Do vegan samoa bars earn me a girl scout badge?
OK, it's not really that deep or dark. Or secret, really.
I was a girl scout growing up. I left the troop just before high school, when one of my friends did our entire group of girls the favor of letting us know how "uncool" it was to remain in girl scouts at that age.
Did I mention I was kind of a sheep back then? I didn't want to be deemed "uncool," so my four friends and I that had been in the same troop since forever dropped out.
It would have happened eventually. My life was slowly becoming taken over by softball at that age anyway.
I don't remember what badges I earned. I really don't remember selling cookies all that much either. I'm pretty sure my parents did all the work for that (thanks, btw). Now that I'm a mother I have a new appreciation for all those tedious little tasks they took on for me. Probably because even though I earned a black belt in martial arts at the age of 13 my mom still didn't want me selling anything door to door, particularly cookies.
At the time my favorite cookie was a trefoil (shortbread). I know, boring, right? It wasn't until college when I discovered my love of coconut and caramel together ... aka, the samoa. It was like cookie perfection.
Needless to say I haven't had one of those in six years. I finally worked up the courage to tackle a vegan version of my favorite girl scout cookie, however, I didn't want to deal with all those holes and pretty rings. So I made bars, instead.
They came out absolutely amazing. There was a vegan version of these in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, however, it excluded the caramel coating (my favorite part), so I had to piece together a recipe all on my lonesome.
Samoa bars, baking my way to a badge
(makes 12 bars)
1 stick vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
Caramel "topping" ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBS maple syrup
2 tsp water
1/8 cup coconut oil (melted down)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk (the full fat kind in a can)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut (toasted, just spread the coconut on a baking sheet at bake for about 10 minutes on 300 degrees)
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 TBS coconut oil (melted)
Preheat the oven to 350 degress. In a medium bowl, mix melted butter, brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla extract. Stir in flour until cookie doughish texture is achieved. Pour into a greased 8X8 pan and spread dough evenly. Bake for 15 minutes. Pull out of the oven and sprinkle1/2 cup of chocolate chips evenly over the square cookie. Bake for about 2-3 minutes or until the chocolate chips are soft and easily spreadable. Spread the chocolate chips to form a chocolate layer. Stick in the fridge for 20 minutes.
In a sauce pan on medium heat mix sugar, maple syrup, water and coconut oil until well blended. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then add vanilla extract, coconut milk and salt. Bring back to a simmer. Stir the mixture for at least five minutes and then add corn starch. Turn the heat to low and stir until it thickens. Stir in toasted coconut and pop into fridge for 5-10 minutes.
Take out your cookie from earlier and make sure to unstick the chocolate from any edges. Take a butter knife and loosen the sides of the cookie until you can turn the pan over and "pat" the dough out. (You want to flip the square cookie over in the pan so that the chocolate layer is on bottom. Next, spread your caramel coconut sauce on top of the cookie.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and 1 TBS coconut oil. Stir and then using a fork (not a piping bag like my moronic self tried, face palm!) drizzle or "flick" chocolate sauce on top of coconut caramel layer.
Cut up the bars and call it a day. Trust me, you won't want to do anything but eat these bad boys!
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