Since it's my birthday week, it gives me an excuse to bake treats that I normally wouldn't be able to justify finding the time for. Like cake. And homemade samoas! Once I decided to make homemade samoas, I decided I'd make them healthier. So I decided on a raw "shortbread" base and a date sweetened "caramel." Now, as you can tell from the pictures, these were cookies shaped just like samoas, but I'm posting a recipe for bars. Why? Um.. the amount of time and frustration put into cutting these delicate, raw cookies into rings was a little ridiculous. I mean, it can be done, if you're so inclined in putting in the effort, but honestly, making bars would be waaay easier. The taste is great, so I still recommend making them. Definitely in bars, though.
I know it's Girl Scout cookie season, and I know it's really hard to pass those up. Ever since I realized pretty much every single Girl Scout cookie is full of hydrogenated oils, I haven't touched them. But I do miss my samoas. So a healthier version was just the ticket! Eventually, I'll probably do the regular homemade way, as well, with the shortbread base drizzled with caramel and toasted coconut. But this version is just what I needed when I'll also be partaking in a not so healthy chocolate cake later this week.
One thing about these bars is that they are definitely best frozen. They get a little too soft at room temperature, but really, how many of you out there freeze your Girl Scout cookies and eat them frozen? I bet there are several of you. So this one just requires it - no big deal! A perfect little frozen treat.
What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie? I also really like Trefoils - another shortbread cookie - go figure! ;)
*Almost Raw* Samoa Bars
makes 1-9x9" pan*
For the "shortbread" base:
adapted from shutterbean
2 cups walnuts
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup raw honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t sea salt
In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and coconut together until in fine crumbs. Add in the honey, vanilla, and sea salt, and process until a moist dough forms. Press the dough into a parchment lined 9x9" baking pan.
For the coconut "caramel" topping:
1 1/2 cups dates, soaked for about 10 minutes in hot water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
Toast the shredded coconut at 350ºF for about 5-8 minutes, until golden (be careful not to burn it). Allow it to cool while you make the "caramel."
After soaking the dates, drain the water, and pulse in a food processor until a paste forms. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and salt, and process until smooth. Add the shredded coconut, and pulse until just combined. Scoop the coconut "caramel" mixture out, and spread it evenly across the top of the "shortbread" base. Cut into squares, and then transfer to the freezer for about 15 minutes, until set.
For the chocolate base and topping:
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Place the chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl, and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted.
Remove the bars from the freezer, and dip each bar into the chocolate to coat the bottom. Once dipped, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat the dipping with each bar.
Once all the bars are dipped, remelt the remaining chocolate (if it has hardened), and then transfer it to a small ziplock bag using a rubber spatula. Snip off the corner of the bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the bars.
Place back in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate has hardened, and then transfer to airtight containers. Store in the freezer.
*If you want to make them into cookies, follow all of the above recipes, but instead of pressing it into a pan, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, and cut it into circles. Use a smaller circle to cut out the center to make a ring. They will crumble slightly, so just press the pieces back together when cutting/transferring. If you go this route, you'll want to freeze the dough after cutting so they are easier to handle. You'll then top each individual base with the coconut caramel mixture, freeze again, and then dip and drizzle with chocolate.