Yes to Yummy

Samoa Cookies (gluten-free, vegan, nut-free)

June 17, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Pure genius always comes flowing out of my oven when I’m trying to procrastinate on studying for something.

That is, if you define “pure genius” as homemade Girl Scout cookies.


Oh yes, you heard right. I have made the first ever Girl Scout cookies to appear on Yes to Yummy–it only took me a year. Or possibly a little longer.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long. As my mom said, “These are cookie crack.”


The sad thing about real Girl Scout cookies is that they look all friendly and happy, yet they’re filled with some pretty nasty ingredients. You really want to eat ’em and support eight year-old girls across the country, but have you taken a peek at the box? The first ingredient is sugar–meaning it’s the most prevalent ingredient–and the cookies themselves contain partially-hydrogenated oils (READ: TRANS FATS), corn syrup (more sugar), and enriched flour (white flour where all of the nutrients were taken out and man-made vitamins and minerals were added back in). Ouch.

Thankfully, you can make a homemade version relatively easily, and they taste so much better. And–bonus–they’re gluten-free, grain-free, vegan (so no dairy or eggs), nut-free, and paleo-friendly! (Not that cavemen ate cookies; I don’t really think there are any “paleo” desserts, haha.) Pretty much, these cookies are just various forms of coconut, so I do hope you aren’t allergic.

But coconut is good for you, so that must mean these cookies are good for you too…right?!


So, what actually is a Samoa? I think I’ve only had a “real” one once, maybe twice in my life, but I can still remember that intoxicating combination of shortbread cookie, caramel, toasted coconut, and chocolate. What could be bad?

This cookie is built off of the same flavor profiles, but I gave them a bit of a healthy update. I made the shortbread from coconut flour and coconut oil for healthy fats and some fiber, then used a combination of maple syrup (sugar, but more nutrients than white sugar) and peanut butter (you could also use sunflower seed butter) for a sweet, rich caramel, then topped it off with dark chocolate for a more adult taste. Yummy!


Another thing I love about this recipe is that it makes a lot of cookies, which means I got to share them with more of my friends! If you live under a rock in the middle of nowhere and don’t have anyone to give these to, I recommend freezing them and defrosting whenever you want a little treat. I know they’re addicting, but don’t eat them all at once. That would be bad. Very bad.


Are you ready to make these tasty little guys? I am! Let’s get started.

Recipe adapted from this one and this one.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/2 cup of coconut flour, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder, 5 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1/2 cup of softened coconut oil, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix just to combine, about 1 minute, then squish the dough together into a bowl.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, pop it in the fridge for an hour, then take it out and sandwich it between two pieces of wax paper.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it’s about 3/4-inch thick. Take off the top piece of parchment paper and, using a circular cookie cutter, cut out as many circles of dough as you can.


Put the dough back in the fridge for a few minutes–really, I mean only two or three, it chills and can become brittle fairly quickly–then peel away the excess dough from the circles. Carefully transfer the dough to one of the baking sheets and, using an apple corer or other small circular device, cut out a small circle from the center of each cookie.

Put the tray with the cut-out cookies in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. DO NOT TOUCH THE COOKIES. They will be very fragile until they cool.

Meanwhile, squish the remaining dough scraps back together into a ball and sandwich it between the two pieces of wax paper again. Roll it out to the same thickness as you did before and put in the fridge for a few minutes, then repeat the same steps as you did before for cutting and baking.

Let the cookies cool to room temperature before proceeding with the chocolate and caramel.


In a double boiler or bowl in the microwave, melt 4 ounces of chocolate until completely smooth. Using a brush, “paint” the chocolate on one side of the cookies. If you run out of chocolate, no worries: just melt some more!

Let harden for about half an hour, then flip over each cookie to expose the naked side and get started on the caramel.


In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of maple syrup with 1/4 cup of peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. Whisk over low heat until slightly thickened, adding more peanut butter or sunflower seed butter if necessary. It should be fairly thick and light brown in color.

While you make the caramel, toast 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut on a small pan in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir every few minutes to ensure even toasting.

Using a brush, “paint” about 1/3 of the caramel on the side of the cookie that you DIDN’T use for the chocolate. Once all of the cookies have been “painted,” stir the toasted coconut into the remaining caramel.


Using a medium-sized spoon, scoop out about a tablespoon of the coconut-caramel mixture and press it all over each cookie on the caramel side. Once all of the cookies have been covered, pop everybody in the fridge for 30 minutes.

After the half an hour has elapsed, drizzle each cookie with chocolate–either use leftovers from before or melt another 2 ounces of chocolate for topping.

Let chill in the fridge for another 15 minutes before devouring.


What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

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