Happy Halloweekend! I know we’re excited about the here-and-now holiday, but I want to throw it back for just a second.
Long, long ago, in the fabulous, fabled era of the nineteen-nineties, I was a young girl who had a vast and varied collection of beanie babies, a stockpile of gel pens, a dozen audio cassettes, three Lisa Frank folders, two tamagotchis, and dial-up internet in a pear tree. But I did not have one thing the other kids had: a massive sweet-tooth.
Yep, I was a freak-of-nature elementary schooler who could not care less about the ice cream truck song playing down the street, or digging into birthday cakes, or even Dunkaroos.
It’s sickening and perverse, I know. I’m sorry.
However, there were two times each year that the inner sugar-monster in me emerged with a hunger for high fructose corn syrup: Girl Scout Cookie Season and Halloween. Nothing could make mini-Morgan as giddy as she was when she had a package of those perfect cookies to tear through, or a pillow case full of free candy. I mean, how could even the staunchest of “salty over sweet” supporters resist either scenario? (They can’t.)
The only thing I can imagine that I would have liked more would be, you know, combining the two. Whiiiiich conveniently brings me to these lovely little morsels of pure joy: Nutella Pumpkin Samoa Cookies.
These Nutella Pumpkin Samoa Cookies are so flawlessly Fall-flavored thanks to a pumpkin-spice loaded, pumpkin-puree based, crisp and buttery shortbread cookie on the bottom. Even after it is smothered in chewy, caramel-covered toasted coconut, and topped with a nutella-chocolate drizzle, that pumpkiny flavor still shines through in the greatest way. As James put it, “These are a million times better than the Girl Scout Cookies, but they still make me feel like I’m eating Girl Scout Cookies.”
All of the nostalgia, but with some serious flavor enhancement.
Make these Nutella Pumpkin Samoa Cookies as Halloween treats, Thanksgiving snacks, for the Christmas cookie exchange, or just for your own cookie nibblin’ enjoyment. You’ll be so glad you did. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take a picture and post it on Instagram with #hostthetoast. That way, it’ll show up on the You Made It page.
You know how much I love the You Made It page.
Adapted from Just A Taste
For the Pumpkin Shortbread:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup 100% pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Caramel Coconut:
- 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 15 ounces soft caramels
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Nutella-Chocolate Drizzle:
- ½ cup nutella
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder.
- In a large, separate bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar together until creamy. Add in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract beat until well-combined. Pour in the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated, making sure not to overmix.
- Divide the dough into two halves and press them into two disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- When the dough firms up, roll each disk out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out as many cookies as possible with a round cookie cutter, and then use a smaller cookie cutter (or spice cap) to remove the dough from the centers of the cookies, making a doughnut-like shape. Transfer the cut-out cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough until no dough remains.
- Bake the cookies until they turn a light gold, about 12 minutes, rotating half-way through. Transfer the cookies to a wire wrack to cool completely.
- As the cookies cool, prepare the coconut topping. Spread the coconut flakes evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure that the coconut toasts evenly. Set aside.
- Add the caramels, milk and salt to a large, microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and then continue to microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the caramel is melted and smooth. Let the caramel cool slightly and spread a thin layer of caramel on top of each cookie.
- Add the toasted coconut to the remaining caramel and mix well. Gently press the coconut-caramel mixture on top of all of the cookies.
- In another microwave-safe bowl, combine the nutella, chocolate chips, and milk. Microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in-between, until the chocolate is smooth. Make sure not to over-cook it or it will get grainy.
- Whisk the confectioner’s sugar into the nutella mixture to thicken it. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in the nutella mixture and place on wax paper to set. Drizzle the remaining nutella mixture over the tops of the cookies using a squeeze bottle or fork. Let set completely before serving or storing.
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