Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas (Caramel De-Lites)

WARNING: These pictures may make you drool ;)
I'm gluten-intolerant, so in order to enjoy most desserts I have to break out my various gluten-free flours and make them myself. But I definitely have to be in the right mood to bake, and it has to be something I REALLY want, because I hate measuring...I like cooking because I can wing it.

I have SO missed Girl Scout cookies since becoming gluten-free 4 years ago. Especially Samoas (which I understand are now called Caramel De-Lites, but they'll always be Samoas to me). So when I ran across THIS blog with a recipe to make them gluten-free, and somewhat easily, I HAD to try it. (You can make these gluten-full, too...just use regular flour.)

What you'll need:
3 cups shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
12 oz dark or semisweet chocolate (I used Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour*
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk, as needed
12 oz chewy caramels (I used an 11 oz bag of Kraft caramels)
2 tbsp water

*I keep a brown rice flour mix on hand: 2 cups brown rice flower, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour. You can also use Bob's Red Mill or other brand all-purpose flour mix.

I started out making the topping first.
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 
  • Spread the coconut evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet 
  • Toast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until coconut is golden. 
  • Cool on a baking sheet.
While the coconut is cooling, make the dough.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  • Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt at a low speed.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix until the dough comes together. Add milk only if needed so the dough  becomes thick, not too sticky. 
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. (I left mine in overnight.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Scoop tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, and flatten to about ¼ inch thickness.
  • Place on foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. (Keep checking on them, mine took about 15 minutes. Betsy says hers took 20-25 minutes.) 
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
I followed Betsy's recipe and added 1 tablespoon of milk as she suggested. However the dough was a little sticky, as you can see in the picture below. This was even after refrigerating overnight. When I make these again I will try without the milk altogether, and only add a tiny bit if needed. (I'm sure soy or almond milk would also work).
The cookies look like basic sugar cookies when they come out of the oven. Be careful, they're a little brittle.
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, or put in a glass or metal bowl over a pot with an inch of water in it. Make sure you don't get ANY WATER in the chocolate...it will ruin it.

This next step is the hardest and most time-consuming part...

The chocolate is kind of thick, so you can't just simply dip the cookies in. I put the cookie in the chocolate upside-down, then used a rubber spatula to spread a little on the bottom. Next time I make these I might try thinning the chocolate a bit. Place on wax paper to set. Reserve extra chocolate.

Now comes the best part!
  • Place caramels in a microwave-safe bowl with water. Cook on high for 2 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt.
  • When caramel is melted, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
  • Spread the topping on cooled cookies, using 2-3 tsp per cookie. 
  • Once all of the cookies have caramel topping, drizzle extra chocolate over cookies.
  • Devour 1 (or 2) and store leftovers in an airtight container or zip-lock bag.

They are scrumptious when kept the fridge! And if you want to double the recipe, they keep very well in the freezer.

Enjoy! 

3 comments:

Kristin K. said...

My kids are girlscouts and in our area they are still called samoas and my kids love them. I have to say that your version looks delicious and I may haveto try them.

Kristin K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen Onulak said...

Jayma - thank you for sharing! I was recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant too. I've been off gluten for about 6 weeks - wow, what a difference it's made in my life.

I appreciate any links, or resources you can share.