July 10, 2017

Homemade Samoa's or Caramel DeLites - (A Lower Carb and Sugar Free Samoa Option Too!)

As a Mom of two daughters and a previous Girl Scout leader myself when they were little, I have a special place in my heart for Girl Scout cookies; but we don't buy them anymore.  Not only has the price per box gone through the roof, but we don't eat many sweets and when we do they are almost always homemade and don't include sugar and usually little or no wheat flour.

This is my version of the Samoa's - otherwise known as Caramel DeLites - depending on what area of the country you live in and which bakery the Girl Scouts in your area use.  Our family eats sugar free most of the time so my version is sugar free, but you can make yours (and make them much easier) by using non-sugar free products.

Note for planning purposes:  These SEEM simple in concept but they are pretty labor productive and take about twice as long as you always think they will.  I also found it's easier to have a second person helping me when I get to the coconut caramel part so as I am piping or spreading the coconut filling on the cookies, they can press them and use a wooden spoon handle to make the hole in the centers.  I've done it myself but it really is faster if you just have a helper.

To make these completely homemade start with your favorite shortbread or butter cookie recipe.  I had flower shaped sugar-free, wheat free cookies in our freezer when I planned to make these but I ended up using them as a crust for a sugar free cheesecake.  When I made this batch yesterday I 'cut corners' by using some Murry brand sugar free cookies so that cut down the time needed to make my cookies from scratch.  If you don't need sugar free cookies as your base you might want to try Salerno Butter Cookies, or another brand of flower shaped cookies to cut down on the prep/bake/cool time needed for that step.

The other thing worth noting: the homemade caramel.   I need ours to be sugar free so I make it from scratch. You can use my recipe with regular brown sugar or white sugar and make your own caramel but another 'hack' would be to use about 12 ounces of store bought caramels that you melt with about 1 tablespoon of water over medium low on the stove top or in the microwave.  Just heat til it starts to melt, stir smooth. 

I also use sugar free chocolate chips of course - but for those making these not sugar free, just use regular chocolate chips of your choice.

Homemade Samoas or Caramel DeLites

1 1/2 cups melted store bought or homemade caramel
18-24 small flower shaped cookies homemade or bought
7 oz. coconut - unsweetened or sweetened depending on your needs/taste
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 T coconut oil - solid or shortening

Lay your cookies down on foil.
Place an additional piece of foil off to the side to put your cookies after dipping the bottoms in chocolate.  You can use a cookie cooling rack if you want or just lay them on the foil direct.
Melt or make your caramel** to equal about 1 1/2 cups caramel (12 ounces).
Stir the coconut into the caramel sauce.  Working while it's warm, top each cookie with a spread of caramel coconut mixture.  You can do this with a butter knife, small spatula, an empty frosting decorator bag without a tip in it, etc. depending on stiff or runny your filling is.  Sometimes it's thicker than other times.  Do what works best.
If you wish (you don't have to) you can use the end of a wooden spoon handle to make the hole in the center of the filling after you've placed it on the cookie.
When you are all done, melt the chocolate chips with a bit of coconut oil or shortening.  Only melt JUST until it starts to melt - stirring to finish the melt process and get it smooth.  Don't over cook it or use too high heat as chocolate burns and seizes up solid. 
When it's smooth, dip the bottoms of each of the cookies into the chocolate and lay them on the rack or the foil to harden.
When you are finished dipping the bottoms, use a fork or ziplock baggy to drizzle the rest of the melted chocolate chips back and forth over the tops of the cookies.  Either place them into the fridge or freezer to harden "faster" or if it's a really hot and humid day; or just let them set for a few hours until the chocolate hardens.

**If you are making homemade sugar free caramel from my recipe link, be sure to cook it just until little brown flakes of 'burnt butter' start on the bottom of the pan to give it a nice dark caramel color and taste.  Not cooking it long enough makes it more of a butter toffee.  I also found adding a 'smidgen' of molasses to it helps bring it to 'caramel' instead of toffee.  I also use about 1/8 xanthan gum to each 2/3 cup sweetener to thicken it to a caramel instead of a sauce or ice cream topping.  Remember your caramel can be a little liquidy as the coconut is going to be mixed into it and that will firm it up. 

Faster than homemade cookies bases:  store bought

Homemade caramel sauce - you can also use store bought caramels

Stirring in the unsweetened coconut - you can also use regular sweetened coconut

Depending on how liquidy your caramels are, determines how firm the filling gets. Work while it's warm.

Top the cookies - a 2nd person helping make holes makes swift work of this step

I use about 3/4 of a bag of chocolate chips and about a tablespoon of coconut oil

I hate dipping cookies and candies... I really do.

Drizzle chocolate back and forth over the tops

Let them harden or pop them into the freezer to speed the process

Products related to this post are available to order through Amazon if you can't find them locally:

NOTE:  This post is in 2017 and sugar free and low carb products change, or are discontinued often.  These links are current as of 2017 but may need to be substituted with what is available whenever you are viewing this recipe. 

Salerno The Original Butter Cookies
Murray Sugar Free Cookies Shortbread, 6-Ounce Package (Pack of 12)
Murray Cookie Jar Classics Butter Cookies
Just Like Sugar Natural Sweetener
Unsweetened Coconut


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