Samoa Bars

Back when I still ate chocolate, I loved Girl Scout Samoas. Today I wanted to recreate them in bar form, and I found this recipe from Just a Taste. Truth be told, I found it more difficult to work with than I’d hoped, so I think I’ll try a different recipe next time.

I do have some suggestions, based both on the comments on the original post and my own experience. I think you could decrease the amount of coconut by at least 1 cup, and you could likely increase the amount of caramel as well. Another baker suggested mixing the coconut into the caramel, rather than pouring the caramel into the coconut, then keeping the mixture warm in the double boiler and adding it to the base a little bit at a time. Also, the base is very crumbly, so I chose not to dip the bottoms of the bars in melted chocolate; I used far less than the original recipe required. Despite being a bit difficult to work with, the bars turned out to be delicious. Mike decided he’s keeping them instead of taking them to work, and I even left a few without chocolate for myself.

Ingredients

For the base

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the topping

  • 4 cups shredded coconut
  • 20 ounces caramel bits
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, extending the paper over the sides.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then slowly add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Press into the bottom of the baking pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, until just slightly golden. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until browned, stirring frequently; this takes about 10-12 minutes. Keep a close eye on your coconut, as it can burn easily. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Place caramel bits, milk, and salt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the top of a double boiler and stir until caramel bits have completely melted; this takes several minutes. Stir together melted caramel and coconut and quickly pour over the base, spreading it as evenly as you can; I used a sheet of parchment to press the caramel/coconut mixture onto the base to help it stick. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then lift out of the pan by the parchment and cut into 2 x 1 bars.

Melt chocolate chips and place in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (or in a zip-top bag, then snip the corner) and pipe chocolate over the bars. Allow to set before serving; store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 30 bars.

Coconut Caramel Chocolate Bars

Back when I could eat chocolate, this was exactly the kind of treat I would have loved. Reminiscent of the Samoa Girl Scout cookie, it combines toasted coconut, chocolate, and caramel – a wonderful flavor and texture combination.

I adapted this recipe slightly from the original, titled Coconut-Caramel Candy Bars, in the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. I used caramel baking bits, rather than chopped up caramel candies, and a slightly higher quantity of bittersweet chocolate chips to cover the tops of my bars completely with chocolate. The end result is a beautiful (and according to Mike, delicious) creation.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking poader
  • 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut, toasted*

For the topping

  • 1 cup caramel baking bits
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

*To toast coconut, place it in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees, stirring every 3-5 minutes, until browned. My coconut took about 15 minutes to toast; keep a close eye on your coconut, as it can burn quickly. 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and 2 1/2 cups toasted coconut; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg. Stir in flour/coconut mixture until well blended.

Press crust mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with caramel bits; return to oven and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until caramels are melted and slightly bubbly (mine didn’t bubble much, so that’s okay). Remove from oven and sprinkle with bittersweet chocolate chips; allow to sit for 5 minutes, then spread chocolate evenly over the bars. Sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut. Allow bars to cool completely; cut into 24 squares.