Being surprised with an unexpected public holiday on Monday (Melbourne’s Labour day, different to New Zealand’s – who knew?!), I took the opportunity to bake for Tuesday’s upcoming bake sale at leisure, rather than frantically whipping something together at 10pm the night before like usual. So with the aid of my handy helper (thanks Mikayla!), a feast of Samoa biscuits and raspberry brownie was gathered for the hungry masses in my office. More on the brownie another time as it is my go to dessert fallback. As for the Samoa biscuits, these caramel and coconut beauties are my new favourite treat to bake and eat. And it seems I’m not the only one. While I’m finding it difficult to find the origin of the name ‘Samoa cookies’ (or for that matter to figure out why Americans call scones biscuits and biscuits cookies), it is clear that they are by far the most popular variety of girl scout cookies sold in the US. They are a perfect mix, catering both to the unashamed sweet tooth (with their mix of caramel and rich chocolate) and the closet sweet tooth who prefers their sweets more grown up and sophisticated (with the addition of toasted coconut and a shortbread base with a subtle hint of vanilla).
With focussing all my willpower on not eating every single one of these bad boys before I made it to the office on Tuesday, taking a photo slipped through the cracks so all credit for the above shot goes to Mind Over Batter (http://foodgawker.com/post/archive/mind-over-batter/). I might also add that is not a completely accurate representation as the chocolate on mine would be more accurately described as ‘blobby’ than ‘beautiful’.
All I can say is you have to go and make these biscuits right now. No. Stop making excuses like ‘But it’s 1am’ and ‘But I’m allergic to coconut’. Ifs and Buts are totally unacceptable when it comes to this, my new favourite biscuit.
Samoa biscuits (not cookies)
Makes about 30
225g butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and a half cups shredded coconut
200g chewy caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons milk
200g dark/cooking chocolate (whichever you prefer)
For the biscuits
*preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
*cream butter and sugar
*stir in flour, baking powder and salt, mix, then stir in vanilla extract and mix well (best to get your hands dirty for this part)
*roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper (it’ll be quite soft but not sticky, this is ok, we’re going for almost a shortbread like end result) until it is just under 1cm thick
*cut out biscuits with a glass/small cookie cutter (I used a large shot glass), and bake for 10-12 minutes
For the topping
*toast the coconut in the oven in a single layer on a tray lined with a baking sheet for about 5 minutes (keep an eagle eye on it) until brown
*melt the caramels with the salt and the milk (techincally it would be best to double boil them but I was lazy and stuck them in the microwave for 50 seconds) and stir in the coconut
*spread on the biscuits, let them cool, and drizzle chocolate over to your heart’s content.
Viola (which in the US is the name of a brand of corn oil)!
As for the bake sale, I have been hosting one every Tuesday and Friday for the last month from my office desk to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation as part of the World’s Greatest Shave, in which I am participating. If you’re keen to find out more about the World’s Greatest Shave or sponsor me without being bribed with baked goods you can do so by clicking the words below, thanks to magic of the interwebs: