Can you believe that I have never ever had samoa cookies in my whole life? I seriously can't even imagine that I've lived 23 years without these lovelies that will make anyone's thighs go biiiiig :) But big thighs are in now, aren't they? Well, maybe not but you can always munch on only 1 or 2 or 3 of these and then hope for the best that today is not the day that your body decides to pack on pounds!
I didn't rely on my good luck and after trying the homemade salted caramel a bit way too many times, I decided that I will have to work it off. No excuses. So I did an almost 7 mile run (and walk)!! I am really starting to like this whole running thing. I can't run for a very long time or really fast yet but I am moving my butt and that's what counts! :) And because of that, I allow myself eat things that are loaded with caramel.
Homemade caramel. This recipe is the bomb. Seriously. Try it. Even if you don't wanna spend hours assembling these cookies. But the caramel... Actually the whole cookie is to die for.
First of all, I used palm oil instead of butter which made the shortbread so crispy. But the really good kind of crispy. Crispy but melts in your mouth at the same time. And because I was not very familiar with shortbread, I rolled out the dough way too thin. Thus my cookies broke into pieces when I tried to spread the caramel and then the caramelly coconut on top. But I didn't just give up, I used the caramel as glue and worked it out. And we ate the cookies with a fork. Well, big deal. Or is it? :)
Next, I left out the chocolate on the bottom part. I thought the cookies were already very sweet and they had some chocolate drizzle on top, they sure didn't need to have more sugar and chocolate. These cookies were perfect the way there were and didn't need extra chocolate. But of course, if you want, you can dip them in chocolate.
All in all, I'm in love with these cookies. Love the texture that you have a nice crisp when you take a bite but you get some gooey part, as well. I was surprised that they're not overly sweet, either. With that amount of caramel, who would have guessed? :) But no, the sweetness of it is just perfect. I also love the combination of the toasted coconut and salted caramel. Oh my... I can't wait to try them tomorrow when the flavors fully develop. Okay, I stop myself now and just give you the recipe :)
recipe adapted from The Little Epicurean
for the shortbread
1/2 cup palm oil - around 110 grams, you can use coconut oil or butter too
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp milk
for the caramel
1 cup white granulated sugar
6 Tbsp butter - around 80 grams
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla - I use bourbon vanilla powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
To make the shortbread, cream the palm oil and sugar together. Add in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, the baking powder and salt. Incorporate the dry ingredients with the palm oil mixture and add in the milk. Use an electric mixer and mix until the dough forms a ball. First, the dough will be very crumbly but just mix it anyway.
Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Toast the shredded coconut in an ungreased pan over low heat. Stir it frequently as it tends to burn very quickly. When they get a nice light brown color, place it in a bowl and let it cool.
Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
To make the caramel, add the sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Cook it over medium heat until it begins to melt. When it's melting, turn the heat to low and start whisking the sugar with a wooden spoon. Continue to melt the sugar until it's fully melted and has a nice brown color. Now it's time to add the butter. Keep whisking and stirring until the butter has melted. For me, the butter completely separated from the caramel so I was a bit worried but when I added the cream, it all worked out fine.
So when the butter is melted, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cream. The caramel will bubble and you have to whisk it for a long time before you get a nice and creamy caramel texture. So just keep stirring it until it's lump-free. Add in the salt.
Leave 1/4 of the caramel in the pan and mix the rest with the coconut.
Roll out the shortbread dough not too thin. Cut out circles with a glass. I used a shot glass to cut out the hole in the middle.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Then cool them for another 5-10 minutes before assembling them.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl above boiling water.
Spread caramel on top of the cookies so that the coconut will be "glued" on top. After spreading the caramel, add the caramelly coconut on the top. Drizzle the melted chocolate on the cookies with a fork.
And you're done! Enjoy!