Liveblogging Cookies: Samoas Bars and Tagalongs

 

Note: Firefox has earned my undying enmity for the day by refusing to let me upload pictures and/or really basically do anything useful at all. I am forced to use Internet Exploder. Please, shoot me.

I’m finally, finally making the Samoas bars and Tagalongs from Baking Bites. Actually, I started making them about 40 minutes ago, but due to technical issues I haven’t been able to start liveblogging about it until now. I’ve never done this before, and I don’t know what makes me think anyone will find it interesting now, but who knows: Maybe you’re stuck at the office on a Friday afternoon and would prefer cookie updates to actual work!

I won’t be posting the full recipes here, as you can find them at the links above, but I’ll post my metric conversions since I do all baking by weight. No measuring cups here, kthx. I’ve started with the Samoas bars, because I think they’ll need more cooling and setting up time to be ready for dipping in chocolate.

1:00pm – toasting the coconut. Excitement galore as I try to keep Noodle off the counter! The recipe calls for 3c of toasted coconut, but I’m using 1-1/2c, because it looks like enough to me (I prefer a higher cookie-to-topping ratio) and also because I’m cheap. All that was available at the store was sweetened shredded, which was another reason to use less (don’t want to rot anyone’s teeth out).

half-baked

half-baked

 1:20 – While the coconut was in the oven, I had to take it out every five minutes or so and give it a little stir to keep it from turning into burntonut. In the interim, I had lunch: Salsaria’s, a pretty OK local Mexican place, but the real reason to go there is the salsa. My bloodstream consists of 98% salsa and was in need of replenishment. I feel better now.

cookie dough fixins

cookie dough fixins

I also started to make the cookie dough for the Samoas bars. Baking Bites gives her recipe in volume, which is more familiar for most folks, but here’s the weight conversion for the dough:

100g sugar

170g butter

1 egg

1/2t vanilla (what, you think you can weigh that? ha!)

228g AP flour

1/4t salt

And as I typed this up, I just realized that I only put 1/2c. of butter in the dough, so whoops! My bad on that one. I’ll let you know how that error turns out. It might explain the slight dry-looking thing I’ve got going on. So, cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla:

look at that lovely egg

look at that lovely egg

 I elected to go with the hand-held mixer, even though there are two KitchenAids available here; for small batches of stuff, I just find it to be less trouble, plus there’s something pleasingly retro about it. I never used a stand mixer growing up, so it reminds me of baking Christmas cookies with family. Anyway, next we add the flour, and stir just to combine. BB mentioned the dough might be crumbly, but I suspect yours should be less so, because you’ll use the right amount of butter. Right?

like chunky sand
like chunky sand

 OK, Internet Explorer? Is really annoying. Anyway, I figured that looked about like fairly moist pie dough, and turned it out into the only 9×13″ pan in the house: a Pyrex dish. We haven’t moved our stuff over yet and I was somewhat aghast at the lack of bakeware, but I shall remedy that shortly.

 

dough, patted in nicely
dough, patted in nicely

 You can sort of see there that the dough was a bit dry. Maybe I should’ve clued in. Oh well! It patted in pretty well, not too sticky, so I just used my hands (which run notoriously hot, particularly in the summer) and made it into an approximation of an even surface. If I were making these to sell, I’d have worried about leveling it off, but for cookies to eat at home? Meh.

Into the oven at 350F for about 23 minutes, and this is where we currently stand at 2pm. Now that I’m done wrestling with WordPress, it’s back into the kitchen to start on the Tagalong dough and filling, and maybe do a few more dishes.

cookie base, baked off (ft. coconut)
cookie base, baked off (ft. coconut)

2:25 – slight delay due to my having to, um, clean? the beaters. Yup. Just got done making the dough for the Tagalongs, shaping, and getting them into the oven. First up, the ingredients:

This time with more milk
This time with more milk

 So here we have:

1c butter (2 sticks)

100g sugar

228g AP flour

1/4t baking powder

1/2t salt

1/2t vanilla extract

2T milk

As is usual in these matters, first you cream the butter and sugar. Like so. While you blog about it, the oven will beep incessantly because IT thinks the cookies are done, but they are not.

vroom vroom
vroom vroom

Subsequently we add the dry ingredients, vroom it all together, then last the vanilla extract and milk. I might’ve put a little less milk, because it’s humid and my opinion is that the dough was a little bit too soft.

Tagalongs in dough formation
Tagalongs in dough formation
I was supposed to measure about a tablespoon and press them out 1/4″ thick or so, but the dough was sticky and I got frustrated and I just want to EAT THE COOKIES so I may have rushed it, resulting in this sloppy tray of cookies, ready to bake.
Sadly off-round cookies
Sadly off-round cookies
Another 350F-lover, this time only for 11-13 minutes; I found 13 minutes better, and shall provide you with photos momentarily.
 
It is now 2:48 (man, if only I’d had like, five recipes ready to go and hadn’t decided to blog this, I’d have a LOT more cookies by now). Here are the Tagalong cookie bases, hanging out in the oven, waiting for their grand appearance:
Toasty!
Toasty!
I must say the dough spread rather a lot more than expected. If I make these again, I think my inclination will be to use a slightly more traditional shortbread dough and/or to tighten up the recipe a little bit and do them as refrigerator cookies for speed and regularity of shape, as well as hopefully more minimal cookie-spreading. The dents are to allow the cookies to hold a maximum amount of peanut butter filling, which is up next.
 
dented goods aisle
dented goods aisle

3:24 and time for toppings! I tried to take a pic of the ingredients for the coconut-caramel Samoas topping, but somehow the peanut butter snuck in, and I was like, you know, nobody really needs to see a pile of unwrapped Milk Maid caramels. Instead, here’s what it looks like after melting the caramels, milk, and salt together:

caramel lake
caramel lake
And after stirring in the toasted coconut:
coconut goo
coconut goo
And finally, atop the cookie bar base (I left some of the edges a little barer for my own personal eating goodness).
on top of samoaaaas
on top of samoaaaas
I also mixed up the peanut butter filling for the Tagalongs, but the cookies aren’t quite cool enough yet. Once they’re topped, it’s just chill time and then dipping in chocolate. Oh, and I have to make meatloaf for dinner. I don’t think anyone wants liveblogging about meatloaf. You may now run off and get snacks, because I’ll probably let everything relax and chill for a couple of hours before dipping (mostly because MIL will be home soon and will need the kitchen to make dinner).
peanut butter, now with extra added sugar
peanut butter, now with extra added sugar

4:00 – I put the peanut butter on the delicious Tagalong bases and rather to my chagrin, I think I overbaked them a little. They’re quite crisp, and I’m afraid of what will happen when they hit the chocolate. I guess if worse comes to worst I can just use it as an ice cream topping — you know, the thing you do with all failed desserts, right?

5:00 – Since I only got one bag of chocolate chips, and apparently MILK chocolate chips at that, I decided to do the half-dip with the Samoas. Holy cow, dude; I can feel my teeth rotting. I can’t say I’m a huge fan and will probably not make them again, but instead use the recipe as a basis for a more grown-up version with a burnt caramel coconut topping, or something. Admittedly having sweetened coconut plus milk chocolate didn’t help their case for me, but ho. ly. cats, Batman. I haven’t dipped the Tagalongs yet and may pick up a bar of semisweet chocolate before I do so. I guess when you get down to it, I don’t like Girl Scout cookies as much as I think I do.

Oh — and my camera battery died, and the charger’s still at the old house. Oops. Sorry for no finished pics, but they look kind of not so hot anyway. An anticlimactic end to a cookie-baking day — and now I am going to go drink pickle juice to make up for all the sugar. If I do the “liveblogging” thing again, I’ll probably use a recipe I know. Or maybe video tutorials are more the thing. I really need a video camera. And now I’m rambling.

Signing off for now — if ever I get “finished product” photos (i.e. if Zack doesn’t eat all the cookies before I go get the battery charger), I’ll add them here! I’d say the recipes are definitely worth a try; I have a less-sweet tooth than most and overall they pretty much deliver the goods.

Recipe rating: B+ (points deducted for lack of weight measurements as well as being AMGSWEET; recommend NOT using sweetened coconut in the Samoas bars)

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10 thoughts on “Liveblogging Cookies: Samoas Bars and Tagalongs

  1. Uh, baking IS awesome.
    And recipes in weight are so much better than those in volume. Let’s hear it for baked goods that look good!

  2. Liveblogging baking is an intriguing idea — but I work so messy that I wouldn’t want to get the computer anywhere near the kitchen.

    Unsweetened coconut is always the way to go.

    They look great!

    ICLW

    • Hee! I was running back and forth between the bedroom (where the computer is) and the kitchen, but they’re on the same floor. I do work fairly clean — ingrained habit from line cooking and pastry chefing — but there’s no stopping the flour from flying a LITTLE bit.

  3. Oooooh…homemade Girl Scout cookies – what an idea! I checked out the recipe she has for thin mints and it looks divine!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. Those look fabulous! Baking recipes are so much better when you weigh the ingredients.

    Enjoy!

    Stopping by for an ICLW visit…
    No. 95: The Unfair Struggle (male-factor infertility, good friends, neighborhood rumblings)

  5. Happy ICLW!

    I saw on Kristin’s blog that she had mentioned you and these cookies. I copied down the recipes from the links and might try them. I have all the ingredients for one of them. Not sure if today is the day for baking though as it’ll be in the 100′s…EEK! Your cookies look great and yummy!

    So if you have two standing mixers, want me to adopt the other. I’ll pay for shipping and EVERYTHING ;o)
    *HUGS*

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