Well (after a few attempts) this recipe is just right, and right now I feel like a proud parent ready to show off my creations to the world (just like parenthood, I imagine, except better because you get to eat your creations).
I had the idea for these cookies over a year ago. I love Samoas (I know… what non-coconut-hating person doesn’t) but have you ever tried to follow a real mock-recipe yourself? It’s tedious, time-consuming and messy and they never turn out just right. I wanted a cookie that evoked the taste of Samoas but didn’t take all of that work.
Hence, Samoa Thumbprints.
These cookies might take a little more work and a few more steps than say an average drop cookie, but they are so worth it, and far easier than trying to make a 100% lookalike.
Save this one for when Girl Scout Cookie Season is over.
What to do:
Preheat your oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I usually recommend chilling baking pans in the freezer/fridge before baking, so I put my baking sheets in the fridge to chill at this time. I had a lot of trouble with previous attempts at this recipe with my thumbprints not holding their shape, and by chilling the pans beforehand the cookies will not be so quick to spread out and lose their namesake shape.
I mentioned the importance of softening your butter in my last post, so make sure that you have allowed 3 sticks (1 1/2 lbs) of unsalted butter to soften. Once they have, cream them in a stand-alone mixer with 3/4 cups granulated sugar. Add in the yolks only of two large eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Mix well, scraping the side of the bowl as needed to be sure that ingredients are evenly blended.
Gradually, with the mixer on low speed, add in 3 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Rather than dirtying an additional bowl and combining the flour and salt to ensure even distribution, I added in the flour about 1/2 cup at a time and when I was halfway through I sprinkled in the 1/4 teaspoon salt. Worked like a charm! Then, stir in 3/4 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips.
These cookies will need to chill, but it is much easier to roll and shape the cookies while they are still soft. Roll the dough into approximately 1.5″ balls. I know these are called “thumbprint” cookies, but the indent you need to make here is more like a crater. I used the rounded back of my 1.5″ cookie dough scoop to make good-sized impressions in my cookies (More room for our Samoa topping!). This recipe should make about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Remember how I mentioned the importance of chilling the baking pans so that the cookies don’t spread out and melt, losing their form? You need to chill the dough now for the same reason. Cover and chill the pressed thumbprints in your freezer for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, space the cookies at least 1″ apart on your (also chilled) baking sheet, and bake on 375F for 12 minutes. Once they have finished baking, you may find that the indented centers have puffed up a bit during their time in the oven. No problem! I just used the (cleaned) back-end of my cookie dough scoop again to gently press them back down.
You can allow these cookies to cool completely on their pans.
While your cookies are cooling, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, heat 11 oz caramel (I used Kraft Unwrapped Caramel Bits), 1 Tablespoon of milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract on medium heat, stirring constantly until all ingredients are melted and an even, liquid consistency. Stir in 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut* and reduce heat to simmer.
*I toasted my coconut before using. This is not absolutely necessary and I next time I make these cookies I think I will skip this step because the fact that the coconut was toasted is essentially undetectable and not worth the time to me. If you are insistent on toasting, this can be done by spreading a thin layer of coconut on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and baking at 400F for 10 minutes, stirring the coconut with a spatula halfway through and cooking until the coconut just begins to turn a light brown.
Using two small spoons, scoop out your caramel/coconut mixture and portion out into all cookies, just barely over-filling each
Next, take the remainder of your semisweet chocolate chips (should be about 1 cup of chocolate) and melt in a small bowl in the microwave. Microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring at each interval until chocolate is smooth and completely melted.
To drizzle the chocolate over the cookies, I cut a teeny-tiny hole in the end of a plastic baggie and poured my chocolate in the baggie, then used this to drizzle over my cookies.
There you go, your very own mock-samoa cookies!
Samoa Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 1/2 cup butter (3 sticks softened)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
- CARAMEL TOPPING
- 11 oz caramel candies
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup sweetened coconut
- CHOCOLATE TOPPING
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set in refrigerator to chill.
Cream butter and sugar together in stand alone mixer.
Add egg yolks, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
Gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) stir in flour. Stir in salt halfway through the addition of flour.
Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls and press wide indent into cookie (using the back end of a spoon or cookie dough scooper if possible)
Cover and chill shaped cookies in freezer for 30 minutes.
Place cookies on chilled, parchment-paper lined baking sheet about 1" apart. Bake on 375F for 12 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool on pan.
Heat caramel and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly until a smooth liquid consistency is obtained.
Stir in vanilla
Stir in Coconut
Portion out caramel topping among cookies, generously filling each thumbprint
Melt chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl at 15 second intervals, stirring at each interval, until chocolate is melted.
Drizzle chocolate over cookies. Allow chocolate to cool completely before serving (this may take an hour for chocolate to harden completely)