It came to my attention yesterday that there are hundreds of little girls- hard at work selling girl scout cookies. Cookies, that they cannot eat. WHAT? Are you kidding me? What a sad, sad reality.
I'm hoping today to help put an end to this madness. Every little girl sure as heck should be able to have a Samoa Cookie- and so should her parents! (and so should the rest of you that have an addiction to these outrageously good cookies.. ) This recipe is dedicated to a little girl named Abby & to her amazing, caring mother Jessica that has become such a great friend.
As usual, I have a big list of alterations that I would like to mention. Before I get into that- I have an important request. IF you have any additional alteration questions for this recipe can you do me a BIG favor and post your questions as a comment here on this site, rather than on facebook? I find myself answering the same questions over and over in various feeds of conversation. I do my best to keep up to them all- but its becoming impossible.
I also must use this as an opportunity to plug my brand new books that I co-authored with Iris Higgins. The Essential Gluten Free Baking Guides part 1 and part 2 go into vast amounts of detail that will teach you how to replace all of the various flours, how to replace dairy, soy, eggs, How to exchange all of the different unrefined sugars and so much more. This was an effort to answer all of your questions in one place. Once these books become available March 1st I will be answering less baking questions here- as everything that I know can be found in the pages of those beautiful books that I put my soul into.
Lets talk Samoas.
The recipe I am providing today is grain free. If you are unable to consume almond flour- I suspect that another nut or seed flour will work in its place. I also have heard great things about the Bob's Red Mill Shortbread mix which is grain based. While I haven't tried it- you may be able to use it or another favorite shortbread recipe instead.
- Looking to avoid sugar? Sorry guys.. I have failed you slightly on this front. I have yet to figure out how to make caramel without sugar. One day I might. For now, I can offer you the use of Palm Sugar as low glycemic option. It will work both in the crust recipe and to make the caramel sauce. I do not suggest using xylitol in this recipe. It will make the crust too soft and I can't image it will do anything pretty in the caramel sauce.
- Need to avoid Corn? I called for baking powder in this recipe- with the corn free'ers in mind. Make sure you buy a brand that is safe for you! In the Caramel sauce use either real butter or Coconut Oil, and instead of using Vanilla Extract (unless you have some homemade) use 1 TBS of water instead in the crust. Obviously, your going to want to avoid using Corn Syrup in the caramel too. (Side note: I LOVE Garden of life Coconut Oil.. its the best stuff around.)
- Need to avoid Dairy? In both the Caramel and Crust use either Earth Balance Butter OR Coconut Oil. For the chocolate I highly recommend the brand Enjoy Life.
- There will be extra Caramel. This recipe yields about double of what you will need. So you have two options. Either double the cookie recipe. OR save the caramel for other fun uses. To do this tuck a sheet of parchment in a 9 x 5 bread pan. Pour the leftover hot caramel into the prepared pan and put it in the fridge to set. Once solid- it can be sliced & wrapped up into individual candies or melted again to use on top of another baked good.
- Feeling intimated by the Caramel or want to simplify the recipe further? First of all, the caramel is easy, anyone can do it. I promise. But if you really just don't want to be bothered with it, try drizzling the tops of the cookies with Honey instead (and then topping with coconut and chocolate of course!)
- Preparing your sugar is important. If you select a grainy sugar (like Sucanat or Palm) I really recommend you take the time to run it through a coffee grinder or blender to powder it before using it in the crust. It just works so much better that way. This extra step is not needed if you are using Cane Sugar. Just Sucanat or Palm I have found to be extra course. None of this extra powdering treatment is needed for the caramel as its all going to melt anyways.
Gluten Free Samoa Cookies
Chocolate Chips (melted in microwave)
Toasted Unsweetened Coconut Flakes. (toast in oven in pan at 350, 5-8 minutes)
Please Note : Due to the fact that this is a shortbread cookie crust- it is on the crumbly side. I found that it was a little bit difficult to cut out each cookie and then also cut out the inner circle. That was- until I tried using my awesome donut cutter!. This tool cost me maybe $3 at a local cooking store in my area- it made the cutting-out process a dream. Here is the link to my donut cutter on amazon- on that site its only $2. If you don't want to bother sourcing this tool or something similar- you can just cut the cookies into circles (or another fun shape) They will still turn out really gorgeous!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the shortbread crust. In a food processor (or by hand) combine all of the crust ingredients. The dough should hold together. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rings or circles (see note above) Cut out the dough soon after you make it, as it sits out it will begin to feel oily and it won't hold together quite as well.
- Carefully place the cut-out cookies on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Keep a careful watch on them the last few minutes to avoid burning. (note: cookies will come out soft and somewhat chewy- they will gain their shortbread texture as they cool!)
- Remove from oven. While they are cooling, make the caramel.
- Combine all of the Caramel ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil. Using a candy thermometer keep track of the temperature. Remove the caramel from heat once it reaches 248 degrees.
- Spoon the hot caramel onto the cookies (you will only need about a Tbs or less per cookies) Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes on top of the hot caramel before it cools.
- Melt chocolate chips in your microwave (stirring every 30 seconds until smooth). Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Place the cookies on a sheet of clean parchment paper. Drizzle the tops with some more chocolate to give the Samoa's their classic look.
- Set aside and let the chocolate set. (In a hurry to try one? Place them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes).