Brown buttery blondies with a caramely coconut layer and drizzled in chocolate ganache!
Guys. It’s that time of year again.
The time of year when those little green, badge-boasting critters, AKA girl scouts, are implanted at the entrance of every flippin’ single grocery store across the United States. It’s impossible to escape them.
Some might feel bad just saying no or passing right by them, but I don’t. Nope, not me. I see right through those cutesy smiles and eyes of desperation. I was, after all, one of them a few *cough* 20 years ago. Yes, I was indeed a girl scout (for like a hot minute). However, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think cookie-pushing was a thing when I was in the troops.
If we really get down to it though, it’s not the girl scouts that you have trouble saying no to…it’s the cookies.
Yes, those green, red, and purple boxes of delicious childhood memories. Whether you served time as a girl scout or not, we all remember sneaking into the high kitchen cupboards to get to our beloved Thin Mints, Samoas, or Tagalongs.
It was usually a toss up between those three when it came to my favorite. But nowadays, I’d have to say that Samoas have stolen my heart with their caramely coconut charm. Dipped and drizzled in chocolate, the Samoa cookie is what I live for. So it would only make sense for me to create something similar, yet dare I say, more mouthwateringly delicious…
These Brown Butter Samoa Blondies definitely put those cookies to shame. This is what a Samoa cookie would look like if it went on steroids AND THEN had plastic surgery done.
And while girl scout cookies are normally sold only a few months out of the year, these blondies can be made (and devoured) ALL YEAR LONG. Chances are you’ll have people sneaking into your kitchen cupboards for these blondies as well.
Instead of a boring ol’ shortbread cookie, this treat has a dense, buttery blondie infused with brown butter.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Up next, the reason why pretty much 99.9999% of the Samoa cookie-lovers population is obsessed with Samoas–the coconut-caramel layer. My version, however, is ten times better than the original. Plus, there’s MORE of it–no skimping here.
So what makes it so great? Here are some key components:
Key #1: Toast dat coconut! Do NOT, and I REPEAT, DO NOT skip this step. Coconut is rather flavorless in its original form. It’s not until you toast the coconut, that it’s able to come alive and show the world how magnificently flavorful it truly is! It’s seriously night and day, folks. And besides, if you have enough time to make these blondies, you most definitely have the 10 extra minutes it takes to toast it in the oven. It’s a simple step that makes a monumental difference.
Key# 2: HOMEmade caramel–emphasis on the HOME, if you didn’t notice. While I like store-bought caramel as much as the next guy (Fieri), you can’t really compete with that freshly-made burnt sugary pot of golden ecstasy. Sure it can be intimidating when you’re working with hot lava, but trust me…it’s SO WORTH IT. And another thing, those kraft caramel cubes have absolutely NO place in these blondies, so don’t even think about it, or I’ll sic my unicorns on you.
Finally, we have the dark chocolatey ganache….
As Meryl Streep once said in The Devil Wears Prada, “That’s all.”
Brown Butter Samoa Blondies
Yields: 16 squares
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Coconut Caramel Topping:
2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
Make the Blondies: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. As the butter melts, it’ll start to foam, then turn a clear golden color. Continue to stir the butter, scraping up any browned specks from the bottom of the pan as it starts to brown. It should have a nutty aroma.
Once browned and nutty, turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk in both sugars, the egg, and vanilla until smooth. Switch to a wooden spoon, add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined. Try not to overmix.
Turn batter out into prepared pan, spreading batter evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake for about 20-23 minutes, or until edges are firm and golden and the center jiggles slightly; do not overbake. Blondies firm up as they cool.
Make the Coconut Caramel Topping: Spread coconut evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350ºF oven, stirring occasionally, for about 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately from oven and allow to cool completely while you work on the caramel.
Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Stir occasionally with a fork until mixture comes to a boil, about 3-4 minutes. Continue to simmer until mixture becomes a medium amber color, about 5-6 minutes, swirling pan every so often. Immediately add the cream, and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Using a heat-resistant spatula, constantly stir the caramel until temperature reaches 225ºF-230ºF, about 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat off, stir in the vanilla, and allow to cool/thicken for about 5 minutes. Stir in the toasted shredded coconut, then spread coconut caramel topping evenly over the cooled blondies. Set in the refrigerator for about two hours to allow allow coconut caramel layer to firm up.
Make the Chocolate Ganache: In a glass measuring cup, heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it begins to boil, about 30-40 seconds. Remove from the microwave then add the chocolate, shaking gently to make sure all of the chocolate is covered in the hot cream. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes before stirring smooth.
To Assemble: Run a knife around the edges of the pan, lift the blondies out, then cut into squares. Drizzle with chocolate ganache and serve!