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2 hours, 10 burnt fingertips, a frustrated me, and a messy kitchen later, they were finished. Other than the fact that these were a bitch and a half to make, these Samoa cookies are bomb. But they’re definitely not for the faint of heart. Or the faint of, erhm, expertise? I don’t know. Just expect to get frustrated like five times in the process. Verdict? They are worth the effort. Totally.
For the shortbread:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the coconut bit:
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
14 ounces soft chewy caramels (like Kraft Caramels)
For the chocolate:
3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons shortening
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons water
Heat oven to 350ºF. Line bake sheet with parchment. Place coconut on bakesheet and bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Make sure to stir the coconut half way through. Be very watchful of the coconut– it takes seconds for toasted to turn to burnt.
Place caramel squares in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat to melt. Once the caramel bits are completely melted reserve ½ a cup of mixture in a shallow bowl; set aside. Add the toasted coconut to the remaining caramel mixture. Fill a shallow pan with hot water and place saucepan filled with the finished caramel coconut in it to keep the mixture at spreading consistency. Reheat mixture as needed to maintain spread consistency during assembly.
Dip tops of cookies into the reserved caramel bowl. This will help the sticky caramel coconut mixture to quickly adhere to the cookie. Place cookie on a flat surface and using an icing spatula or butter knife spread caramel coconut mixture on to the cookie. If necessary, use a spoon to guide the caramel coconut spread off the icing spatula and on to the cookies. Let cookies rest for 30 minutes before dipping the bottoms in chocolate and drizzling the striping on top.
Place chocolate and shortening in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.