Let’s face it, don’t we all love girl scout cookies?! I bought ten boxes this year (yes, ten!). 4 Samoa (hubby fav), 4 thin mint (proptly placed in the freezer- my fav), and two other boxes of…I don’t even remember! Well, because Miss E can’t have any (the wheat factor) it seemed unfair for her to not have a chance to share in this slice of Americana. So I searched out recipes, compared, contrasted, and of course- made it my own! This doesn’t really fall into the “quick and easy” or “healthy” categories, but after sending out recipe after recipe to all my friends who’ve been asking for it (and therefore making me feel much less guilty about having made and eaten so many of these cookie!)…I’ve had a change of heart. So enjoy it, eat it up, and hopefully share them! (they also LOOKED really good, so if you want a recipe that is sure to impress- this is it! Hopefully I can find the adapter for my camera so I can post a picture of these delicious beauties!)
This is my favorite (gluten free) version of the recipe:
- 1 cup butter, soft
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup almond meal/flour
- 1 1/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- up to 2 tbsp milk
*to make “regular” cookies: use 2 cups all-purpose flour in place of the almond meal and GF all-purpose flour (or keep the almond meal and just substitute regular flour for gf). And use 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.
sidenote: I used the almond meal because I love the taste and because the current brand of GF all-purpose flour we are currently testing out has a “vegetabley” taste (it’s main ingredient is garbanzo beans). Adding the almond and cutting down the all-purpose kept that taste from lingering after baking (as did the extra 1/2 tsp of vanilla)! Plus the added protein and healthy benefits of having the almond in! (makes me feel a tiny bit better about eating these cookies!)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk slowly to make sure it’s not too sticky (you may not need all the milk- *I did need it*). The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.
Roll the dough (in 2 or batches) out between pieces of saran wrap to about 1/4-inch thickness (or slightly less) and use a cookie cutter to make rounds (or the top of a glass). Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat. While I did a few circles with holes, most were flower and monkey shaped… because of course, I had helpers! And, to be honest, it was the end of the day, I was tired and cranky and got very quickly frustrated with the “stickiness”… And hubbyman finished rolling them out and cutting them with the kids. (Just another sign: he is a good man.) You can of course make them however you want in whatever shape you want. If you’re really wanting them to look like the girl scout version, then go with the water glass/circle cookie cutter route.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (let cool about 2 minutes and then transfer- sooner they crumble and if you wait too long they’re more difficult to move as well)
*If you’re making Samoa Bars: just leave out the baking powder. Press it out evenly into a parchment-lined 9x13in dish and make sure to press it out almost as thin as you would the cookies to match the girl scout consistency. Mine were a little thicker and while still incredible, made them a little different than the GS version and I think if the cookie had been thinner it would have tasted more similar. Bake 350 for about 12-15 minutes. (I believe mine took 15 minutes but I’d check at 12 and see where yours are at.)
- 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar *
- 1 cup butter *
- 1/3 cup karo syrup *
- 8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (I used semisweet chocolate chips and that worked perfectly)
*If you’re not up to making the caramel, you can always substitute in12-oz good-quality chewy caramels, 3 Tbsp. milk, and 1/4 tsp. salt. (Unwrap, place in microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for about 3 minutes, stopping to stir several times- about every 45 sec.)
Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Bring brown sugar, butter, and karo syrup to a boil over medium heat. Stirring frequently! Boil for 2 minutes. 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 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel briefly (stovetop or microwave) if it gets too firm to work with.
Sidenote: As mentioned previously I made both cookies and bars. So I used 4 cups of shredded coconut instead of three. It really makes a lot of caramel and I found that it was the perfect amount. Covered every cookie and every bar. So if you’re only making one batch of cookies (I figured it was way too much work for just one batch!) you can cut down your caramel if you’re making it from scratch. (the amounts I gave for the pre-made caramels is for one batch)
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. (about 3 times) The original recipe (that I can no longer find anywhere!) said to dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate, but I found that was kind of tedious and a couple of times half the cookie part came off with the chocolate. I found it worked better to just put a quick swipe on with my spatula and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag (or make do like I did and use a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container. The base does take a while to cool and set completely.
*The recipe says it makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies but I found it was more like about 2 dozen.
end sidenote: If all the rolling out and cookie-cutter-ing sounds too time consuming and not fun, I vote for the bars! They don’t taste any different than the cookies and were so much easier! If I make them again, I’ll be doing the bars from now on!