It is Girl Scout Cookie Season. I love seeing the young girls work their business in front of local establishments. Most years I buy several boxes, usually from a co-worker or friend’s child. This year I decided not to buy any because I have thoroughly been enjoying my baking from scratch adventures and wanted to try to make some on my own. Two of my family’s favorites are Trefoils and Samoas. I knew Trefoils were a type of shortbread but always wondered what was different about them. My shortbread cookies never really tasted quite like those…
until now 🙂
Now, I really don’t have a need to purchase Girl Scout Cookies ever again unless I am purposely supporting a particular Girl Scout or I have a craving and have no access to a kitchen.
I can’t take credit for the recipes I used. I got them from Instrucatables.com Both recipes are simple, delicious and truly taste like the real thing. And least with these you are a little more confident of what your ingredients are, especially if there are allergy concerns. The cookies were so good I had to keep my family away to make sure I could pick out the picture-worthy cookies. I think they ate the best looking ones before I could get to them.
So, first, the shortbread cookies. My go-to shortbread cookie recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookie cookbooks:
I have had this book since about 2003 or so, and I love it. This is usually where I find many of my base cookies and ideas for creative change-ups. The shortbread cookie in this book uses 3 sticks of butter, a cup of powdered sugar, 3 cups of flour and some vanilla extract. Whenever I make these I usually add something to it. I have made orange-cranberry, chocolate-dipped and pecan. The added pecan makes them taste like Pecan Sandies.
Shortbreads are “traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour (by weight).” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortbread). Shortbread does not contain eggs like many other cookie recipes. “The large amount of butter is what makes shortbread short: the term short, when applied to biscuits and pastry, means crumbly, like shortcrust pastry should be. It is the reason why the fat added to biscuits and pastries is called shortening.”(http://britishfoodhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/shortbread/ )
So what makes the Trefoil shortbread so different? There is not as much butter, uses regular granulated sugar, less flour and added leaveners (baking powder and salt) along with a little milk. Those changes make the taste and texture of the Trefoil Shortbread Cookie so yummy…and addictive :-). This recipe is really easy. My only advice is to make sure your dough is really cold. The dough gets very soft and is then difficult to use cookie cutters with. In between batches I would re-wrap the dough and stick it in the freezer until I was ready to roll out and cut more.
Trefoil Shortbread Cookies: (This is the base for the Samoas!) Adapted from: http://www.instructables.com/id/Trefoils-Shortbread-Recipe/
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
Cream the butter and sugar until it is if light and fluffy. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly as this to the butter and sugar mixture then add milk and vanilla. Separate into two batches and wrap in plastic warp and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface roll out dough to about 1/4″ thickness and cut with cookie cutters of your choice Don’t worry too much about having too much flour added to the dough during this step. This dough can handle the extra flour. Use silicone liners or parchment on your cookie sheets and bake cookies for about 10 minutes. Be sure to cool pans in between batches. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Now you are ready to make the Samoas!
Samoa Cookie: Adapted from: http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Samoas-Recipe/
First make the about shortbread cookie. For this batch I used my Linzer cookie cutter set to get the traditional Samoa cookie shape.
For the topping, you’ll need:
- 3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (for some reason I could not find unsweetened in the regular baking aisle. I found it in the health food and organic section-the section I prefer to shop in anyway)
- 15-oz soft caramels (I thought about making my own caramel but decided against it this time around).
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp milk
- 8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (I used semisweet)
On a baking sheet toast the coconut at 350 for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool.
Place caramels, milk and salt in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave in 1 minute intervals, stirring in between until melted. I needed 3 minutes. Next, stir toasty coconut into the gooey caramel mixture. Next, spread the mixture onto the cookies. Depending on how quickly you work, you may need to rewarm the caramel mixture. But don’t rush or you risk breaking a few cookies.
Next, chop your chocolate and place in a microwaveable bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring until nice and smooth. Lay out wax paper or parchment. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate and place on paper. Using a piping bag or just a spoon, pipe or drizzle chocolate on to the cookies. Let them rest until chocolate sets, if you can resist, that is.
I was hoping to add more to this blog post to tell of my Pot Pie and waffle-cake and waffle-brownie creations from this weekend but it is getting late so I will save those for another day. Bake, Gobble and Run! (Too much snow and ice for running today. I will get in some posts about running when ever this winter weather goes away!)
OH! I TOTALLY FORGOT TO ADD: For a special treat, crumble the Samoas up into some ice cream and add a little extra caramel sauce and mix. SO YUMMY!
Oh, another update: The third cookie that is on the top right in that picture is the shortbread plus chopped pecans- also very yummy!