Since we’re open to all sorts of dietary needs here at GLC and I’m always up for an experiment (and tis the season for girl scout cookies) I decided to push the boat out and make gluten-free samoas (admit it- everyone’s favourite) for my personal trainer who is both intolerant to gluten and unfermented lactose. Oddly, the gluten-free part wasn’t the problem, the real problem was making the vegan caramel, since most ready-made caramel is cream based. Still, we fight the good fight, and here is my recipe for today, inspired by Gluten Free Betsy:
Ingredients for the cookie dough:
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I used Namaste Flour Blend because I’ve heard that the Red Mill I have isn’t the best)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp coconut milk (I used none)
Ingredients for the topping:
2 bars of non-milk lecithin dark chocolate (you can use whatever you want if you aren’t worried about dairy)
3 cups shredded coconut
Dairy free caramel (or you could just melt actual caramel sweets if you’re not going vegan)
2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of corn syrup or agave nectar
1/2 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp margarine
1) In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar (by hand unless you’re lucky enough to own a kitchenaid mixer or the like, sigh)
2) Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt
3) Add vanilla extract (adding milk as needed to make the dough come together in a nice thick texture, not too sticky- I didn’t need this and had coconut milk on hand)
4) Roll into a ball, put into clingfilm or tupperware an refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. (I left mine in overnight and was glad for it, broke up the process)
5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6) Roll the dough out between floured (gluten free, of course!) wax paper to about ¼ inch thickness.
7) Use round cookie cutters to make small circles and use a knife of wide straw to cut a smaller center hole.
8 ) Place on a parchment or foil lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. (The recipe said it could take as long as 25 minutes, that was a lie…) To save energy I suggest throwing the 3 cups of coconut on a baking sheet and toasting them for 3-5 minutes while you have the oven on.
9) Cool and set aside while you prepare topping
1) Either use a double boiler to melt the chocolate or go for a microwave safe bowl and microwave it until its liquid, making sure to stir it and not let it burn (which can easily happen in the microwave.) Dip the bottom of the cookies in the chocolate after they’ve completely cooled and set them back on the parchment paper upside down. If you can get them into the freezer for a few minutes it’ll really help harden them up so that you don’t have to worry about melty chocolate on one side and melty caramel on the other.
In the meantime:
2) Make the caramel- mix the water, corn syrup/agave and sugar in a small saucepan and cook on a low heat until melted. Now cook on a low heat until a deep amber colour (I’m not going to give a time because the 12 minutes I was told were a lie, maybe I’m doing it wrong…) and then add in the coconut milk and margarine. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
3) When the caramel is cool enough to manipulate, mix in the coconut and then spread about 2-3 tsp onto each cookie.
4) Once each cookie has caramel topping drizzle chocolate freely (it may have to be reheated) to get that signature ‘samoa’ look (or caramel de-lite look, whatever you grew up with.) Enjoy!