February and March mean that spring is almost here, but they also mean that it is what used to be my favorite time of the year: Girl Scout Cookie Season. I am not alone. I meet very few people who were raised vegan all their lives, so most vegans that I have talked to in the past couple of weeks have, like me, fond memories of Girl Scout cookies. These delectable little treats are loaded with sugar and fat and peddled by adorable little girls in uniforms. Make no mistake though, these girls are ruthless in their pursuit of a sale. Besides fund raising, the primary reason for selling cookies to to teach Girl Scouts entrepreneurship and business savvy. Think about that the next time you get puppy dog eyes outside of the grocery store. I bought 3 boxes this year, and promptly disposed of them by opening them during a morning stand-up meeting. There is nothing like a sugar rush at 10 oclock in the morning. The next few days, though, were the toughest. Everywhere I went, people had boxes of cookies out on their desks. It took a great deal of willpower, but I managed to resist. Still, I had cookie fever and I had it bad. But, I had a fantastic idea for my next baking project.

From the producers who brought you Blueberry Bread Bake-off, Christmas Cookie Extravaganza, and Pancake Palooza, I am proud to present:
A Study in Grrrl Scout Cookies: Cruelty-free Versions of America’s Favorite Treats.

I tried 4 recipes. I ended up with 3 batches of delicious cookies and 1 batch that I royally screwed up. I will leave it up to the taste testers to decide which batches were which. I will be posting 1 recipe per day for the entire week, so check back often and while you are at it, click on some ads from my wonderful sponsors.

First up, we have my recipe for saFauxas, a new-age take on Samoas, which are vanilla cookies with a caramel and toasted coconut topping, drizzled in chocolate. Classic samoas are also dipped completely in chocolate on the bottom, but I stuck to chocolate on the top only, because I really think that much more would have been overwhelming.
Safauxa Bars
Crust
1/2c. organic brown sugar
1/2 c. applesauce
4 tbsp. earth balance
En-er-gee egg replacer for 1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 c. unbleached whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Caramel Layer
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsp soy milk
1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in water

1.5 c. shredded coconut

3 tbsp. soy milk
1/2 c. chocolate chips

  1. Cream together the applesauce and earth balance. Mix in the ener-g and vanilla. 
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt and then combine with the wet ingredients. Mix well. 
  3. Press dough into the bottom of a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 
  4. On a separate cookie sheet, spread your coconut in a thin layer and place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until it’s a dark golden brown.
  5. For the caramel: Take a small frying pan and  whisk together sugar and water until it boils. Then add vanilla and soymilk, stirring constantly. Continue to let it simmer until it darkens in color. Reduce heat and stir in cornstarch. Cook until it achieves your desired consistency (it should cling to the spoon when stirring).
  6. Spread the caramel over the cookie base while it is still warm. This is a good time to clean your pan because you do not want to be scraping off hardened caramel later. 
  7. Sprinkle coconut on top of the caramel layer.
  8. Melt chocolate chips and remaining soymilk and drizzle over the cookies. I used my stove over low heat, but you could also put it in a microwave for about 30 seconds.
  9. Let the caramel cool and then place the whole pan in the fridge for about an hour. Cut into bars and serve. 

40 bars at 87 calories/bar