homemade samoas-- shortbread cookies in chocolate, caramel, and coconut

After making these cookies, I can't believe I've lived the past 21 years without them. They're literally the best cookies ever. I've always loved samoas, they're hands down my favorite girl scout cookies. And what do you know, they taste even better when made fresh! It's like if all my life I had been eating packaged chocolate chip cookies. I mean, a cookie is a cookie is a cookie. It's still good to a sweet tooth like me. But then one day your taste buds experience the magical deliciousness of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, how the chocolate is gooey and just melts in your mouth, the dough so soft and chewy. That's what it was like to eat these cookies. Samoas are awesome. Homemade samoas are out of this world.

I used la creme de la crumb's recipe, but with very minor adjustments. To get the recipe, read on after the jump :)

Ingredients for about 20 cookies
1/3 cup turbinado sugar*
1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter**
1 cup + 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 generous teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cold milk (I used 2%)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel (recipe adapted from smitten kitchen)
1 cup turbinado sugar*
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet-chocolate chips (you can use dark)
*I used turbinado sugar, whether there are actual health benefits of using it or not, I don't know. But that's what I buy soooo. The original recipe calls for regular white sugar so you can definitely use that.
**Make sure your butter is soft before you start anything. You may have noticed from the ingredient list, but these cookies have a very dry dough. Your butter needs to be soft in order for the dough to come together.


Making the cookies 
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees + get a pan with wax paper ready.
2. Mix together the butter and sugar so that they're fluffy.
3. Add in flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until you have a sort of crumbly mixture.
4. Add in milk + vanilla extract and mix. You may reach a point, like I did, where you couldn't mix anymore. If you have been mixing in a stirring motion, it's time to switch tactics. Taking a fork, press down into the mixture so that the ingredients are pressed together and begin to form the dough.
5. After you form your dough, cover it up and toss that guy into the fridge for an hour, or the freezer for 20 minutes.
5.5. If you left your dough in the fridge/ freezer for too long and it turned into a rock, fret not, your cookies are salvageable. Taking your trusty fork, break down your dough into smaller pieces. From there, use your hands to mix the smaller pieces together until they soften up into dough-- see second picture after the break for reference.
6. Roll the dough out, about 1/4 of an inch. Cut out your cookies. Personally, I used the mouth of a small mason jar for the outside edge, and a water bottle cap for the inside. Improvise!
7. Put your cookies on your wax paper covered pan, and bake them for 10-12 minutes. They should come out an off white color.
8. After your cookies are done, since your oven is already hot, get ready to toast your coconut. The coconut that I bought was already toasted, but I wanted to toast it a little bit more. If you have large flakes like mine, you can chop them up to be finer. Personally, I liked the added texture of the larger pieces. Either way, place your shredded coconut on wax paper on a pan, and let them toast for about 5-7 minutes, tossing them around halfway to make sure they don't burn.
Caramel time!
9. As your cookies are cooling, it's time to make your caramel sauce! It sounds complicated, but it's easy peasy, just make sure you have all your ingredients measured out before you start, because it goes along fast. In a dry saucepan, place your sugar over medium-high heat, constantly stirring.
10. After 3-5 minutes, your sugar should be completely melted. Remove from the heat, and mix in your butter. It probably won't all mix in and you'll be left with a oily, liquidy layer up top.
11. Add in the heavy cream, and put your mixture back over the heat. Continue stirring.
12. Bring your caramel to a boil, and let it cook for a few minutes-- all the while stirring. You don't want the sugar to burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. It should darken a bit, then remove it from the heat.
Top it off
13. After your caramel sauce is done, mix about 3/4 of it with your toasted coconut.
14. Dipping the top of the cookies into the caramel and then the caramel + coconut mixture did not pan out for me. If it works for you, you're good to go. If not, this is what I did. I dipped the cookies in the plain caramel, and then using a fork, topped the cookies off with the caramel + coconut mixture.
15. Let your caramel chill on the cookies so that they stick before moving onto the chocolate step.
16. Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Dip the bottom of the cookies into the chocolate. If that doesn't work, spread it on with a spoon. Let chill until the chocolate hardens.
17. Melt the last 1/4 cup of your chocolate. Using a fork, drizzle (or in my case, haphazardly dribble like a 5 year old) your chocolate on top of the cookies.
18. You're done!! Time to eat! They'll stay fresh for a week in an airtight container... if they're not all eaten by then.

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