Yesterday was my roommate’s birthday, so naturally I had to make her a dessert! This one was especially fun because I got to try something I wouldn’t normally make. She’s enjoyed the things I’ve made in the past, but beyond that, I wasn’t too sure about her dessert-y preferences. I ended up having to ask her what she likes (not my favorite way to find out, but what’re you gonna do?), so I learned I could make a pecan or walnut-based treat.
So, that was a decent start. A week before, me and our other roommate were going to make her conchas. Then we decided on coconut cream pie cupcakes — we were kind of unsure about that since we’ve never heard her even talk about liking something like that, but I bought some ingredients anyway. Then, once she said she likes pecan and walnut desserts, I did a little research. Right now, I’m more excited about pecans than walnuts. But when looking for inspo, the most popular treat I saw was, of course, pecan pie. Not a fan, but it’s not my birthday. Still, I wanted to do something a little more interesting.
I had found some cool pecan pie bar ideas, so I ran with that idea. Why not make some sort of pecan bar without being pecan pie? That’s when I remembered the coconut cream pie! I still had an unopened bag of shredded coconut that I could use here. But something was still missing. I tried to think about what other things we’ve talked about before, and I remembered trying to make her (and ultimately failing, oops) double chocolate walnut brownies. Chocolate!!! That was the missing piece I needed.
Because I was going to do a shortbread cookie base, I started thinking about cookies….which led to *drum roll please* …Samoas! Actually, Samoas are my least favorite of the Girl Scout cookies, but not gonna lie, they are the main inspiration behind this recipe. The key difference is the addition of pecans — I made a vegan caramel, added the pecans, and sprinkled some chocolate chips and coconut on top! This is definitely my favorite food collab so far. Not only was it exciting to figure out how I could use all of these flavors together, but it’s actually pretty freakin’ delicious. I might have to buy a box of Samoas next Girl Scout cookie season…
At the end of all this research and brainstorming, I made a sweet and salty twist to the Samoa that wasn’t overwhelmingly sugary (my primary concern). I really want to make these again around Thanksgiving time, but until then, I’m going to enjoy every last bit of these tasty bars.
Pecan Samoa Bars Recipe
Pecan Samoa Bars
- ¾ cup chilled butter cubed
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp soy milk
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- salt for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Mix flour, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl
- Cut butter into dry mixture until crumbly
- Press the mixture into a lined or greased 8×8 in. pan
- Bake for 15 minutes
- In a saucepan on medium heat, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, and soy milk. Let the mixture bubble for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat
- Mix in the butter until completely melted and mixture starts to thicken slightly
- Add the chopped pecans to the caramel and mix well
- Spread the caramel evenly over the baked shortbread
- Top with chocolate chips and shredded coconut. Bake for 10-15 more minutes
- Sprinkle salt over the top and let cool completely
- Cut into squares and enjoy!
- Even though the pecans added a nice crunch and flavor, this would still be so tasty with no nuts!
- Toasting the coconut on a dry pan before topping the bars is a good way to give some more nuttiness to the bars. I lightly toasted them before adding them to the bars, but I wanted more of an “uncooked” coconutty flavor and texture to mine. Both ways are so yummy.
- If shortbread isn’t your thing, a gingersnap crust would be super tasty and add a spicy touch to the sweeter dessert.