You may have seen the unpaid female child labor hawking their animal-torture based cookies out in front of your grocery store. It’s that time of year. I can admit to enjoying a thin mint back in the day. They’re pretty refreshing out of the fridge. But hands down, the best creation ever conceived was a shortbread cookie topped with caramel, coconut and chocolate: the Samoa. My love for Samoas cannot be contained by our meager language. I could definitely put away a box of them in one day. In fact, they were the last non-vegan food I ate on purpose. Five years ago. I haven’t had a Samoa in five years. Until now. I can’t believe it took me this long to do it. But here they are for you all to enjoy – Vegan Samoas.
Although this recipe seems to have many steps, each of them is pretty simple. It takes a while from start to finish, but mostly it’s a hurry up and wait game, until the final assembly, which doesn’t take long.
2 C flour
1/3 C confectioner’s sugar
1/3 C turbinado sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 sticks Earth Balance
3/4 C hemp milk
1.5 tsp cornstarch
3/4 C brown sugar
3 TBSP Earth Balance vegan butter
1.5 TBSP brown rice syrup
pinch of salt
3 tsp confectioner’s sugar
2 TBS shredded coconut, toasted
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Instructions – cookies:
1. Place all dry ingredients in a food processor, and give a few quick pulses to blend.
2. Cut “butter” into pieces and add to food processor, along with vanilla. Blend for 20-30 seconds, or until the mixture resembles course cornmeal.
3. Turn onto lightly floured surface and kneed a few times to form a dough. Roll into a ball.
Warning! This cookie dough tastes fantastic, and harbors no salmonella, but if you eat it all, you will have no Samoas!
4. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1 – 24 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut with cookie cutters.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. This is a very unusual case where you want the cookies to be slightly crispy. Let cool while you prepare the caramel.
Warning!! At this stage, the cookies are in fact already delicious, and it’s wise to find a disfigured one to perform quality control tests on, just to make sure. But, if you eat all of them, you will end up with no Samoas!
Instructions – caramel: (based on Sara’s dulce de leche)
1. Place hemp milk, cornstarch, sugar, vegan butter, and brown rice syrup in a small stainless steel pan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
2. Cook gently for 15 minutes, stir in the pinch of salt and the confectioner’s sugar. Continue to cook gently until the mixture thickens enough so that a spoonful dropped on piece of parchment holds together, about an additional 5 to 10 minutes. You know you’re there when you can run a spoon through it and it doesn’t run back together immediately.
3. Remove from heat and begin cookie assembly.
Instructions – assembly:
1. After the caramel has cooled for five minutes or so, you can start the assembly line. Drop spoonfuls of caramel on top of each cookie, and spread it to the edges. As soon as possible, sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. It’s great to have a helper for this, to see to the coconut, while you work on the caramel.
Warning! A shortbread cookie with caramel and coconut on top is a wonderful idea all by itself. However, if you eat them all at this stage, you still will not have had any Samoas!
2. After all the cookies have the caramel and coconut, it’s time to melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Drizzle spoonfuls of chocolate over the cookies.
3. Place cookies in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set everything.
Warning!! Consumption of more than 2-3 cookies will likely lead to sugar-induced coma.