This is the last week for Girl Scout cookie sales, so if you haven’t stocked up on Thin Mints and such, better get on it.
Maybe your pantry is already full, and you’re feeling inspired to take those cookie flavors into the kitchen? That was the recent creative spark for Alex File, owner of an at-home baking business called Whisk and Apron Baking Co. (@whisk_and_apron on Instagram).
File is always mixing and matching ingredients to make creative baked goods such as strawberry banana bread, peanut butter Oreo chocolate chip blondies, cranberry pecan bars or Rice Krispie Treats made with brown butter, pistachios and dark chocolate.
File doesn’t post a menu on her site, preferring to work with people to come up with custom treats. (Got a great idea for a cake to serve at your birthday next month? Email her at email@example.com.)
These samoa brownies, a recent creation she posted in our #Austin360Cooks social media project, are a blend of two recipes: the brownie part from from “Love, Aimee X” by British blogger Aimee Twigger and a coconut caramel sauce from Broma Bakery’s Sarah Fennel.
File’s step-by-step instructions are very helpful for a two-part dessert like this.
For the brownies:
6 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
7 oz. (1 1/3 cups) dark chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
For the coconut caramel sauce:
2 1/4 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
For the chocolate drizzle:
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate
For the brownies: Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray or grease the sides with canola spray or butter.
Combine butter and chocolate and melt in a microwave on 15 second intervals, and set aside.
Using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until pale, about 3 minutes, until pale color is achieved. Add an extra minute or two if beating by hand.
Fold in the melted chocolate/butter mixture. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder several times and then fold into the batter until just combined.
Pour batter into baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking for doneness at the 20 minute mark. Brownies are done when an inserted toothpick or fork has a couple of crumbs sticking to it. Run a knife around the pan so the edges don’t stick, then allow to cool for at least 20 minutes while you make the caramel.
To make coconut caramel: Leave oven at 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread coconut on baking sheet and put in the oven to toast. Take out after 5 minutes and stir/toss coconut around to ensure even baking. Put back into the oven for a couple minutes until light brown toasted color is achieved.
In a medium saucepan, place sugar over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Use a spatula to stir or, by holding the handle of the pan, swirl the sugar to ensure it melts evenly.
Once it has completely melted into that beautiful amber hue, remove from the heat and stir in the cubed butter. It is going to sizzle and bubble — don’t worry, but watch your hands. Melt butter into the mixture, approximately 2 minutes.
Next, stir in the heavy cream and salt. The caramel might harden and start to seize on you. No fear; return to the stove and continue to stir continuously until mixture becomes a cohesive sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted coconut.
Pour coconut caramel over cooled brownies. Place the drizzling chocolate in a bowl and place in the microwave on 15 seconds intervals until melted. Cut a small slit in the corner of a plastic bag — or even a zip-top plastic baggie — and pipe chocolate in a pattern or shape of your heart’s desire.
Allow brownies to set and finish cooling in the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Slice into sizes of your liking.
We love seeing what imaginative dishes you make in your home kitchens. Share your photos by adding the #Austin360Cooks hashtag on social media, particularly Instagram, where we browse to find the best ones to publish in the Wednesday food section. Call 512-912-2504 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for submissions without using social media.