Last week flew by, and I barely had time to bake. I think I made up for it last night, though, with this 2-for-1 recipe. I made Baking Bites Samoa Bar recipe last year with great success. I brought the leftovers into the office and nearly witnessed a fist fight over the last one. This year, I wanted to give them as holiday gifts, but I couldn’t find the chewy-style caramels needed for the recipe. I decided to make the caramel from scratch, and, as so often happens, I tipped my hand into the bar for a last minute substitution.
Feel free to make these bourbon caramels on their own, or as a part of the Samoa Bar recipe.
Full disclaimer: this recipe is time consuming, and/or requires a fair bit of multitasking. Make sure you read it through first, and have all your ingredients ready and measured before you start.
1 cup butter
1 lb brown sugar (light)
14 oz condensed sweetened milk
1 cup cane syrup (Lyle’s golden syrup will do, since I can’t seem to find Steen’s in the Boston area)
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp bourbon
Chop 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter into 1 tbsp sized chunks. Place into a large, heavy saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir. While stirring, add cane syrup then condensed milk. Increase heat to high, and bring candy to 235-240F. Once the temp is reached, continue to boil for 2 minutes while stirring constantly. You may need to reduce the heat a notch to maintain the same temp. Remove from heat, and add 1 tablespoon bourbon (or 2 tsp vanilla). Reserve 1.5 cups for the Samoa bars, and pour the remainder into a parchment-lined 8×8 baking dish. Let cool to room temp, then slice into candy size rectangles with a pizza cutter.
Samoa Bars with Bourbon Caramel
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups bourbon caramel (see recipe above)
14 oz chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark, depending on your preferences)
Preheat oven to 350F. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, cream softened butter and granulated sugar together until fluffy, a few minutes on a med-low speed (I soften the butter on a dish on the stove top while the oven is preheating). Add the egg, then vanilla, into bowl of stand mixer while reducing to a low speed. In a large measuring cup, stir salt into the flour. Slowly add flour to sugar mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, with stand mixer continuing on a low speed. Scrape down sides as needed, and continue mixing until flour is incorporated. Roughly work with fingers to make sure mixture is consistent.
Turn dough onto well floured surface and roll out to roughly 13×9 rectangle. Place into the baking dish lined with parchment paper and press into corners with your fingers. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned around edges. Remove from baking dish and cool on baking rack.
While the cookie is baking, make the bourbon caramel on the stove top (see recipe above).
When the cookie base is done, reduce oven heat to 300F. Toss coconut into the same parchment lined baking dish you used for the cookie, and toast for 15-20mins, stirring 3-4 times, until golden brown.
While the coconut is toasting, melt the chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucer of boiling water (or a double boiler if you have one). Once the chocolate has completely melted, remove bowl from heat and set aside.
Pour the toasted coconut into a bowl, and toss with 1.5 cups of caramel.
Spread over the cookie base, pressing down a bit with the flat side of a spatula to get it even. Let cool completely.
Cut cookies with pizza cutters into desired size (1×1 inch squares will make about 50 bite sized cookies), and dip each cookie into melted chocolate. Don’t skimp on the chocolate– hold each cookie at the bottom and dip so that the cookie base is completely covered.
Then, set onto a clean piece of parchment paper. Optional – take remainder of melted chocolate, or melt more if needed, into a pastry bag, or a plastic baggie with the corner snipped. Drizzle remainder of chocolate onto cookies. Let set at room temp until chocolate is set. Refrigerate in an airtight container.