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set.

Store the bars in the refrigerator, but allow them to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Sloane’s Table

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