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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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  • perioada fertila
    May 11, 2010

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

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

  • Madi
    May 15, 2010

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

  • IgqUtI
    May 17, 2010


  • Brother TN-7600
    May 18, 2010

    Looks very delicious.

  • soutien scolaire
    May 19, 2010

    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.

  • expedia cxoupon
    May 20, 2010

    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.

  • download jonah hex
    May 21, 2010

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

  • download toy story 3
    May 21, 2010

    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.

  • sbs
    May 23, 2010

    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.

  • markus
    May 30, 2010

    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.

  • Jennifer
    June 27, 2010

    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.

  • Ashton
    July 5, 2010

    Wow! Samoas are my absolute favorite Girl Scout cookie. This recipe is amazing and better than the real thing. Thanks for recipe, and thanks for not making it very confusing. I give this recipe 5 stars!!!! 🙂

  • Christine Davis
    August 13, 2010

    I just made these cookies, but I cheated and bought Keebler’s Shortbread cookies due to my time schedule and heat factor.
    I dipped the bottoms into dark chocolate that I melted from little discs that I bought. Then I went ahead and finished the recipe for the topping the way it said. I think mine look better and taste better then Girl Scouts cookies do any day!!!!

  • Jamie
    August 16, 2010

    The thin mints are my favorite. They are wonderfull.

  • jamie arnett
    September 2, 2010

    hi, could someone help me out? i made this recipe, and i added enough flour to keep it from being sticky, but the dough spread everywhere! any advice would be great! 🙂 they were still good, although i couldnt frost them due to the fragile state they were in.

  • Meeeh
    October 4, 2010

    Heyy! great pics—they look professionally taken–and the cookies even yummier!– and the cookies look delicious!

  • War Kitty
    October 5, 2010

    So did the caramel on your cookies turn out rock solid? T-T Mine did…what did I do wrong? =(

  • Jay
    October 8, 2010

    The thin mints are my favorite as well 🙂

  • Toms Bike Corner, Rosenheim
    October 21, 2010

    This cookie really looks awesome. I will definitly try the receipt at home.
    Cheers Tom from Toms Bike Corner, Rosenheim

  • Juegos
    November 3, 2010

    Hi Nicole, the cookies looks very good…yummy.

  • Erin
    November 5, 2010

    I just made these and not sure how i messed them up. The chocolate would not melt, i used semi sweet. Then i tried adding some 1/2 & 1/2 to hit to help it from clumping. The caramel was falling off the cookies too. Any suggestions?

  • steve
    November 13, 2010

    Just made these cookies. They are amazing but you were not kidding about being time consuming. the best part is that my fiancée, who has peanut and tree nut allergies and cannot have girl scout cookies, loved them. It was her first time having something of the sort in half a decade. I love your site and I love that you have provided us with the opportunity to have “girl scout” cookies again.

  • Alyssa
    December 8, 2010

    just finished these cookies about 10 minutes ago, they are wonderful! EXCEPT i cheated a little.. instead of rolling them out and cutting them, i rolled into balls and pressed lightly on the center (with a round object before they went in the oven and right as they came out- again.) i then made my coconut/caramel mixture and when my cookies were done i put the mixture in the center of the cookies and drizzled chocolate as per the recipe. this made a nice and firm stable cookie and i did not dip the bottoms in chocolate. thanks for the recipe!!

  • Aunt Bethany
    December 14, 2010

    These look amazing! I can’t wait to try them out…happy holidays!

  • Britta
    January 30, 2011

    I just finished making these cookies. The caramel doesn’t stick though. =(

  • A Bowl Of Mush
    February 14, 2011

    Wow! These are my favooorite cookies! I have to try these!

  • salwar suit
    February 15, 2011

    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.

  • Phillip
    February 18, 2011

    I think it might be toasted coconut but either way they are delicious

  • Emily
    February 25, 2011

    I used bark chocolate. It was way easier to work with. The cookies have to be completely cooled before you start dipping and putting the Carmel and coconut topping on. Like it says it’s time consuming and you have to be patient.

  • In Katrina's Kitchen
    February 27, 2011

    I made your recipe and posted it on my blog this week. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe! 🙂 ♥-Katrina

  • Shelly
    February 27, 2011

    I made these and they were very good. Everyone at work enjoyed them. They have asked me to make the Tag-Alongs next. Hope they come out as good as the Samoas!

  • Talia
    March 20, 2011

    I could KISS YOU! This recipe was so easy. I love making my own caramel so I spent the few hours doing that, and these cookies are THE BEST THING EVER!!! These are my favourite, and my step dads (whose samoas i ate quite a few) so im bringing him a batch. Thanks for posting this! WONDERFUL!

  • ChocolateCentral
    March 21, 2011

    I’ve been dreaming of a recipe such as this, but never imagined I could find one. Now, that I’m a chocolate blogger and enjoy reading other blogs, I happened to have the good fortune to come across your blog and your homemade Samoa recipe! Yay! I was a girlscout back in the day and these still remain my favorite girlscout cookies – love that your recipe is a healthier version. Since I’ve been living in Mexico the last 5 years I’ve had to go without, that is until now. Thank you!

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