Mid-February is a drab time of year. The weather is cold and rainy most days (at least where I live), and it seems spring is still many months away. What is a bright, shining spot in these seasonal doldrums? Girl Scout cookies, of course!
Girl Scouts in 2018 seem much more intrepid than when I was younger. I remember feeling rather ambivalent when selling these cookies door-to-door, red wagon in tow. As long as I could eat a few myself, I didn’t really care how many boxes I sold. Nowadays, scouts post up directly outside of D.C. Metro stations; what perfect places to snag tired customers coming home from work! Don’t get me started on the genius of these scouts in Colorado.
I love the challenge of remaking classically “unhealthy” treats in a plant-based way. I thought about just baking cookies themselves, but let’s face it, donuts > cookies every time.
Coconut + caramel + chocolate? Yes please!
Let’s talk about this caramel. There is only one key ingredient needed to make the BEST vegan caramel–dates! They really are a wonder fruit. Food processed with a little vanilla and sea salt, they blend up into a creamy sauce perfect for dipping or spreading. I tested this method with raisins as well, and those worked too! Because living that Mejool life can get expensive.
Toasting the coconut helps bring out it’s nutty texture, so be sure not to skip this step. This recipe may look involved, but I promise it’s relatively simple. The hardest part is waiting for individual elements to cool.
I hope you enjoy my take on Samoas! Be sure to tag @garlic_head on Instagram so I can see your lovely creations. Also, please comment if you have another GS-inspired donut recipe you’d like to see. Maybe Thin Mints? Tagalongs? What’s your favorite?
For vanilla donut base (makes 6):
- 1 cup flour of choice (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 Gluten Free)
- 1 TBS ground flax seed + 3 TBS water, combined and set aside
- 6 TBS granulated sweetener of choice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 TBS liquid coconut oil
- 20 pitted dates, or 3/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pinch sea salt
- Water to thin
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips, divided
- 3 cups desiccated coconut
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and lightly oil a 6-cavity donut pan. Set aside.
- Combine all base ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until just blended. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until firm. Remove from oven and let entire pan cool on a wire rack.
- While donuts are cooling, in a shallow bowl melt 3/4 cup of chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second increments. Dip the bottoms of each (now cooled) donut into melted chocolate. Let cool upside down on wire rack, until hardened.
- Caramel time! Blend drained dates/raisins in a food processor for a few minutes, until a smooth paste forms. Add salt, vanilla, and water to thin. You shouldn’t need more than a few tablespoons. Pour this mixture into a small saucepan over low heat and cook until slightly thickened. Mine took about 7 minutes.
- While this is cooking, spread coconut pieces on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven (still heated at 325) for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. They should be browned slightly but not burnt. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Add toasted coconut into caramel mixture, incorporating entirely.
- Your caramel + coconut mixture should be rather pliable. Spread generously on top of each donut. You may have topping left over!
- Finally, melt remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and drizzle on top of each donut in a zigzag fashion. These treats are best stored in the fridge and most enjoyed when eaten with friends–Scout’s honor!