It’s that time of year. You know what time I’m talking about.
Girl Scouts have positioned themselves outside every grocery store, drug store, ballpark, everywhere you could possibly need to go. I try, I really do – I try to walk past them without making eye contact. It never works. This year was no different. I ended up with a box of Samoas (what’s the new name? Caramel something-or-another?) that my children demolished within seconds.
These bars, which are meant to be like my beloved Samoas, have been on my must make list for years now and I am so sad that I’ve waited this long to make them! They are so easy, so quick, and taste exactly like the Samoas. Please don’t be scared of the 3 steps. I’m telling you, there’s nothing difficult about this recipe.
If you wanted to take these one step further, you could dip the bottoms of the bars in melted chocolate. I’m not a chocolate fan so I skipped that part but if you wanted to, just melt a bag of chocolate chips instead of the 1/2 cup that this recipe calls for. Once it’s melted, dip the bars one at a time and then place on parchment (or wax paper) to harden.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
- Preheat oven to 300F. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
- Place caramels, salt, and milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the caramels have melted and everything has come together as one mixture. Fold in the toasted coconut.
- Spread the caramel mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it's easy to get it through the topping).
- Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a double boiler, a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, or a microwave. Once melted, allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a pastry bag with a small round tip (or ziploc bag - cut a corner off after the chocolate is in) and drizzle over tops of bars. Store in an airtight container once chocolate is set.