Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gluten Free Samoa-type Cookies

Ok, these are my absolute FAVORITE OF ALL TIME Girl Scout cookie!  I was actually a girl scout when they were entered into the cookie lineup, and I've drooled and dreamt over them ever since.  Which of course came to a screeching halt with the discovery of the gluten issues.

Last week, this wonderful recipe came from Gluten Free Easily.  My mouth started watering, my heart started pounding, and my mind was sending secret signals to my oven to preheat itself to 350.

As I went through the list of ingredients, though, some of them aren't always that easy to find.  In fact, I have no almond flour or coconut flour on hand at the moment.  So I started deconstructing the recipe, looking at the photos for guidance.  This is the conversation I had with myself:
I have a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix box on hand - check.  I have coconut flakes on hand - check.  But what adds that caramel-iciousness?  My guess has to be that 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  I have that on hand - check.  Maybe do the mix, add the toasted coconut and extra cup of brown sugar.  Ooh - and some Heath Bits for more caramel!  That should work!
So here's the re-done SPH recipe:
(ingredients waiting to be baked into deliciousness)

(remember fractions from school?  Two 1/4's = 1/2)
1 box Betty Crocker (brand) Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 stick butter, softened (and use butter - it's worth it!)
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I use either McCormick or Simply Organic brands)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened both work - I used sweetened because it was on sale)
1/2 cup Heath (brand) Bit o Brickle pieces (they're in the baking aisle by the chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment paper.  The sides are important because flaked coconut has a mind of its own, and its a wandering mind!  Also, the parchment helps keep the coconut flakes from sticking to the sheet, especially if the coconut is sweetened.  Spread the coconut flakes on the baking sheet in a nice, even layer.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and let them toast for 5 minutes. Take them out and stir.  Put them back in the oven, checking every minute or 2, til they reach the desired toastiness.  You'll know when they are starting to "go too far" when you can start to smell the coconut.  Remove from oven and stir again. That will redistribute any of the residual heat from the pan to any untoasted flakes.  Allow to cool.

In a mixer bowl, empty contents of cookie mix box.  Follow package directions for adding the egg, vanilla and butter, and add the extra brown sugar.  Stir in coconut and brickle pieces.  The dough will be very thick, so you may have to stir by hand.  Roll dough into walnut-sized balls (or use a cookie scoop).  Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes, til edges are starting to brown.  Allow to cool on tray for at least 5 minutes before removing (I wait 2-3 minutes, then slide the parchment paper - cookies and all - onto brown paper to finish cooling).

FINAL VERDICT:  Very sweet, definitely got an undertone of caramel, but the coconut flavor seemed to get lost.  I'm thinking next time I'll add some homemade coconut extract (Alton Brown, Food Network) along with the vanilla.  Both kiddos agreed.  Also, one neat thing about Samoas is that you get chocolate in every bite.  That isn't necessarily the case with these.  I may also sift out the chips, then use them to make a drizzle for the cookies.  Something to think about...

In the meantime, I'll just be sitting here, eating these delicious cookies!

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