Thursday, March 11, 2010

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies Tagalongs

Dear Girl Scouts
What happened to your cookies? They used to be good. And I mean really good. I looked forward to them once a year knowing that I could only get them from you ( well until someone told me that those darn Keebler elves were making something similar to a thin mint but I never went THERE because I was faithful to the Girl Scouts) until recently. It seems each year the boxes get smaller, the cookies get smaller, there are less in a box and the price keeps going up 50 cents each year AND the taste has declined terribly. I tried a Tagalong aka Peanut Butter patty this year and it was, well, terrible. Tasted bland, chemically and just not good. I stumbled across a site a few weeks ago, Baking Bites, which has become a favorite blog to stalk when WHAT WAS THIS???  I saw on the side of the page.. Could it be? Is it? HOMEMADE Girl Scout cookies??  I immediately forwarded the info to several baking addict friends of mine and printed out all the recipes for my self as well. One friend made the Thin Mints and Samoas first and with much success said they tasted WAY better than the real thing. I think she has since made the others but not totally sure. So my first recipe to make was the Tagalongs. Easy to make? Sure. Time consuming process with all the steps? Yup but not if you spread out over several days like I did. Giant mess? oh yeah. Worth the effort? Absolutely. Way better than the real thing. Sorry Girl Scouts. I will donate money from now on but save the cookies for someone else.

I had some trial and error with shape and size since these cookies didn't spread much during baking. I have several circle cutters but shaping into rounds and flattening seemed to work best.

Once out of the oven you make a small indent for the peanut butter filling. See some are bigger some smaller. I made even smaller ones but those didn't make it into the picture. I joked that I made the progression of the sizes of Girl Scout cookies over the years in one batch. Ha ha

Making the filling. I just made my normal peanut butter frosting recipe. Because its THAT good and I could always use the leftovers for cupcakes later. Which I intend on doing so soon.

I loaded them up with the peanut butter filling. I used a piping bag filled with the good stuff and no piping tip. Made for somewhat even blobs

This part was out of control messy. No easy way to dip a cookie in chocolate without getting it allllllll over the place. And then having to cover back up the finger marks from holding it. I said I needed a conveyor belt with one of those machines that evenly distributed the chocolate but then again that would require a MUCH bigger kitchen and I don't make many chocolate dipped cookies. Well until I make the thin mints soon.
Cooling on wax paper. Not the neatest of cookies but OMG soo good. Rich so one or two was satisfying.

YUM! And yes those are my teeth marks!!

Homemade Girl Scout Cookie Tagalongs 
Recipe completely copied from Baking Bites

Homemade Tagalongs (a.k.a. Peanut Butter Patties)
Cookies
1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk. The dough should come together into a soft ball.
Take a tablespoon full of dough and flatten it into a disc about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Cookies will not spread too much, so you can squeeze them in more than you would for chocolate chip cookies. (Alternatively, you can use a cookie cutter, as described in the post above).
Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, until bottoms and the edges are lightly browned and cookies are set.
Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use your thumb or a small spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Filling
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (natural or regular)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar*
generous pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 8-oz semisweet chocolate
In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla. When the mixture has come together, heat it in the microwave (again in short intervals, stirring frequently), until it is very, very soft. Working carefully with the hot filling, transfer it to a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the tip cut off) and pipe a generous dome of the filling into each cookie’s “thumbprint”.
Chill cookies with filling for 20-30 minutes, or until the peanut butter is firm.
Melt the chocolate in a small, heat-resistant bowl. This can be done in a microwave (with frequent stirring) or on a double boiler, but the bowl of melted chocolate should ultimately be placed above a pan of hot, but not boiling, water to keep it fluid while you work.
Dip chilled cookies into chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on a sheet of parchment paper to let the cookies set up. The setting process can be accelerated by putting the cookies into the refrigerator once they have been coated.
Makes about 3-dozen
*You might need slightly less sugar if you’re using the conventional peanut butter, as it tends to be a bit sweeter. Taste the filling before using to make sure you like the sweet/savory balance.



MY NOTES on the recipe
Keep the chocolate in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of hot water to keep it fluid. Easier to dip in the chocolate and keep the chocolate from being TOO thick. Also you can add a little canola oil to the chocolate to thin it out too.
If the filling is too thick to spread add a few tablespoons of whipping cream to thin it a little. It will still be really thick but easier to pipe out.


7 comments:

  1. Amazing! Way to go! This is a great recipe! They look and sound delicious! I love those Girl Scout cookies and will have to try this! Thanks!

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  2. Tagalongs are the reason I used to order Girl Scout cookies, but hadn't in a year or 2 for the reasons you mentioned. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I have to try and make these!!!

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  3. These came out wonderful. I absolutely love them.

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  5. I'm lovin' this whole blog. I'm definitely the cupcake manic here at KAF. One good tip I learned about dipping in chocolate is to take a plastic fork and break out the center tines so that you only have the 2 outermost tines left. It makes a great, wide dipping fork!

    Thanks for sharing your great recipes and pics. I'm hooked!

    MaryJane @ King Arthur Flour

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  6. Thanks for the awesome tip MaryJane!! I made a HUGE mess but they tasted soo good it made up for it!!

    Shanna

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  7. Hi,
    I love your blog and have copied tons of your recipes hoping to try baking your recipes (hopefully my parents won't get mad). I just turned 12-years-old on May 4th. I'm also a Girl Scout Cadette and I'm sorry the Girl Scout cookies started tasting bad. I don't eat very many cookies considering I have a horrible sweet tooth. Our Troop has been trying to do something about the prices,sizes,and tastes of our cookies. I hope our Troop will be listened to and considered. Again I'm sorry about the cookies.,
    Veronica Troop 321
    Garden Grove, California

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