Homemade Samoas

(Makes approx. 3.5 dozen)

Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 salt

Coconut Caramel Filling:
2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
Homemade caramel (or 12-15 oz of wrapped caramels)
1 T milk (if using pre-made caramel, add 2 T of milk and a pinch of salt)

Chocolate Topping:
6 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
6 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vegetable oil

*To Make Cookies (and toasted Coconut):

1.  With an electric mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar until smooth. 

2. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix. 

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and sugar. 

4. Slowly add sifted ingredients to butter/sugar and mix until combined. 

5. Shape dough into a disc, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  

6. Preheat oven to 300.  While dough is chilling, place coconut on a baking sheet.  Toast in oven for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Coconut burns easily!  Set toasted coconut aside and turn oven up to 350.   

7. Take chilled dough, and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick.  Using a small circular cookie cutter (also lightly floured), cut out cookies and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  I used the tip of a pastry tube to cut out the inner circle, but if you can't find a small circular shape to use just cut it out by hand with a knife.

8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges begin to SLIGHTLY brown  Set on foil or parchment paper to cool.

*To Make Coconut Caramel Filling:

9. I made my own caramel because my split personality is named Martha (however, I cut the salt in half).  If you are on the saner side, unwrap 12-15oz of wrapped caramels and place in a pot.  Add 2 T of milk and a pinch of salt.  Melt together over low heat.  I only needed 1 T of milk because the homemade caramel was pretty gooey to begin with.  Once melted, stir in toasted coconut and remove from heat.

10. Once cookies have cooled, spread caramel mixture on top.  I found the easiest method was to cover the entire cookie, and then stick the tip of my knife through the hole to remove the caramel in the center.  Let topping set for about 20 minutes.

*To Make Chocolate Topping:

11. In a double boiler (or place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bowl), melt all chopped chocolate. Add vegetable oil and stir until you have a glossy chocolate. 

12.  Take each cookie and hold between your thumb and pointer finger (right? that's what it's called?) and dip the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate.  Set back on foil or parchment paper.

13. Place remaining chocolate in a piping bag, plastic bag with the corner snipped off, or a plastic condiment tube.  

14. Drizzle chocolate on top of each cookie. 
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