I used to challenge my younger sister to popsicle eating contests when we were kids.
"I bet I can eat my popsicle faster than you can!" I'd say, and she would totally buy it. Maura would risk a cold headache and chattering teeth to finish her popsicle first. Me? My intention was never to "win." I'd slurp mine as slowly as I could, enjoying every sweet, dripping lick I had left while Maura looked sadly on with nothing but an empty stick and a sticky face. I pretty much did it just to torture her.
If you ask her, I'm sure she's got plenty of similar stories about all the crummy things I did to her in our childhood, since I was older and had the advantage of experience and overactive imagination on my side. (Maura, I am really, really sorry that I tricked you into giving me your favorite troll doll. And also that I made you switch Popples with me because yours was way cuter).
Despite it all (don't worry, she gave as good as she got), my sister is one of my dearest friends and makes me laugh like no one else can. Her scathing wit and sharp insight make for the best phone conversations, her sense of style is impeccable and enviable, and she inspires me constantly with her creativity and perseverance. I am proud to have her in my life, as both a sister and a friend.
So when she requested homemade Girl Scout cookies for her birthday this year, I didn't bat an eyelash (I also totally kept several of them for myself).
2 Cups flour
1 cup of butter (softened)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and salt to form a dough. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough to roughly 1/8th of an inch and use cookie cutters or the rim of a glass to cut cookies into the traditional ringed shapes (Sprinkle counter liberally with powdered sugar to prevent sticking). Bake on parchment paper for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are just golden and tops are still pale. Let cool completely.
1 lb sweetened shredded coconut
1 stick butter
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast coconut until lightly golden brown, flipping several times to prevent burning.
Make a caramel sauce (CAUTION: SUGAR WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT!): Melt sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan over steady, medium-low heat--whisking constantly--until amber-colored. Add butter. When all the butter has melted remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream (the caramel will froth violently, just keep stirring).
Set aside 1/2 Cup of caramel sauce, and combine the rest with the toasted coconut.
Brush the tops of cooled cookies with caramel, then spread the caramel coconut mixture on top and allow to set completely. Melt some high-quality dark chocolate in a double-boiler and dip the bottom of each cookie in the melted chocolate. Pipe chocolate stripes across the top of the cookies with a piping bag or a ziploc with the corners cut off.
A very happy 26th birthday to my little sister, Maura. I hope the cookies were just want you wanted! I love you!