Monthly Feature, By Carrie Jaeger

It’s that time of year when those little girls in green use their sweet faces to convince you that you’re doing something good by buying 17 boxes of cookies. I have no self-control if treats are in the house (I have been known to eat ½ a pan of Rice Krispies Treats in an afternoon…oops), so I’ve been spending the last few weeks averting my eyes and pretending to be on my phone each time I go to the grocery store. Thin Mints from the freezer are my favorite, but a close second are the coconutty crack known as Samoas. So, when I saw this recipe come across my Facebook feed, I knew I had to try it.

Recipe: From Averie Cooks
-½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
-1 large egg
-½ cup light brown sugar, packed
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
-¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
-1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
-1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut, loosely laid in measuring cup (not packed)
-2/3 of a 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (about 10 ounces)
-½ cup salted caramel sauce (I used this one, also from Averie Cooks, or store-bought, regular caramel sauce may be substituted)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set aside.
2. Melt butter. Cool slightly and whisk in egg, brown sugar and vanilla, until smooth.
3. Stir in flour and salt until just combined; don’t overmix.
4. Press batter into prepared pie pan. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until edges firm up slightly and center has begun to set up.
5. Remove pie dish from oven, and evenly sprinkle 3/4 cup chocolate chips over the crust. Top chocolate chips with evenly spread coconut.
6. Evenly drizzle the sweetened condensed milk and then the caramel sauce.
7. Return pan to oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until edges begin to bubble and center appears set. Watch carefully, as coconut, caramel and condensed milk are all prone to burning. Pie will continue to set as it cools, so better to under bake and overbake.
8. Melt ¾ cup of chocolate chips. Evenly drizzle across top of pie (pie does not have to be completely cooled to add drizzle).
9. Cool at least 4 hours before serving. Store at room temperature (tightly wrapped) for up to 5 days. Can be frozen up to 6 months, also.

The Taste – YUM! Not quite as addicting as the cookies (maybe because it’s so easy to just pop one of those little suckers in your mouth every time you pass by the box), but the taste is right on! Sticky caramel, coconut and chocolate….what’s not to love? I was afraid that it would be sickeningly sweet, but surprisingly, was not. The crust is a little dry for my liking. I would bake it less next time or use more butter.

The Ease – Had I not made the caramel (and ruined it the first time), this would have been a breeze! The homemade caramel was DELCIOUS though…worth the extra trouble!

The Fat-Assness – Yeah…probably in the same ballpark as it’s super healthy cookie equivalent. Extra gym time required for this one.

The Clean-Up – Easy! Essentially one mixing bowl, one bowl for melting the chocolate, measuring cups/spoons, and the pie plate. One extra pot if you make the caramel.

The Problem – The only problem I ran into was when making the caramel. Once the sugar water starts to boil, just leave it alone until it reaches the desired amber color. I thought whisking it would be a good idea. It wasn’t. The sugar crystalized before it caramelized and I had to start again. Boo.

The Verdict – Definitely a keeper!

The Tip – When filling a piping bag, it can be tricky to hold the bag and fill it without making a mess. Free up one hand by folding the top of the piping bag over a cup to hold it open. Now you’ve got 2 hands to scrape all of the goodness out of the bowl and into the bag!

Happy baking!

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