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 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.



Anonymous 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.

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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.