Basic Shortbread Recipe:
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 3 cups) shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
• 15-oz soft caramels
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3 tbsp milk
• 8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate
1. Prepare Dough -
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this to the butter mixture. At low speed, add in the milk and vanilla. Separate the dough into halves and wrap in plastic or store in tupperware. Refrigerate until the dough is as firm as a stick of butter.
2. Toast Coconut -
While the dough is refrigerating, preheat your oven to 350F. Toast the shredded coconut on a baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool while shaping and baking cookies.
3. Cut -
Ensure you've got the oven at 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Once your dough is firm enough to roll out without making a big mess, roll dough on lightly floured surface. (This dough is made to be soft enough to withstand the incorporation of more flour during this phase.) Once your dough is rolled to about 1/8" - 1/4" thickness, use a cookie cutter to cut out whatever shapes your heart desires. (For traditional-like Samoas, cut out a hole in the middle!) Re-roll the scraps and repeat.
4. Bake -
Bake your batches of cookies one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet 180 degrees, halfway through baking. This ensures that all the cookies turn the same color instead of getting browner in the hotter parts of your oven. Cool your cookies on the sheet for about 5 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cookie sheets cool before putting new cookies to be baked on them.
5.Prepare the Topping -
Place your caramels, milk and salt in a microwaveable bowl and nuke for 1 minute at a time, stopping to stir, until nice and melty, about 3-4min. (If you're using homemade caramels, you can reduce the amount of milk and microwave time. If you are using hard caramels, increase the milk.) Stir the toasted coconut into the caramel mixture.
6. Top Cookies -
Using a knife, an offset spatula, or whatever device floats your boat, spread the caramel mixture on top of your cookies. Be generous.
7. Add the Chocolate -
Lay out a sheet of waxed paper. Chop up your chocolate and microwave it in 30 second bursts, stirring between each, until nice and melty. Dip the bottoms of your cookies into the chocolate and place on waxed paper.
Use the remaining melted chocolate to drizzle over top of the cookies once they're all dipped. A spoon works for this, but you could also use a piping bag or the corner snipped off a plastic baggie. Store in an air tight container for best results.