I made actually made these twice, because I accidentally microwaved the caramel bits too long and the caramel layer ended up being too hard. I only set the microwave for 45 seconds, and when I opened it to stir, the caramel was bubbling. Weird. The picture is from my first batch.
Another thing that was weird was how different my crusts were. The first time I made them, we were pretty skimpy with the flour and didn’t beat as long. We barely had enough crust to fill the pan, and the crust layer was really thin. That was ok with me, because samoas don’t have very thick crusts. The second time, I was more exact with the flour and the crust filled the pan and was too thick!
I figured out a good trick for pressing the sticky crust into the pan…pushing down with parchment paper. Even so, some parts were a little thicker than others. Both times the crust was a little crumbly. The bars stayed together when cutting, but the cutting board was full of tiny crumbs by the end. And our shirts were covered with crumbs too. 😛 That’s not my fault, pictures of the bars show lots of crumbs too. My break-up bars (which is basically the same idea) had some cornstarch in the crust…maybe that would help?
So the caramel layer was much chewier the second time, but I used cheap kraft caramel. I could have used a little more coconut too. Dang, I’m being pretty critical of these cookies! It’s easy to be harsh when you have something as amazing as samoas to compare to. My sister and Jacob loved them and could have eaten all of the scraps and the entire second batch. Even though the first batch was pretty hard to chew, they got eaten too, haha.
Update – day 2. Wow, these aren’t that great at all. I didn’t even finish the piece I had. The crust is too thick, soft, and crumbly. Also, the caramel I used isn’t that great and there isn’t enough coconut. No complaints about the chocolate though!
I used a recipe from Obsessed with Baking, because she had the measurements halved for me. The original recipe is all over the internet.
I’m posting the recipe showing the proportions of ingredients I used for an 8 x 8 square. For my bars, I made the crust thinner and topping thicker than it would have been had I followed the recipe for a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Homemade Samoas Bars from Baking Bites
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
1/2 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 8×8-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
1.5 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) I used unsweetened
8-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp milk
1 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok) – I only drizzled
Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. (I melted caramels over a double boiler)
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 30 bar cookies.
Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.