What Works for me Wednesday!

>> Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I don't know why I do it, but every night I stay up late, blog stalking and always end up hungry. Its because I'm always drawn to food blogs. I have this never ending obsession with planning my monthly menus and always looking for something new and fun to try. I'm a frequent stalker of Picky Palate (http://www.picky-palate.com/) but I have a new blog that totally works for me to share with you tonight.

Girl Scout Cookies Pictures, Images and Photos

Clap your hands if you LOVE girl scout cookies!!! If you didn't clap, then stop reading my blog. Just kidding. Seriously though, who doesn't love girl scout cookies? I associate girl scout cookies with love not only because I do love them, but they always seem to appear around Valentines day. I like them all. I like Thin mints a little more than some but my favorite cookie is by far the Samoa's (or Caramel De-Lites as they call them now, by the way, anyone know why they changed up the names of their cookies? Am I getting that old?). I literally could eat a whole box at a time. My mouth is watering just thinking about their crunchy, gooey, goodness. If you love Samoa's too, then it won't come by any surprise why I jumped off the couch, did a touch down dance, and a few cart wheels when I saw this blog.

Ladies and Gentlemen, girls and boys.......let me introduce you to my new love affair.

Expect these for Thanksgiving, Christmas and every other holiday where I would maybe send or give you something. I can't wait to bake these babies up. I am thrilled beyond expression at finally finding a recipe for my favorite cookie. I'm feeling a bit excited at the possibility that this recipe could be the one to make me stop supporting the Girl Scouts, as they love me and my order but I would rather send that money to help adoption matters, or cancer research (or more coconut, chocolate and flour for homemade cookies), and also a bit overwhelmed at the usage of my tread mil if the recipe does exceed my expectations. Good thing Sarah and I are "TRI-ing" next summer. I will have a lot of running to do to work off these bulge adders, but I'm going to say that they will be my fuel for training.

Enjoy the Once Upon a Plate Blog. It has a ton of good recipes and I can't wait to try some of them. Once Upon a Plate gives the Samoa recipe credit to Nicole @ Baking Bites ,
See Nicole's Original Recipe here: http://bakingbites.com/2008/01/homemade-girl-scout-cookies-samoas/

Now enough of my rambling and on to the recipe from Once Upon a Plate/Baking Bites:
Cookies ~ Homemade Samoa's (also known as Caramel De-Lites)
Makes about 3 1/2 to 4 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
up to 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350F.Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, next, the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk only as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (you may not need any at all). The dough should come together into a soft, pliable ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough seems sticky.It's easiest to roll the dough out in 2 or 3 batches (between pieces of wax (or parchment) paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or a little thinner) using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined (or on silicone mat) baking sheet and make a hole in the center. I used the small end of a large round piping tip. Nicole comments that you can use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat until the dough is used up (it's okay to re-roll, this dough is shortbread-like and very forgiving.)Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are very lightly golden brown around the edges.Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, to allow them to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Topping (the goodness!)
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-ounces good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
8 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips will do)

If you prefer milk chocolate, by all means use that. My notes: The caramel-coconut mixture is quite sweet, so I used Bittersweet chocolate to balance the sweetness bit. Preheat oven to 300 degrees (F)Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Watch carefully, especially near the end of toasting time; the coconut toasts very quickly once it begins to become 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.Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 teaspoons per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it begins to firm up, to make it soft and spreadable once again.While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. (I melted mine stove top using double boiler method.) Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper (I used silicone baking mats instead). Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or a zip lock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate. (Melt a bit of additional chocolate, if there is not quite enough for each cookie.) Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.


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