Among my friends there is a great debate over the best Girl Scout cookie, and a large divide between Samoa lovers and Thin Mint diehards. To be honest, I’ve never met a Girl Scout cookie I didn’t like.
The only problem is that Girl Scouts seem harder and harder to find these days. So when you just can’t wait for cookie season, you have to take matters into your own hands. These homemade Samoa cookies have a buttery shortbread base, a caramel and toasted coconut topping, and a dip and drizzle of dark chocolate.
They're so good that you just might just have to start selling them yourself.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350° F.
Start by making the shortbread cookie base: In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using a wooden spoon, hand mixer, or stand mixer. Mix in the vanilla and salt, then add the flour and mix to combine. Bring the dough together and dump it onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick, turning it often to prevent sticking and adding extra flour as needed.
Using a doughnut cutter or two round cutters (2 1/2-inch and 1-inch rounds), cut the cookie dough into inner tube shapes.
Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are just turning golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
Keeping the oven on, toast the coconut (you can also toast it as the cookies bake). Spread the coconut into a single layer and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Let cool completely
While the cookies are cooling, finish the caramel topping. Before making the caramel, have all the ingredients measured out and ready to go. In a large pot, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Do not stir once the mixture starts boiling. Let the liquid bubble until the sugar turns amber in color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly add butter, cream, vanilla, and salt. The caramel will sputter quite a bit, so stand back and be careful.
Set aside 1/4 cup of the caramel in a small bowl. Add the toasted coconut to the remaining caramel in the pot. Let cool slightly. Using a spoon, drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of the reserved caramel on top of each cookie. Using your hands, put about 1 tablespoon coconut-caramel mixture on top of the caramel. Once each cookie has coconut topping, place in fridge to set for 10 minutes.
Melt chocolate in microwave on 30 second blasts. Dip bottoms of each cookie in the melted chocolate, leave to set upside down (chocolate side up) in the fridge for 5 minutes.
Once the chocolate has set, drizzle the remaining chocolate over top of the cookies. You can do this with a spoon or a fork, or you can pop the remaining chocolate in a plastic bag, cut a small hole in the corner, and pipe the chocolate on each cookie.
Place back in the fridge to set, about 5 minutes. They'll keep for one week in a sealed container, and for many more weeks in the freezer.