Monday, September 19, 2011

DIY Samoa style brownies + 'la vie' this week

Isn't today the perfect day for laying in bed all morning, drinking cocoa (or coffee?) and snuggling with someone you love or a good book/movie? Yeah. I think so, too. However, I'll settle for laying in bed while blogging and eventually snuggling with Odette since Johnny boy is out all day. I love rainy days. I always have. I think they're so inspiring and gorgeous and peaceful. My mentor always teases me about my love for gloomy days, I can't help myself! The sun is wonderful, but there's almost something magical about a nicely stormy day.
Of course, these days always inspire people to seek comfort, often in a cozy sweater or some very hearty food. I'll give you a dose of that today with some Samoa inspired brownies. Late last week I asked John if he wanted me to make him a treat and he replied with an emphatic "YES!". He never turns down treats.
"cookies" on top of the batter
I thought I had pinned some sort of "5 ingredient, easy Samoa bar", but I couldn't find it in my boards, but I figured I could make a brownie version pretty easily. I was right! If you like the Samoa girl scout cookies and you like brownies... you will LOVE these. To all of you coconut haters out there, I'm sorry! My best friend's mom *really* hates coconut and I almost feel like I'm betraying her just for posting this.

Here's what you'll need...

Your favorite brownie mix (yes, we aren't doing a brownie tut today ;))
1 small bag of shredded baker's coconut
1 bag shortbread cookies or lady fingers
Caramel sauce

The first caramel layer
I should mention that our grocery store in town has a very limited selection (hmpf), so I could get neither lady fingers nor shortbread. I had to settle for animal crackers. And then, when we got home we discovered that the bag was already open (?!?!?!), so I had to use honey wheat braided pretzels. I didn't love their texture after coming out of the oven, but it was OK.

First, break up your cookies so that they're in little bite-sized pieces. Only break up enough to cover the top of your batter. Make your brownie batter and pour it into the pan specifications of the recipe. Next, add your cookies on top. You don't want it to be too thickly covered, though. After that, layer on some caramel.
Adding the coconut
After your first caramel coating comes the coconut. I used nearly the entire package, but there's just a little bit leftover. You can put on as much as you'd like! Remember, though, the more layers you have, the longer it will take to bake. I baked mine for nearly 40 minutes at 375. It's hard to tell when the brownies are actually done since you have to poke through caramel sauce to get to the batter. Remember not to over bake brownies. They tend to appear slightly undercooked, but they cool to a perfect state.

final carmalization :)

Once you have applied your desired amount of coconut, then you can put your final layer of caramel on top. Follow the baking instructions for your brownies, realizing that you'll need to add in some extra time due to the layering. I suggest letting them bake for the full recommended time and then fork-testing every 3-5 minutes after that. They came out really delicious, except for the pretzel layer. That part was ok. It would have been better with shortbread. The coconut was perfectly toasted and the caramel was warm and gooey. Ohhh I love treats. We each ate two brownies the first night and we've been trying to ignore them ever since. I packed one for John to take with him as a surprise today, but he didn't see it and it was left behind. I'm thinking that I should probably eat it.
In other news, my camera is about to ride off into the sunset. It can no longer zoom and the picture quality is really starting to lag. I do have a Minolta SLR camera. My parents got it for my birthday JUST before DSLR cameras hit the market and unfortunately, like most film cameras, it doesn't see much use. I've read that the lens can be transferred to other Minoltas and even some Sony DSLRs, which would be awesome. Then I'd only need to buy a body and not the entire deal. If you have any suggestions for either brand, please let me know!

And now, for 'la vie' this week...

Monday: DIY Samoa style brownies
Tuesday: DIY Shoe clips
Wednesday: Keira Knightley makeup tutorial
Thursday: DIY Men's suit pants into slim fit/skinny suit pants
Friday: DIY Pumpkin apple butter

It's going to be another fun week... praying GOOD things happen in your life and inspiration abounds!


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