Tuesday, March 13, 2012
VirgyGirl Scout Cookies
One of the best things about my new job is the baking club that I was invited to join soon after I joined the company. We bake every other week and this week's theme was "snack food remix" - the goal was to take a processed baked good or candy bar and make it from scratch. I chose my favorite Girl Scout cookie, Samoas. I knew it was going to be difficult to replicate and anticipated it to be a very time consuming process - which it definitely turned out to be. I recommend baking the shortbread cookie component ahead of time, in order to break up the time spent making these cookies. There are four phases to making these cookies: 1) baking the shortbread cookie, 2) making the coconut/caramel topping, 3) adding melted chocolate to the bottom, and 4) adding chocolate stripes to the top. I also recommend making these cookies when you are not pressed for time and definitely listen to some happy music. I listened to my Buddy Holly station on Pandora while baking.
Before getting started, make sure you have these items on hand:
1) parchment paper
2) wax paper
3) double boiler for melting the chocolate
4) pastry bag with small round tip for piping the chocolate stripes
5) round cookie cutter, about 2" diameter, with a smaller round cookie cutter, about 1/2" diameter to cut out the center of the larger cookie. I used a Linzer tart cookie cutter. I like the detail of the edge.
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat butter and sugar until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt, then add to butter/sugar mixture. beat until combined, and add vanilla. If dough is not pulling together, add a little milk. Form dough into a disk and roll out between two pieces of wax paper until the dough is no more than 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes using the round cookie cutters. Set cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake in oven for 10-12 minutes at 350.
Allow cookies to cool a little bit on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once all cookies have cooled completely, you can begin on the second phase of the process.
3 cups shredded coconut (I used sweetened coconut)
12-14 oz bag of soft caramels (you can also make your own caramel if you have lots of free time)
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
To toast the coconut, heat the oven to 300 and spread the coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Allow to cool.
While the coconut cools, unwrap all of the caramels and place them along with the salt and milk in a large bowl (bowl will need to be large enough to stir in the coconut once the caramel is melted. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When totally smooth, fold in toasted coconut.
Using a small spoon, scoop up the coconut/caramel mixture and place on top of the shortbread cookie. With fingers covered in butter, form the mixture into a circle, and lightly press it on the cookie to ensure it will set properly and not separate from the cookie. Reheat coconut/caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it becomes difficult to mold.
Allow topping to cool completely before starting the chocolate phase of the process. turn all cookies over so the bottom of the shortbread is facing up. make sure all cookies are on a parchment-lined surface. In a double boiler, melt half of one 10-12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I used Hershey's chocolate chips. Using a butter knife or a small spatula, spread a thin layer of the melted chocolate on the bottom of the cookie. Keep the bottom of the cookie face up and allow to cool completely.
Once all cookies are cooled, (I put mine in the refrigerator to ensure the chocolate had hardened) flip them over so that the coconut/caramel side is facing up. Melt the remaining 1/2 of the bag of chocolate chips and pour into a pastry bag. Pipe 4-5 stripes across the top of each cookie. Put back into the refrigerator to allow chocolate to harden.
And you now can have your very own Girl Scout cookies, whenever you want!