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)
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
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.

Topping
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!

362 comments

  1. Thank your useful links.

  2. I love cookies.. especially a home-made cookies…

  3. Hi, its good site! I have found here useful information.
    Thank you!

  4. Hi, its good site! I have found here useful information.
    Thank you!

  5. cookies did not turn out like the samoa cookies. The caramel was too hard and the coconut did not taste right. cookie did not have the same consistency as the real thing.

  6. I read that someone wanted ot know how to keep the chocolate at room temp. if you add shortening or butter to the chocolate it helps. i beieve it is 2 tbs shortening for about 9 oz. chocolate. you can use butter for a fudgier texture….look on the thin mints dipping chocolate recipe for that.

  7. Thank you thank you thank you! I won’t buy these from the Girl Scouts because they are filled with toxic ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. I’d much rather make them myself. Thanks again!

  8. I followed your recipe (using 1 Tbsp of milk for the dough instead of 2) last night, and the cookies turned out great! I accidentally put too much caramel/coconut mixture on each cookie, but they’re still great tasting! It was VERY time consuming to make. I had to melt the caramel and chocolate in double boilers because I don’t own a microwave, and the caramel was difficult to work with (both melting and putting on the cookie). If I make these cookies again, I’ll need to recruit a helper to cut down on time.

  9. THanx alot ! I made this last weekend and they ended up just great and soo tasty=) Take care!

  10. Thank you thank you thank you! I won’t buy these from the Girl Scouts because they are filled with toxic ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. I’d much rather make them myself. Thanks again!

  11. So I took on these cookies and I’m so excited I did! I did tweek the recipe a little. One tbsp of milk was all I needed to get the consistency needed in the shortbread. I think if anyone is having problems with the cookie dough being too wet its because the milk is making it that way.

  12. So I took on these cookies and I’m so excited I did! I did tweek the recipe a little. One tbsp of milk was all I needed to get the consistency needed in the shortbread. I think if anyone is having problems with the cookie dough being too wet its because the milk is making it that way.

  13. These Samoas taste absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for the recipe my children love these things and can’t stop eating them!

  14. I’m so glad I got off the couch and baked these this morning! They taste amazing and I can hardly stop myself eating them (they are meant to be for my guests!) :P

  15. I read your article.The things you have written sound very sincere and nice topics i am looking forward to its continuation.

  16. Thank your useful links.

  17. Thank your useful links.

  18. omg! These and the peanut butter ones are my favorite! I’m going to make these tomorrow:)

  19. Thanks for the tips. Now i will definitely try it to my restaurant today. Hope our customers like it a lot.

  20. it’s realy incredible

  21. well worth the read. thank you very much for taking the time to share with those who are starting on the subject. greetings

  22. I read that someone wanted ot know how to keep the chocolate at room temp. if you add shortening or butter to the chocolate it helps. i beieve it is 2 tbs shortening for about 9 oz. chocolate. you can use butter for a fudgier texture….look on the thin mints dipping chocolate recipe for that.

  23. Jus looks great, cant wait to bake some and try them out…

  24. this is a great recipe do you have any browny recipes that actually come out soft and chewy?

  25. i love girl scout cookies and these taste just like the ones i buy except i use more tlc ;-)

  26. these are very good and its coming from an apprentice pastry chef

  27. They taste absolutely superb. I better not eat too many!

  28. really nice… delicious

  29. Thank your useful links. I find very interesting!

  30. delicious… I followed your recipe and I made excellent shape cookies.
    Thank you!

  31. good article,it looks nice the cake in there,I will talk to my girlfriend to do also this cake.

  32. Every week we used to make cookies in home which is the best of taste other than buying from shop..

  33. I am going to try this and see how it turns out!
    Wish me luck.

  34. I’m pissed off now, I wish there were som girl scouts where I live to sell me some cookies. I guess I’d better go and make some of my own. Sigh.

  35. Of course, I expect to leave any day, when the Hopkins Park Plaza opens up. There’s 10 an hour and the hours are nine in the morning till “whenever,” which I am hoping can be defined as a little before two. The room itself, just down the hall from the “kitchen,” is half the size of my little outpost in Motel 6 and contains two unmade twin beds, a two-drawer chest, a couple of light bulbs on the ceiling, and nothing else.

  36. I am going to try this and see how it turns out!
    Wish me luck.

  37. There’s 10 an hour and the hours are nine in the morning till “whenever,” which I am hoping can be defined as a little before two.

  38. I found this informative and interesting blog so i think so its very useful and knowledge able.I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me.

  39. These were out of sight. They were rich and chewy, and better than the Girl Scout version. I made the bar variation instead of the cookies. The recipe was easy to follow, but I advise spreading the caramel/coconut topping while warm and with lightly floured fingers. Using floured fingers helped me spread the filling to the edges more easily than using an offset spatula. This recipe will definitely stay in my files for family weekends and Christmas giving.

  40. Thank you for this recipe!! I love making “prepared” foods from scratch (at least I know what is in them) and this was perfect. I made them yesterday and put them in the refrigerator (we like our Samoas cold) and this morning they taste like heaven.

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