Today I’m sharing a homemade version of the wonderful Girl Scout Samoa cookies (or caramel deLites depending where you live!). A buttery shortbread cookie, topped with a toasted coconut caramel, and finally dipped in dark chocolate. While three components might seem a liiiittle bit daunting, it was a pretty easy cookie to put together and definitely worth it.
Growing up in the US, I had always wanted to be a girl scout. I mean, the badges alone had me very interested. But once I realised it would mean team activities and being outdoors I changed my mind. That plus my mom informing me that selling cookies meant I couldn’t actually eat them all. My family usually ordered tagalongs, thin mints, and samoas, with samoas being my all time favourite. Last year a colleague in my US office offered to bring some girl scout cookie boxes back to London for us if we wanted to purchase any, and I really had to keep my cool and not order 50 boxes of each flavour.
While Will and I disagreed on thin mints (it just boggles my mind that he didn’t love them as much as I did, at least that meant there was more for me) we did agree that Samoas was the best out of the lot. I had obviously seen the Gourmet Makes version of Girl Scout Cookies, and after a lot of stopping and starting to see exactly what Claire did, I got a rough outline of how to make my favourite Girl Scout cookie.
After doing this ‘research’ (if you can call watching YouTube videos about Girl Scout cookies research), I veered away from a few of the elements they used. My shortbread cookie is adapted from Brave Tart, which gives a very, buttery cookie that still has a great snap to it. I then made a wet caramel (where you make a sugar syrup using water, then add cream to it versus a dry caramel where you don’t have any water) and added toasted coconut before letting it cool. Finally, I dipped them in a dark chocolate to cut some of the sweetness and be a tiny bit more grownup.
Tips for making caramel:
- For this wet caramel, we’ll be adding water and sugar in a saucepan and bringing to a boil. While I do recommend using a stopwatch, the best thing to do is keep an eye on the colour of the caramel. If you stop the caramelisation process too early, your final caramel won’t be the lovely, rich amber we want!
- A candy thermometer is a must have for this recipe, I use this one.
- If your caramel ends up being too hard and you can’t easily scrape it on to the cookie, put it back into a medium saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons of water on medium/low heat. Stir occasionally until it reaches a softer consistency.
Homemade Girl Scout Samoas
- 300 grams all purpose flour
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 113 grams butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 108 grams coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 300 grams dark chocolate
- 160 grams desiccated coconut
- 241 grams granulated sugar
- 113 grams water
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 227 grams double cream
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Put butter, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix on medium for 5 minutes.
- Add the egg, and once fully combined, add the flour.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes. It will feel almost like a little cloud but shouldn't be sticky!
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in clingfilm. Chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven at 350°F/175°C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a floured surface until dough is ¼ inch thick. Using a 4cm/1.5inch round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Use a pastry tip to cut out the middle. Reroll the dough and continue cutting out your cookies, placing them on the tray when ready.
- Bake in oven for 12 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread out the coconut on the tray. Toast for 8-10 minutes, checking after 4 minutes and shaking the pan so it gets evenly toasted. Let cool.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside.
- Put sugar, water and salt in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sugar will dissolve and bubbles will appear around the edges of the pan.
- Simmer until the syrup turns gold, do not stir. This takes about 8-12 more minutes. Once it turns gold, swirl the pan and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. It should turn a deep amber.
- Immediately add the cold cream and reduce the heat to low. Stir using a heat-proof spatula, then add in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Put your thermometer into the saucepan and continue cooking until it reaches 250°F/121°C. Fold in the toasted coconut.
- Pour the caramel and coconut mixture into the loaf pan, and let it cool slightly.
- Once the caramel has cooled a bit, take one shortbread cookie and using a small offset spatula, scrape the caramel on to the cookie. I found it easier to get it to stick by first dipping the cookie into the caramel so it gets a bit sticky, then pile on more of the caramel.
- After each cookie is coated, put it on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the fridge to chill. Let the cookies chill for 30 minutes.
- In a double boiler, melt 300 grams of dark chocolate. Once chocolate is completely melted, take your bowl out and set to the side.
- Take your baking tray out of the fridge. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate, then place back on the tray to dry. I tried using a fork and a fondue stick to carefully dip the cookies in, but in the end I found it easier (though messy!) to just dip it in using my hands.
- Once all the cookies have been dipped, fill a piping bag with the rest of the melted chocolate and drizzle on top. Or, you can always just dip a fork into the chocolate and drizzle! Let chocolate set.