Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Take on the Girl Scout Samoa Cookie
I have been a fan of Gesine Bullock-Prado’s since she came out with her first book Sugar Baby– she is unapologetic about her love of all things sweet. Her newest book, Let Them Eat Cake, has her signature approach, which is lighthearted and fun. This is an author who really wants you to get in the kitchen and bake. This time around she brings us a collection of basic recipes like brownies and chocolate chip cookies, as well as ones of her own devising but the premise is that each and every recipe also has 3 variations – vegan, gluten-free and healthier. These Samoas are her take on the Girl Scout cookie favorite – a coconut base with caramel and chocolate, too. In fact, if you are not a coconut fan, give these a try anyway. They are what converted Gesine into a coconut lover. For her vegan version she brings unrefined coconut oil into the mix, while the GF uses brown rice flour. The healthier take reduces the butter, uses organic palm sugar and recommends whole-wheat pastry flour. Also check out her decadent cake, The Chocoholic, with its rich chocolate mousse filling, and our interview with her. The Samoas below are show with some of her other cookie creations.
Excerpted with permission. Let Them Eat Cake: Classic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations: More Than 80 Recipes for Cookies, Pies, Cakes, Ice Cream, and More! by Gesine Bullock-Prado. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015. Photography by Tina Rupp.
There was a time when I couldn’t stomach the thought of coconut, let alone consume it. I feel guilty for maligning such a lovely ingredient for all these years. All it took was a taste of that favorite Girl Scout cookie, the one that’s just coated in the stuff, to convince me that it was worth experimenting with it in other applications. But first, let’s revisit the cookie that first converted me into a girl who’s cuckoo for coconut.
- 1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (55 g) coconut flour
- ½ cup (45 g) shredded sweetened coconut
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks/225 g) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3 cups (270 g) shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 cup (220 g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
- 2 tablespoons organic unrefined virgin coconut oil
- ½ cup (120 ml) light corn syrup
- ¼ cup (60 ml) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (40 g) bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
- MAKE THE COCONUT SABLÉ: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, coconut flour, coconut, sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, condensed milk, and vanilla. Pulse the mixture in the processor while adding the egg mixture. Con¬tinue pulsing until the mixture looks uniformly damp but doesn’t yet come together as a dough. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a disk and wrap it up. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- Roll the dough out to between ¼ and ⅛ inch (6 mm and 3 mm) thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3-inch (7.5-cm) round cookie cutter, cut rounds from the dough and transfer them to the prepared pans, spac¬ing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Leftover dough can be gathered together and rolled out one more time. Bake until lightly golden brown on the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
- MAKE THE CARAMEL-COCONUT MIXTURE: Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Toast the coconut by spreading it in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake for a few minutes to brown. Stir the coconut and continue baking until the coconut is uniformly medium to dark golden brown; watch and stir frequently, as it burns quite easily. Transfer the coconut to a large mixing bowl.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine both sugars, the butter, oil, corn syrup, condensed milk, vanilla, and salt and stir constantly with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the sugar is completely melted. Attach a candy thermometer and continue stirring until the caramel reaches 243°F (120°C). Pour the caramel into the bowl of coconut and stir until well coated. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the caramel to set up a bit but dont allow to cool and harden.
- Scoop 1½ tablespoons of the caramel-coconut mixture onto the top of a cooled cookie and press down gently so that the mixture goes just to the edge of the cookie. Use your thumb to create an indentation in the center of the cookie. The mixture should be hot as you work with it; work quickly and wear a pair of non-latex gloves to protect your fingers from the hot caramel as you work.
- TO FINISH: Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Drizzle the topped cookies with melted chocolate. Let set, about 10 minutes.
Vegan, Gluten-Free and Healthier Variations:
FOR THE COCONUT SABLÉ: Replace the butter with 1 cup (240 ml) organic unrefined virgin coconut oil that’s been chilled and cut into small cubes. Replace the egg with 1 large egg’s worth of flaxseed meal mixed with water (see page 12). Replace the condensed milk with 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk.
FOR THE CARAMEL-COCONUT MIXTURE: Replace the butter with 6 tablespoons (90 ml) organic virgin unrefined coconut oil, chilled, to make 8 tablespoons (120 ml) coconut oil in total. Replace the condensed milk with ¼ cup (60 ml) full-fat coconut milk.
FOR THE COCONUT SABLÉ: Replace the flour with 1 cup (160 g) finely milled brown rice flour and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum. When assembling, press the caramel-coconut mixture gently onto the sablé, as it’s very delicate.
FOR THE COCONUT SABLÉ: Replace the flour with 1 cup (100 g) organic coconut-wheat pastry flour. Replace the sugar with ¼ cup (40 g) organic granulated palm sugar. Reduce the butter to ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) and add ½ cup (120 ml) chilled organic unrefined virgin coconut oil cut into small cubes.
FOR THE CARAMEL-COCONUT MIXTURE: Replace the coconut with unsweetened shredded coconut. Replace both sugars with 2 cups (350 g) organic granulated palm sugar. Replace 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons organic unrefined virgin coconut oil for a total of 4 tablespoons (60 ml) coconut oil and 4 tablespoons (55 g) butter. Replace the corn syrup with organic agave syrup. Replace the condensed milk with ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk.