Updated: March 11, 2014 7:43PM
Coconut is not actually a nut; like pecan, it’s a drupe. No one knows exactly where coconut originated, but it’s been used in confections for a long time, including our favorite Girl Scout cookie: Samoas.
Today is National Girl Scout Day. Girl Scout cookies were once baked at homes and then sold, bake-sale style. To serve a broader public, Girl Scouts of America came to rely on mass-produced cookies.
Although buying cookies from the Girl Scouts contributes to a good cause, today consider making them the old-fashioned way: in your kitchen.
We generally followed a recipe we found on justataste.com. Was it worth the effort? We thought so.
1. Cream together 2 sticks unsalted butter and ½ cup sugar; in a separate bowl, whisk 2 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt; in three increments, slowly add the flour to the butter mixture and blend in 2 tablespoons milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
2. Divide dough in half and press into disks; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour; then roll to 1/8 inch thick and use a glass cup to cut out disk shapes; bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes; cool.
3. Toast 3 cups shredded, sweetened coconut at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and melt 15 ounces of store-bought caramel, 3 tablespoons milk and ¼ teaspoon salt in a double-boiler; remove caramel mixture and mix with three-quarters of the coconut mixture.
4. Melt 8 ounces dark chocolate; dip bottom of cookies in chocolate and let dry; apply caramel mixture to top of cookies; sprinkle with remaining coconut and drizzle with chocolate.
For best results, use high-quality chocolate and made-from-scratch caramel. — David Hammond