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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)
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!

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362 Comments
  • Angelina
    March 11, 2010

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

  • Electronic Cigarette
    March 11, 2010

    I can’t wait to make these at home. It’s gonna be the bomb.

    Your girl Mary 🙂

  • vicky
    March 15, 2010

    I didn’t eat it before but i will definitely try it now at home.
    I think its really delicious.

  • loni
    March 15, 2010

    omg i just order samoas amd i cant wait but now i can wait for the timer to ring a i get a chewing

  • Okey Oyna
    March 17, 2010

    I saw this recipe and thought it looked awesome and it is! It is a bit time consuming, but it was fun making it.

  • Leah
    March 17, 2010

    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.

    I also found out that if the recipe sounds too time consuming for anyone, its easy to make the base cookie first and then do the rest of it later.

    Also, instead of melting caramels down, I tried using the caramel topping from the ice cream aisle. That worked so well and shaved off about half an hour on prep time that I would recommend it to anyone.

    Great recipe. I’m sending these cookies to an apartment of boys still in college. They’ll probably really enjoy the girl scouts arriving at their door early!

  • Megan
    March 19, 2010

    Thank your useful links.

  • Megan
    March 19, 2010

    Thank your useful links.

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

  • oh.. you make me hungry,.. yummy

  • Fluoxetine
    March 23, 2010

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

  • Fluoxetine
    March 23, 2010

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

  • altin kizlar
    March 23, 2010

    nice blog

  • aile reisi
    March 23, 2010

    good idea

  • chat
    March 23, 2010

    thank you

  • dizi izle
    March 23, 2010

    dont worry nice blog

  • Panda
    March 25, 2010

    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.

  • Trinity
    March 25, 2010

    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.

  • Kristen
    March 27, 2010

    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!

  • Barbara
    March 29, 2010

    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.

  • Vuxenleksaker
    April 6, 2010

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

  • Kameralı Sohbet
    April 10, 2010

    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!

  • Almanya Sohbet
    April 10, 2010

    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.

  • Çet
    April 10, 2010

    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.

  • amberen
    April 11, 2010

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

  • clarisonic review
    April 12, 2010

    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!) 😛

  • blu ray ripper
    April 15, 2010

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

  • Hilary
    April 20, 2010

    Thank your useful links.

  • Hilary
    April 20, 2010

    Thank your useful links.

  • Tower 200
    April 21, 2010

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

  • shakti
    April 21, 2010

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

  • sohbet
    April 22, 2010

    it’s realy incredible

  • Consumer
    April 22, 2010

    Hi! Very good sait!

  • Consumer
    April 22, 2010

    Hi! Very good sait!

  • pariuri sportive
    April 23, 2010

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

  • acaros
    April 23, 2010

    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.

  • Deena K
    April 29, 2010

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

  • ps3 accessories
    April 30, 2010

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

  • i love girl scout cookies and these taste just like the ones i buy except i use more tlc 😉

  • pastry chef jobs
    April 30, 2010

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

  • cook careers
    April 30, 2010

    thanks for this

  • xenadrine
    May 3, 2010

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

  • dinamic soft
    May 5, 2010

    really nice… delicious

  • Thank your useful links. I find very interesting!

  • fitflops
    May 11, 2010

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

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