Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Samoa Cupcakes

Mmmmm.... Girl Scout cookies. One of my favorites? Samoas (Emily's too)... I think they might call them caramel delights now? But when I was a little Girl Scout, they were called Samoas. I found a great recipe for them at Annie's Eats (one of my favorite blogs - you should check it out). I knew I had to try them.

I will say that they are quite involved. You need to start well in advance because these cupcakes require many steps. But they are worth it!

Samoa Cupcakes
for the cupcakes - mix up your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. if you don't have one, try this

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar

for the shortbread cookies*
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

*you could also just buy some shortbread cookies and cut them to fit in the bottom of the cupcake

for the chocolate ganache
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup caramel sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

for the coconut caramel topping
15 ounces soft caramels
3 tablespoons milk
pinch salt
2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

First you'll need to make the shortbread cookies (or take a short-cut and buy some).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Last add the milk and vanilla and mix. Chill the dough for 1 hour.  Remove from the refrigerator and roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness and use a small round cookie cutter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes.

Next make the cupcakes.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in a large bowl.  Prepare a cupcake pan with paper liners. Place a shortbread cookie at the bottom of each cupcake well. Top each cookie with cupcake batter, filling each well about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely.

Prepare the chocolate ganache.

Bring the caramel sauce and heavy cream to a simmer in a small pot. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Stir in the coconut extract.

Top each cupcake with a layer of the ganache. You will likely have a bit left over. Place it in a ziplock bag to use as the signature chocolate drizzle at the very end.

The last step is my favorite part of this treat (well, my favorite part to eat... not exactly my favorite part to prepare). You need to work a bit quickly with this caramel coconut topping because once it is melted and then begins to cool, it gets quite sticky and difficult to manipulate. In a heat-safe bowl, melt the caramels with the milk in the microwave at 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring between intervals. Stir in the salt and coconut extract. Lastly, fold in the shredded toasted coconut.

Using a knife or offset spatula, top each cupcake with the caramel coconut topping.

I then used the handle of a wooden spoon to make a whole in the topping to resemble the traditional cookie version of this delicious treat. Finish these off by snipping a small corner from the ziplock bag containing the extra ganache and drizzling some chocolate on each cupcake.

See... kind of a long process. But they will bring you back to those yummy Girl Scout cookies. Enjoy!

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