Warning: this is a pretty time-consuming recipe.
For the cookies:
Two sticks of butter, softened
Half a cup sugar
Two cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Up to 2 tablespoons milk (you may not need any)
Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl.
Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed.
Next, the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk only as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky.
The dough should come together into a soft ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough seems sticky.
After I dumped the dough out, I smooshed it together with my hands and rolled it around a bit to get this shape.
Roll out the dough between sheets of parchment paper. I had to do it in two batches because I had a lot of dough and not a lot of counter space. Preheat oven to 350F. Using a cookie cutter or glass, cut out circles and transfer them to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. If you want, use a knife or straw or something to make holes in the middle. Or don't. I didn't. Ball up the scraps. re-roll them, and continue cutting circles until you've used all the dough.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are very lightly golden brown around the edges.
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, to allow them to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. You should have just used up about an hour. On the other hand, I could only bake one batch of cookies at a time. So if your oven can handle more than one, you'll significantly reduce your time.
If you need to take a break to eat or walk the dog or wash your hair, now's the time to do it.
For the topping:
Three cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
Twelve ounces chewy caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
Three tablespoons milk
Eight ounces dark, semisweet, or milk chocolate chips (I used milk)
(Note: because I only ended up with two dozen cookies, I only used 2 cups of coconut, and it was perfect.)
Preheat oven to 300F.
Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden.
Watch carefully, especially near the end of toasting time; the coconut toasts very quickly once it begins to become golden.
Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Unwrap the caramels and place in a medium microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt.
Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the caramel is melted and smooth. When it's smooth, fold in the toasted coconut with a spatula.
Using a knife or a frosting spatula, spread the topping on the cookies. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it begins to firm up. If you need another break, here's a good place for it. It'll take the caramel about twenty minutes to set, anyway.
When you're ready, melt the chocolate in a small bowl. You can use a double boiler, or do it in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. You can dip the bottom of each cookie in the chocolate, but that didn't work for me. I turned each cookie upside down and used a rubber spatula to sort of paint the bottoms with chocolate.
When all the bottoms were done, I transferred the leftover chocolate to a zip lock bag and put the cookies in the fridge for ten minutes to help the chocolate firm up.
After ten minutes, turn each cookie back on it's bottom (my chocolate wasn't completely set, but I dealt with it). Snip the tip off the corner of the bag and pipe the chocolate over the top. I put mine back in the fridge after that to let them finish setting.
Let each cookie set completely before storing in an airtight container.
Takes 2-3 hours
Makes 2-4 dozen