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Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas Bars

Samoas Bars, stacked

I love the look of the original Samoas Girl Scout Cookies, but making them from scratch can be a little bit time consuming. This is largely because the dough must be rolled out, cut out and then each of the cookies has to be handled individually for topping. The results are well worth it, in my opinion, but we don’t always have time to make a labor-intensive recipe – no matter how bad a craving for Girl Scout cookies gets.

Bar cookies are the perfect solution.

This is basically a shortcut recipe that still delivers all the great samoas flavor without some of the more tedious parts of cooking making. These bars have a buttery shortbread base that is topped with the caramel-coconut samoas topping and chocolate. It is made in three stages. First, the shortbread is baked and cooled. Then, the coconut topping is applied. Put the coconut on while it is hot, so it will be fairly easy to push it around. It’s a thick mixture, but a spatula is all you need to press it into an even layer. The bars should be cut after the topping has been applied, and even though the shortbread has a melt-in-your mouth quality to it, the topping holds the bars together well. I recommend using a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice up the bars easily and neatly; small knives don’t work quite as well.

The final step is to dip these in chocolate once the topping has set. Since samoas have chocolate on the bottom and a chocolate drizzle on top, I kept that same look for my bar cookies. If you want something a bit simpler, just dip half that bars in chocolate – or skip the dipping in favor of a drizzle. The important thing is that all the flavors get into the batch. And that you have some friends to share these with, because they can be quite addictive.

Samoas Bars

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 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.
Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
Once bars are cut, 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 bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

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  • jmacheljordan
    August 1, 2009

    wow. nice looking, thanks for sharing, we will try it a.s.a.p.

  • Coafuri mirese
    September 15, 2009

    his recipe was great. I omitted the cocoa powder, as the cookies I sold in the 80’s were white on the inside. Dough sliced easily. I added more extract to the dough, and added extract to the melted chocolate. Served at a party last night and they disappeared within minutes.

  • Wendi
    October 3, 2009

    I made these and they were the bomb.

  • Steph
    October 11, 2009

    I love the shortbread/caramel/coconut combo, these were a definite hit.

  • Used BMW M3
    October 12, 2009

    I’m making these with my sister on thanksgiving, thanks. That’s a good tip about drizzling the chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up. Great looking recipe … can’t wait!

  • Cartuse imprimanta
    November 4, 2009

    Wow… such a good idea! And I guess I’m in the minority, but tagalongs are totally my favorite!

  • Tracy
    November 11, 2009

    Love this recipe but found the dipping to be time consuming and the cookie layer didn’t take the handling too well. My solution? As soon as you take the shortbread out of the oven, spread the chocolote bits over the entire surface and allow it to melt. Cut into bars and allow to chocolate to set. Once chocolate has set, remove bars and place together tightly- CHOCOLATE SIDE DOWN from pan and top with the carmel/coconut mixture.

  • CasinoClub
    November 12, 2009

    hose Samoa bars look even better than their Girl Scout counterparts–and I love their Girl Scout counterparts. Your blog is just wonderful, and I always look forward to seeing your new posts! Cannot wait to make these little treasures.

  • Catt
    November 19, 2009

    These are beautiful. Thank you so much for your effort to provide two wondrous recipes that satisfy our Girl Scout cookie cravings all year long. The photos are brilliant BTW. Thanks again! I think this recipe can smooth over even the worst of family disputes. My son is SO excited!

  • Catt
    November 20, 2009

    Update on the yummy bars: I cut them up into even smaller squares and packed them up for my hubby to take to work. They have gotten amazing reviews. About 50 web designers are going to be on your website this weekend digging up the recipe. Thanks so much!

  • Dorothy
    January 9, 2010

    I just tried these, and mine didn’t turn out right. They LOOK like yours, but they taste horrible. The caramel was, too salty, and even w/out that, it still wouldn’t have tasted right. I think I should have used sweet chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet (disgusting). Tears 🙁

    Maybe one day I will learn how to bake/cook…lol Thanks for the recipe though, I will get a more SEASONED baker to try to fix these for me 🙂

  • enerly-online
    March 5, 2010

    lo que yo queria, gracias

  • Anonymous
    March 9, 2010

    I have a questions…I loved this recipe, but everytime that I try and bake something that I have to dip in chocolate, the chocolate ends up being to heavy and thick to make it work. For example, when I made the Samoa Bars and dipped them, the shortbread part fell apart in the chocolate and it looked ugly, so I just put a little chocolate on top. Another time I tried to make cake pops and once I added the chocolate the cake part slid off the pop. What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions?

  • Electronic Cigarette
    March 12, 2010

    The picture makes it look soooo goooood.

    Your girl Mary 🙂

  • Steph
    March 13, 2010

    these need some tweaking. i tried the recipe and will not be making again. thanks for your hard work but I think the real thing is worth the $$.

  • Pamela
    March 15, 2010

    I was thrilled to try these. I thought the cookie part was a bit cakey, not crisp like I’d hoped, and too thick. My solution; next time I’ll just split the dough between two pans so I have a thinner cookie, and twice as many! I’m too lazy to do all the cutting and spreading to make the cookies, but they probably do end up tasting much more like the samoas. Someone asked about the caramel sticking; mine was coming up as I spread it, too, but it stuck when it cooled.
    They are quite delicious, just not as much like the samoas as I hoped. But I’m sure they will be better next try.

  • Danielle
    March 19, 2010

    Thanks! It’s girl scout cookie time. I bought 2 boxes of samoas knowing it’d be quite dangerous. I ate the whole box in no time, and my boyfriend the other. So I promised I’d try and bake them. Found this and voila they are amazing! I’m scared they may not make it til he gets home from work though haha!

  • Anonymous
    March 31, 2010

    I agree with the reviews that said the cookie part was too thick and crumbly. Didn’t really taste like the crisp girl scout samoas at all. I noticed the samoa cookie recipe is exactly the same except for having more butter. I wonder if that would work better for the bars as well? The topping was wonderful though–Just like the real girl scout cookies if not better.

  • Ashlie
    April 5, 2010

    I made this for Easter using homemade caramel though. My cookie base wasn’t crumbly like it was suppose to but it worked out perfectly. They are so delicious!! Thank you for this recipe.

  • Tiffany Jewelry
    April 9, 2010

    That sound s good.I will try.And I am trying to search

  • airbrush makeup kit
    April 13, 2010

    I’ve never eaten Samoas in bar form before! They taste great! Thanks so much for the recipe this is definitely a keeper.

  • Jamie
    April 21, 2010

    I can’t wait to try it! The picture itself makes the cookies look so tasty. I’m drooling already. I bet my sisters will go crazy over this. 🙂

  • That is really really yummy and fattening…

  • Anne M
    May 2, 2010

    Any recipes for Thank u berry much ? I am experimenting myself with recipes for them. I think maybe some crushed rice krispies are part of it.

  • eKURpM
    May 17, 2010


  • louis vuitton
    May 21, 2010

    Good post, I want to post opinions since the comments provides web owners for being more engaged and towards the chance to certainly gain knowledge of from each other.

  • Kwiaciarnia Kraków
    May 22, 2010

    nice one!

  • Lydia
    July 12, 2010

    These were absolutely amazing. My favorite girl scout “cookie”! I had one problem with these though. The cookie base didn’t hold together well after taken out of the pan. In fact, when I was dipping them in the chocolate, they fell apart. 🙁 Any ideas on what went wrong?

  • Felicia
    August 2, 2010

    Thanks so much for this recipe! They were fabulous!

  • el
    September 29, 2010

    My cookies fell apart too and looked a hot mess. 🙁 While I appreciate the recipe’s intent, I think I will stick with the real deal. These were too sweet and the cookie base wasn’t quite right. Also, they were VERY time consuming with all the cool down processes and what not.

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