I have a bad habit. Ok, maybe more than just one. But one in particular involves taking everyday ingredients like chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and flour and turning them into morsels of insane goodness. Then, because I can’t trust myself to be left alone with such things, I take them to work. I am less likely to binge out on treats if I have to make a special trip upstairs to get them. My coworkers, on the other hand, receive full exposure to all caloric radiation coming off of the treat du jour.
After five years, my coworkers have come to expect that whatever I’ve brought in will:
A) taste good
B) contain amounts of butter and sugar that even Paula Deen may consider excessive
C) all of the above
D) none of the above
But when the time came to test an at home version of my favorite Girl Scout cookies, the Samoas, the folks at work didn’t know what was about to hit them. In a single cookie, I combined sugar, butter, chocolate, butter, caramel, butter, and coconut. They may be inclined to start calling me the Cookie Monster, but first they have to stop shoving these bars in their mouths. In between bites, this is what they had to say:
“Nummmmm nummm excellentnummmmmmm hmpffff”
“You should sell these”
“All the flavors build on each other”
But don’t take their word for it, try them yourself. Just be sure you have a way to protect yourself from the radiation. Friends, coworkers, and families all make great shields.
Homemade Somoas Cookie Bars
You need to know that this recipe takes a while to execute and you will have a mess on your hands by the time you’re done. But the end result is worth both the time and the trouble…and I don’t say that too often about an at home version of store-bought treats.
It took my bars several hours for the chocolate bottoms to set. Don’t despair, they will. Just don’t forget to leave yourself enough time for everything to come together. I made mine the day before I wanted to serve them.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup softened butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 pan or line with parchment paper (I lined mine with parchment and put that on top of a sling fashioned out of aluminum foil to ensure the shortbread would come out effortlessly, and it did).
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. Transfer dough to prepared pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the base is set and the edges are just lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
- 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 12 ounces chewy caramel candies (I used 11 ounces of Werther’s Originals)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons milk (I used half and half)
- 10 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (chips are ok and I used a mix of both)
Adjust oven temperature to 300 degrees. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment lined sheet pan. Toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden brown. Cool on baking sheet.
Unwrap caramels, place in a large microwave safe bowl, and add milk and salt. Heat on high for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping about every 45 seconds to stir. When completely smooth, add cooled coconut and fold in with a spatula in several additions.
Put dollops of the topping on the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Do this while the caramel/coconut mixture is still warm. Let topping set until completely cooled then cut into approximately 30 bars with a large knife or pizza cutter.
Once the bars are cut, melt chocolate in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper to set up. Transfer the remaining chocolate, or melt a bit of additional chocolate if you have a lot of cookie crumbs in your bowl, into a zip top bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate.