These bars are an easy-to-make copycat version of the coconut/caramel/chocolate/shortbread Girl Scout cookie that seem to come less and less to a box every year... maybe it's just me... I LOVE these cookies - I have been an addict since I was in the Girl Scouts at age 5, and upon first bite I knew these bars and I would have a long, loving relationship (when I'm not at the gym frantically trying to elliptical away the evidence of my coconut-caramel love affair). :) NOTE: Prep time includes cooling time.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- For the cookie base: Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
- Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand.
- Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the topping: Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt.
- Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
- Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread the topping in an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
- When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter.
- Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat it on high in the microwave in 45-second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching.
- Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of wax paper.
- Use remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) to drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
- Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.