|A dairy-free ode to a cookie rock star!
So after successfully making a safe Thin Mint for my dairy- and nut-allergic kids, I naturally moved on to tackling the Samoa. After seeing the many steps involved to making them, I decided to go easy on my first attempt. I chose a less labor-intensive bar recipe to work with.
The biggest hurdle in making the bar dairy-free was the caramel sauce which is traditionally made with heavy cream and butter. I used Bobtail's recipe for non-dairy caramel sauce that was featured on Food.com. Taste-wise, it's a great match. Texture-wise, it is thin and runny but because you'll be mixing it with toasted coconut it will work out okay. You can also thicken the sauce by mixing a teaspoon of corn starch to the creamer as you heat it on the stove.
Adapted from Baking Bites' 2009 Homemade Samoas Bars recipe
1/2 cup sugar (I use organic sugar)
3/4 cup vegan margarine, softened (I like Earth Balance)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp extra vegan margarine or milk substitute (I use Soy Dream Original)
1 10oz bag semisweet chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe's)
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
3 cups flaked or shredded coconut (I used sweetened flakes)
dairy-free caramel sauce equivalent to 12 oz. of caramel
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 3/4 cup soy coffee creamer (I use Silk soy creamer)
- 3 Tbsp vegan margarine
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line a 13"x9" rectangular pan with aluminum foil. Grease with canola oil or cooking spray.
- Cream together vegan margarine, sugar, and vanilla.
- Add flour and salt to wet mixture and combine thoroughly. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more vegan margarine or some milk substitute until dough can come together.
- Press dough into the bottom of foiled pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan.
- While cookie base is cooling, heat semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 minutes in microwave). Add vegetable shortening and stir until mixture is smooth.
- Spread a layer of chocolate to completely cover the cookie base.
- Cool until completely hardened. After the pan is cool, you can pop it in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Keep your leftover chocolate dip -- you'll need it for drizzling over the top of your bars.
- Toast 3 cups coconut in preheated 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown. Check coconut every five minutes -- I burned a lot of coconut at 350 degrees!
- While coconut is toasting, make your caramel sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. (Add 1-2 teaspoons of corn starch if you want to ensure thickening.) Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugars. When sauce boils, cook an additional few minutes and make sure everything has dissolved. Remove from heat to cool. Remember that it will be a runny sauce. (It reminds me of what the sauce looks like at the bottom of a takeout box for Chinese noodles!)
- Meanwhile take cookie base out of refrigerator. Over a surface lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper, carefully remove foiled cookie base from the pan. Turn cookie base over --the chocolate top will now be on the bottom of your bar-- and peel off the foil.
- Toss toasted coconut and 1/2 cup of caramel sauce together until well coated. You might not need all the caramel sauce (remember, it's runny!). Add more sauce as needed to fully coat coconut.
- Spread caramel coconut mixture on the "new top" of the cookie base.
- Reheat leftover chocolate sauce. Add additional melted chips mixed with shortening if needed. Drizzle over coconut topping.
- Let chocolate drizzle and coconut set. Then cut into bars and enjoy!
I did end up making a Samoa cookie using the BakingBites.com January 2008 recipe after we gobbled up the bars way, way too quickly. My husband liked the cookie version better than the bar. I preferred the Samoa bar. Once you've done the cookie versus bar challenge in your household, let us know your winner!