One thing I have come to realize as a food blogger is that nothing I do is ever completely original. Every time I think I’ve come up with an idea that no one has ever thought of before, I find that I am wrong. Last fall, I had the idea to make an ice cream based on the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, but before I even had a chance to execute the idea, I saw someone else post it on Foodgawker. Then there were my gingerbread biscotti, which I thought for certain was brilliant and original, but a quick google search disabused me of this notion. And now, these Samoa Bars. I’d seen plenty of homemade Samoa cookies and was wandering the house one day when I thought how great the flavours would be in a bar. And a far sight easier to put together, too. Such a great idea, in fact, that lots of other people had thought of it too! It’s also very possible that I had already seen them on another site but forgotten that I’d seen them, so it only seemed like it was an original thought, when really it was the power of suggestion.
Where I lack in completely original ideas, I suppose I make up for it by taking those ideas and making them low carb and/or gluten free. But even there, I have to confess that I plagiarize. Except that I am only plagiarizing myself, which is a little more socially acceptable! Most parts of this recipe are actually pilfered from other recipes I’ve made, but they’ve never been put together quite in this combination. The crust is similar to my Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Bars, the chocolate in the middle and on top is a paired down version of my Homemade Chocolate Chips, and the filling is the caramel sauce from my Sticky Toffee Puddings, with some toasted coconut mixed in.
It was really the caramel sauce that put the idea in my head in the first place. It was so, SO good and I’ve been dreaming of working with it again every since I made it the first time. I got to wondering what it would be like if I put in coconut oil in place of the butter, but I needed a recipe to use it on. The coconut oil lead to thinking about coconut-based treats, which must have been what lead to the thought of Samoas. But the idea of cutting out circular cookies with another hole in the middle seemed like a lot of work and I wasn’t sure I could get a good cookie base with low carb ingredients. Spreading the whole thing in a pan seemed much easier. And then I remembered that the bottoms of Samoas are dipped in chocolate, which wasn’t going to work in bar format…but why not spread the chocolate in the middle? Hey, it may not look exactly like a Samoa, but all the elements are there and it all tastes the same going down, right?
The Results: I am really proud of these! They taste fantastic and all of the elements came together perfectly. I wasn’t sure they would, actually. After I’d baked the crust, I thought it was too soft, more cakey than shortbread and I was saying to my husband that I’d change that and cut back on the amount of crust too, to make it thinner. But once it was all put together, with the chocolate drizzled on top, I changed my mind. I think they were perfect as is. The crust was crisper than I thought it would be, once it cooled, and it was a perfect foil for the rich, coconut caramel topping and the chocolate.
So if you’ve been missing Girl Scout Cookies on your low carb diet, try these. You won’t regret it!
1 1/2 cups almond flour
6 tbsp butter, chilled
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
15 drops stevia extract
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp powdered erythritol
2.5 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
18 drops stevia extact
1 1/2 cups finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp molasses
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp dark rum (optional)
For the crust, preheat the oven to 350F. Combine almond flour, butter, erythritol, xanthan gum and stevia in a food processer. Pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch square pan and bake 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Set aside and let cool.
For the chocolate, melt butter together with powdered erythritol and chopped chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until smooth. Add cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla and stevia extract. (If you find your chocolate seizing, add a little more butter or vegetable oil and stir until smooth).
Spread about 2/3 of chocolate mixture over the cooled crust, reserving remaining chocolate for drizzle.
Toast coconut over medium heat in a medium skillet until golden brown, stirring frequently.
For the caramel sauce, combine erythritol and molasses together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until erythritol has dissolved and mixture bubbles, about 5 to 7 minutes (note – the molasses makes the mixture dark from the beginning so do not go by colour to tell if caramel is done. Make sure it bubbles before continuing to the next step). Remove from heat and stir in the cream, coconut oil and rum. Stir until smooth. Return to heat and boil one minute. Stir in toasted coconut.
Spread coconut mixture over chocolate-covered crust. Let cool completely (about 1 hour), then cut into squares. Gently reheat remaining chocolate mixture and drizzle over cut bars.
Serves 16. Each bar has a total of 7.8 g of carbs and 4.6 g of fiber (there is a surprising amount of fiber in both chocolate and coconut!). Total NET CARBS = 3.2 g.