I somehow managed to go this whole year without seeing any Girl Scouts selling cookies. Granted, I wasn’t actively seeking them out, but usually you don’t have to try, you know? They’re practically everywhere. I even remember seeing them when I was an undergrad, lining the main walk through campus during finals week. It kind of seemed like they were sliiightly taking advantage of our sleep-deprived, highly-stressed condition, because people were pretty much like, I NEED ALL THE COOKIES IMMEDIATELY, PLEASE. Well played, Girl Scouts, well played.
Anyway, it’s not like I’ve ever been one to buy large quantities of Girl Scout cookies, but I like a box or two of Samoas every year (I mean really, who doesn’t?!). So without my annual cookie fix, I decided to make my own Samoa-inspired treats: mini pie shells filled with chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce, topped with toasted coconut, aka mini Samoa pies!
These mini Samoa pies are the perfect bite-sized dessert: they’re sweet with a little bit of salty, a serendipitous union of rich, flaky crust and velvety smooth filling. For the pie crusts, I used my grandmother’s recipe for cream cheese tart shells – around the holidays, she uses it to make mini pecan tarts, which have been a favorite of mine since I was little. It hardly takes any time at all to whip up the dough, and forming the shells is quite easy as well, particularly if you’ve got a tart tamper! This recipe does take a little planning ahead (to let the dough chill and to make the various components), but the amount of active time isn’t too bad and I promise, the end result is well worth the effort! If you’re looking to simplify things, however, you can use store-bought pie dough and/or store-bought caramel sauce to save time.
What are your favorite Girl Scout cookies? Do you have any copycat recipes or cookie-inspired desserts to get you through the Girl Scout cookie dry spells?
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup margarine, at room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons salted butter (don’t substitute margarine!)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Mix together the cream cheese and margarine until smooth. Add the flour and mix until fully incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
- Make the caramel sauce (you can also do this step the day before if you prefer). I’ll refer you over to Sally's Baking Addiction for these instructions, since she provides wonderful step-by-step photos, which are wonderful for those who are new to making caramel sauce and/or those who are a bit nervous about it.
- Make the chocolate ganache (you’ll want to do this the day of, since the consistency can get a little weird if you refrigerate and then reheat it): in a double boiler, melt the butter or margarine and chocolate chips. Once melted and combined, remove from the heat and add in the heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread the coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes, until fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Remove the coconut from the oven and turn up the temperature to 350 degrees.
- While the coconut is in the oven, form the pie shells. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls with your hands and place them in the cups of a mini muffin pan, then use a tart tamper or your fingers to shape into shells. Prick the shells with a fork and place several pie weights inside of each crust. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. This will help to reduce the amount of puffing while the shells bake.
- Bake the shells at 350 degrees for 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow them to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and remove the pie weights.
- Once the pie shells are somewhat cooled, fill them halfway with chocolate ganache, then fill the remaining space with caramel sauce. Top with a pinch of toasted coconut. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- If you’re short on time or looking to simplify things, you may use store-bought pie dough and/or store-bought caramel sauce instead.
- Caramel sauce recipe modified ever so slightly from Sally's Baking Addiction