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Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas

Homemade Samoa, up close

Samoas, also known as Caramel de-Lites, have always been my favorite girl scout cookie (although I do enjoy Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs and Thin Mints). I’m not sure how they rank in the overall scheme of GS cookie popularity, but I will go so far as to say that I have never met someone who didn’t care for them at all – even people who say that they usually don’t like coconut. I think that the cookie is just a good and rather unique combination of flavors.

The Girl Scout bakeries describe Samoas as vanilla cookies dipped in caramel, topped with coconut and drizzled with chocolate. All good flavors, though I have to admit that I never tasted much vanilla in the cookies themselves, and so I used this description as a jumping off point for my version. I remember the cookies as being crisp and tender in the original, and selected a plain shortbread-like base for these. The cookie dough is very rich – by which I mean that it has a lot of butter – and is very easy to work with. The butter keeps it tender, so it won’t toughen up even after repeated rollings of the dough.

For the topping, I debated between using a from-scratch recipe like Chockylit‘s or a semi-homemade recipe like Debbie‘s. The from-scratch recipe sounded appealing, but I opted for the semi-homemade version because I had a ton of Werther’s Chewy Caramels around already. These particular caramels are nice because they’re made with real butter, sugar and cream (rather than using partially hydrogenated oils, as a number of other caramels do). Of course, you can use any similar chewy caramel that’s handy, I just recommend picking out one with the best ingredient list you can find. Different types of caramel will be sticker/harder than others, so be patient as you work with it. I did take Chockylit’s suggestion of toasting the coconut for bit of extra texture. I used dark chocolate for the dip and drizzle, and set each of the cookies on a piece of parchment paper after dunking them in the chocolate to let it set up in an even layer.

There are two ways to get the shape for these cookies. The first is to roll the dough out between pieces of wax paper and use a cookie cutter to make rounds, cutting the smaller center hole later. This technique works great and doesn’t take too long, especially as the dough can be rerolled a couple of times. The second technique calls for a special pan: a mini donut pan. If you have a pan like this, simply press some cookie dough into the tube and bake. The dough doesn’t rise much, giving you a nice flat side and a perfectly rounded one. Take your pick and go with what is convenient for you.

And since you’re all probably wondering, these cookies were absolutely fabulous. The cookies were tender and buttery, the topping was sweet with a delicious coconut flavor, and the dip of chocolate on the bottom of each cookie balanced all the flavors perfectly. Better than I even remember the Girl Scout cookies being. I could – but I won’t – probably eat an entire batch of these on my own.

Homemade Samoas

Homemade Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel de-Lites)
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
up to 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, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (it’s possible you might not need to add milk at all). The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.
Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or slightly less) and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat with remaining dough. Alternatively, use scant tablespoons of dough and press into an even layer in a mini donut pan to form the rounds.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. If using a mini donut pan, bake for only about 10 minutes, until edges are light gold.
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook 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.
Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with.

While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes about 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.

Note: These cookies are fairly time consuming to make, but if you take your time and have fun with them, the results will be worth it.  That said, if you want something a little bit quicker, try baking a batch of Samoas Bars instead, which require no rolling and cutting of the dough!

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  • Jessica "Su Good Sweets"
    February 7, 2008

    Thanks for the recipe! Samoas are my favorite Girl Scout cookies. I was going to try a homemade version with Chockylit’s topping, but you beat me to it. I’m going to save your Tagalong recipe too.

  • Mara
    February 8, 2008

    Made these last night and they are bliss. Thanks so much for the recipe! They are a bit of work but a couple of friends and I turned it in to a cookie making party (and then mercifully split up the results so no one of us would be tempted to eat the whole batch.) and it was a totally enjoyable evening. These are not just better than the real deal, they totally satisfy the craving for the boxed variety, which is not something most home made versions of terrifying boxed things do.

  • lila
    February 11, 2008


  • Ashley
    February 16, 2008

    As someone who counts down the days until cookie selling season by those adorable Girl Scouts I say “thank you , thank you, thank you!” for sharing this recipe!!

  • Karen
    February 26, 2008

    I made these over the weekend – overall they were excellent!! They are not a quick cookie, but I had fun making them. I confess to leaving out the center hole…it seemed like a lot of work for no reason other than keeping them true to the original samoas. I did find the caramel topping to be REALLY chewy…perhaps more than I would like. Maybe increasing the proportion of coconut would help, or perhaps making my own caramel per chockylit’s recipe? I also would love some better instructions on how to dip the base of the cookies…it was a bit messy! But I still loved the version I made and will absolutely put this in my recipe binder and make these again. So much better than the box version with all sorts of preservatives. Awesome job with this recipe!

  • Ldylvbgr
    February 27, 2008

    Yum, my favorite one of theirs, and a whole lot cheaper! I wonder if you could so these in a bar form?

  • CJ
    February 28, 2008

    Great to see another recipe like this online. I’ve been making homemade samoas for years. First I find that dipping the bottoms in chocolate before adding the caramel coconut topping is much less messy. But, the biggest difference when I make them is that I don’t put all that time into rolling and cutting the cookies. If you have a spritz press at home with spritz butter or even sugar cookie recipe, these are even simpler to make. And simpler means you get to eat them sooner!

  • bOo?
    March 2, 2008

    OMG…. I have a box of those samoas from those girl scouts, and they’re so freakin good, and when I saw the recipe and how I could potentially make samoas myself, I almost drooled on my labtop….

  • Shopping Cart Software
    March 6, 2008

    OMG I have always wanted to know how to make those girl scout cookies! 🙂 Thank you very much for the info. I will make some tommorow morning.

  • Shoes & Chocolate
    March 10, 2008

    Made these over the weekend, and they were divine! They did take a while but were fun to make. I used a cookie press instead of a rolling pin and cookie cutter, but I stuck to this recipe for batter (no milk). The cookies by themselves were terrific, too!

    I love the bar idea–that would cut the prep time way down.

    I’ve added this to my recipe binder and will definitely be making them again…soon!

  • Shoes & Chocolate
    March 10, 2008

    Made these over the weekend, and they were divine! They did take a while but were fun to make. I used a cookie press instead of a rolling pin and cookie cutter, but I stuck to this recipe for batter (no milk). The cookies by themselves were terrific, too!

    I love the bar idea–that would cut the prep time way down.

    I’ve added this to my recipe binder and will definitely be making them again…soon!

  • Shoes & Chocolate
    March 10, 2008

    Oh, and as for spreading the caramel onto the cookies: I used two popsicle sticks, which worked like a charm. If the caramel mixture is too thin to stay put, add a little more toasted coconut. Mine behaved very well!

  • LauraHelen
    March 27, 2008

    These are amazing! I made them after a disappointing batch of girl scout cookies (they were stale or the chocolate was just too fake or something…) They tasted better than the originals and were not hard to make at all! Delicious!!!

  • Foodaholic
    April 8, 2008

    Those look amazing! Nice job. I can’t wait to try making them.

  • Pixie
    April 10, 2008

    I know this is like an ancient post but thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Living overseas, and being a former g.s. I love samoas and now I can bake them for myself (VERY SOON). I just received a lovely box of samoas from, sticky gooey creamy chewy and they’re now almost gone!

  • Niall Harbison
    April 17, 2008

    Hi there,

    I just stumbled accross your blog by using stumbleupon and love the design of the whole thing! I normally skip straight past food blogs as I have over 20 in my RSS and dont even have enough time to read the ones that I have! I am started out as a blogger myself and always tried to keep the design simple like yours as I think it is crucial, especially if you can back it up with some nice food pics like yours! Keep up the good work and if you feel like sharing some of the photos with other foodies pop over to http://www.ifoods.tv which is my new site for foodies! Cheers!

  • marissa
    May 3, 2008

    I was wondering if it would be possible to use the carmel that is used for sundae tops instead of the chewy caramels for the topping?

  • Nicole
    May 3, 2008

    Marissa – No, the sundae topping won’t work here because it is a liquid at room temperature and, unless you are going to eat the cookies quickly and don’t mind them being gooey, the sundae topping won’t “set” like the wrapped caramels do.

  • Maria
    May 26, 2008

    I really like to eat great home cook recipes. This looks perfect on the picture, and I’m sure is really tasty. I have to try it. Thanks for great recipe.

  • Imajackson
    June 21, 2008

    MAKE THESE AS A BAR! They are so simple- just as easy to dip in chocolate afterward. Although, make sure you cut the bars before the coconut/carmel mix is done. I,too, added 1/2 cup less of the corn syrup, and only added about 3 cups of coconut. I also doubled the batch. If I had cooked the carmel after I had cut the cookies into bars, it would have been easier to put it on the cookies. It wasn’t hard, but it did get a little bit stiff at the end. Enjoy the cookies, they are AMAZING!

  • RPO
    June 25, 2008

    I agree! as a bar these would be delicious!

  • Judith
    August 2, 2008

    Thank you SO much! I just came across your GS cookie recipes from Chocolate Moosey and I’m thrilled. I moved a year ago to Iowa, and discovered that unlike my beloved East Coast Girl Scout cookies, these things are *horrible*. It isn’t just the names that change, it’s the taste. Blech. I’ll definitely be making my own!

  • RPO
    August 4, 2008

    Samoas are my favorite! No longer will I pay 6 bucks to buy them. I will make them!!!

  • Nanette
    August 30, 2008

    HOLY COW!!! I’m a HUGE fan of Tagalong and Samoa Girl Scout Cookies and this tops it! They are absolutely amazing! The only thing I did differently for both cookies is I used a store bought shortbread cookie that the bottom was already dipped in chocolate! It’s a HUGE time saver if you have children and are always on the go. Love them!

  • grill accessories
    September 10, 2008

    Wow, these look good. This is my favorite Girl Scout Cookie, but your look better because they look like they would be chewier. Is that true?

    After making these, I might have to have my 3 year old son go door to door selling them…;)

  • Emily
    September 14, 2008

    I made these last night and really enjoyed them. I wasn’t prepared for how long it would take- I made my own carmel so that added to the cooking time, all together it took 3 1/2 hours to make them. I also dipped the cookies in chocolate before topping with carmel- much easier. Thanks!

  • Deborah Dowd
    September 28, 2008

    The only saving grace of these GS cookies is that they are available for a limited time. Now you show me I can make my own?!
    I really do not have that much self-control. Thanks for a great post (I think!)

  • Kelli@GohnCrazy
    October 4, 2008

    These are hands down my favorite Girl Scout Cookies. Thank you so much for sharing this. They look divine. I must give them a try soon….very soon.

  • Sandy
    January 4, 2009

    I adore these Girl Scout cookies and now I can enjoy them all year.
    Thank you for sharing!!

  • Emily
    January 4, 2009

    Samoas are my absolute favorite GS cookie!

  • Sara
    January 10, 2009

    These are my favorite Girl Scout cookies but I don’t know any Girl Scouts anymore. I will definitely be making these soon.

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