Girl Scout Cookies are here! I realized just how serious I was about desserts when I drove to a nearby middle school and as cookie moms were loading box after box into their trunks I asked for 2 Thin Mints and 2 Caramel deLites.
These cookies hold a special place in my heart. Not only do they bring back memories of my Brownie and Girl Scout days, but also my elementary school, Juliette Low, was named in honor of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low. Therefore, it is my duty to eat and bake with as many Girl Scout Cookies as possible.
I don’t care who disagrees with me, Caramel deLites are the best Girl Scout Cookie. They’re shortbread cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and drizzled with chocolate. I was told that they’ve changed names from Samoas to Caramel deLites back to Samoas. But they’re Caramel deLites to me.
Kara had a dinner party planned and we wanted to make cupcakes reminiscent of Caramel deLites. It was vital that we had these cookies. And oh my gosh was it worth the extra effort and embarassment in front of the cookie moms. The chocolate coconut cake was delicious and the caramel buttercream frosting was so good I ate it with a spoon, no cupcake needed. I know I said these were my favorite. Those are great, but these take the cake! This is our new go-to chocolate cupcake recipe, words really can’t describe how good they are. We did splurge and use the expensive cocoa and I think it was worth it.
Note: The caramel frosting needs about 2 hours of cooling time in the fridge…so plan ahead! We didn’t and the frosting was a bit runny. It was still the best frosting EVER, but it could have looked prettier. It may be wise to start with the frosting, or even do it a day in advance.
For the Cupcakes:
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
For the Caramel Buttercream:
2 ½ cups light brown sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream, (put 2-3 tablespoons aside)
½ teaspoon baking soda
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Makes 2 dozen standard cupcakes or 4-5 dozen minis
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with liners.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, and add vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and milk. Start and end with the flour mixture, continue to mix until smooth. Stir in coconut.
Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (bake 10-13 minutes for minis). Let the cupcakes cool for 5-10 minutes then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely
To make the frosting, bring sugar and cream to a rolling boil using a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan. Boil for one minute. Add baking soda, and boil another minute. Remove from heat. Add the butter but do not stir. Let the mixture cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours. As tempting as it is to stir make sure the mixture is completely cool first. It will look like a thick gummy caramel paste.
Pour mixture into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat well. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat for a few minutes until the consistency is creamy.
Decorate with crushed Caramel deLites, coconut, or ½ a Caramel deLite cookie…or all!
Source: adapted from Life in a Peanut Shell