The season finale of “Turning Girl Scout Cookies Into Women Scout Cookies” is finally here – and I’m so excited for this one! We have reached the infamous Samoa, which was a long-time request and crowd favorite. But this Samoa is the epitome of all-grown-up. She’s gluten free, vegan, coated in a crispy, coconutty, caramelized crush and jam-packed with chocolate.
This recipe didn’t take me one, or two tries. No, this took me SEVEN TRIES. And I sat on this recipe idea for weeks. I waffled back and forth between doing a typical Samoa (which btw, that recipe is EVERYWHERE) and doing a Samoa that I personally loved. So here is my version of the classic cookie, and it truly makes me so happy. Plus did I mention it is so easy?
The dough requires ZERO chilling, ZERO mixer and it takes only a few seconds to come together. The only involved part of this recipe is the cooking of the caramel crust, which I’ll get to later in the blog post. But overall, this Samoa recipe comes together in minutes, is nearly full proof and will be a great addition to your weekend bakes!
What makes this “Samoa” recipe really a Samoa?
Now first things first, I know, this looks NOTHING like a Caramel DeLite Cookie. But when you taste it, you will get SERIOUS Samoa vibes.
And that’s the whole point of the Women Scout Cookie series! We aren’t recreating the cookie exactly like the original, but instead we are elevating it to a new (and delicious!) level.
so what parts of this recipe mirror a samoa?
Good question! The key parts of a Samoa (or Caramel DeLite, as they are also called) are the:
- Shortbread cookie base
- Carmel Coating
- Toasted Coconut
- Chocolate Drizzle
And this recipe has all those same things! But with a sliiiightly different energy. In my recipe we recreate each element with:
- A soft, shortbread-like cookie base that is vegan and gluten free – this cookie base is made from almond flour, melted vegan butter, maple syrup and almond milk. It bakes into a soft, cake-like cookie that tastes like a shortbread, but is just SO much better.
- A crunchy, coconutty “caramel” coating – with this recipe being vegan, I couldn’t make an OG caramel filling (plus like, talk about so much work). So to get all the rich, toasty notes of coconut and caramel, I use lightly toasted pecans, coconut shred and maple syrup to make a 2-minute candied coating. All you do is throw it on the stove and you will feel like you have a caramel crunch ready to go! It’s truly a magic trick.
- Instead of chocolate on the outside, we are doing chocolate on the INSIDE – this is the ultimate chocolate flex. No need to get melted chocolate all over your kitchen when you can just add a TON of it to the inside of your cookie. Seriously, let’s elevate the cookie but also make our lives easier!
The ingredients you will need for this Samoa cookie remake
Going along with how I wanted this cookie to be super simple to make, I wanted the ingredients to be super easy as well! This recipe uses only pantry staples, or ingredients that are easy to find at the grocery store. I didn’t want you scouring your grocery aisles for the one secret ingredient you needed to make this Caramel DeLite remake!
So here is everything you will need to make this Samoa-inspired cookie recipe:
Ingredients for the cookie base:
- 100 grams almond flour, finely ground – You do NOT want to use almond meal for this. Use finely ground almond flour to get that heavenly, soft, moist cookie texture!
- 1/2 tsp baking powder – you won’t need a lot of leavener for this recipe since we are only making two cookies!
- 1/8 tsp salt – necessary for any sweet recipe of course!
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp melted vegan butter – I like Country Crock plant-based butters for this! I jump between their olive oil version and their avocado oil version!
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp maple syrup – You want to use a liquid sweetener in this recipe so the dough comes together, normal sugar won’t cut it here!
- 1 tbsp almond milk – or any plant-based milk, since it’s such a small amount, you can opt for oat milk, hemp milk, whatever!
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract – if you don’t have this on hand, it’s not crucial to the recipe, but it just adds so much more flavor imo!
- 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips – I like Enjoy Life’s chocolate chips for this recipe, but Trader Joe’s also has dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chunks if you are looking for an alternative!
Ingredients for the coconut coating:
- 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped – When the pecans are toasted, they get this rich, nutty flavor that adds to caramel-vibes of this topping. Plus they give the cookie a more “grown up” feel, which is what I’m going for! You can swap out with another nut of your choice, but I just love using pecans for this recipe!
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes – These are the star of the show, because without them I don’t think I could even call this Samoa-inspired! I toast them up until they are nice and golden, and they add such a richness to the recipe.
- 1 tsp coconut oil – This is for coating and toasting the nuts! It adds an extra layer of coconut flavor that totally amps up this recipe.
- 1 tbsp maple syrup – When you add the maple syrup to a skillet and cook it down until it caramelizes, it’s like an easy, healthy, quick caramel coating. Perfect for this easy Caramel Delite remake recipe!
How to toast and make the caramel coconut coating
Once you know how to make this coconut coating, you might never go back. It is rich, crunchy, toasty, sweet and just the absolute BEST snack. I eat it on its own as a trail-mix-like dessert all the time. And the best part is that it takes less than 3 minutes to make.
Seriously, don’t be intimidated by having to whip out the skillet for this one! It is one extra step, but it is so worth the effort.
step by step instructions for the coconut coating:
- Roughly chop your pecans into small pieces. Crunch up the coconut flakes into small pieces as well. You can use your fingers for this.
- Put your skillet on medium heat.
- In the skillet, melt the coconut oil and add in the pecan pieces.
- Toast the pecans in the oil for about 2-4 minutes or until you begin to smell them.
- Add in the coconut flakes and continue to toast for 1 minute.
- Pour 1 tbsp of maple syrup on top of the pecans and coconut flakes.
- Stir continuously so that everything is coated. Don’t stop stirring when you get to this stage!
- You’ll begin to see the maple syrup bubble slightly. Keep stirring and get all of the pecans and coconuts coated.
- Cook down for about 1 minute and then remove from the heat.
- The mix should solidify into a granola-like consistency!
After that all you have to do is set it to the side in a small bowl. It might feel a little “wet” at first, but it will quickly harden up once you get it off the heat. And at that point it will be like a coconut, caramel, candied nut mix, but with super feel-good ingredients!
How to make the samoa cookie dough
The next part of the cookie is arguably the easiest. But I can’t leave you with just the instructions of “mix it all together.” Because while that is true, it’s not fair to you. We gotta get specific here! Yet at the same time, does anyone read down this far? Drop a comment if you do, because I want to say hi! (and yes, I do read all my comments ❤️)
But now to the real stuff, here’s all you need to do to bring this dough together (and yes, it does take like…2 minutes).
The quickest way to bring this dough together
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the almond flour, baking powder and salt – I like to use a whisk here to make sure everything is fully incorporated!
- In the same bowl, pour in the maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla extract and almond milk. You can add them all at once!
- After everything is in, stir until a dough forms. It will look like there is too much almond flour at first, but be patient! Almond flour will absorb all the moisture of the ingredients and you will be left with a hot-fire-flames cookie dough.
- Add in the chocolate chips and mix well – this is the easiest step, but make sure they are evenly distributed! We want chocolate in every bite.
After you have your dough, all you need to do is split it into two even sized balls and you are ready to bake! No chilling or extra work required!
Can I make this into a Samoa shape?
If you are dying to have that classic donut-sized Samoa shape, I am all for it! I’m not here to hold you back. I just have a few tips for when you do it:
- Roll the dough out into long cylinder “logs” first. This is so you can evenly coat the dough in the coconut coating before rolling it into a donut shape. It helps to get the coating on more evenly as well!
- Dip the cylinder shapes in the coconut coating and roll them until they are all coated.
- THEN I suggest twisting the cylinder into a donut shape, and pressing the ends together.
- This way you get a fun Samoa shape, but you still get all of the good Caramel DeLite coating!
Tips and substitutions
I’m no stranger to recipe substitutions, and even though this recipe is already gluten free and vegan, I’m sure there might be some questions/requests for alternatives! I’ve rounded up the substitutions that I know will work to hopefully help you in the baking process! Of course, if you have any other questions about subs, feel free to ask me in the comments below or head over to my FAQ!
substitutions for the coconut coating:
- Don’t have pecans? – Any nut, like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc. should work! The only nut I’d steer clear of is the peanut, since they tend to have a really distinct flavor and taste that might get in the way of the recipe!
- No maple syrup? – Agave nectar, simple syrup or honey will also work for this! I don’t use them as my first choice, because I think maple syrup is the best at lending that rich, caramely flavor. But if you’re in a pinch, I don’t see any issue with substituting them in!
- No coconut oil? – You can use coconut butter if you have it! Or just any avocado oil, canola oil or avocado oil. You won’t get as much coconut flavor, but you will still be able to toast the nuts to perfection.
substitutions for the cookie dough:
- A note on the almond flour – Usually I say almond flour and oat flour are interchangeable, but for this recipe almond flour is really crucial. The only flour that might be able to recreate the texture in a similar way is coconut flour, but I personally haven’t tried it myself!
- No vegan butter? – No problem, you can use regular butter for this as well! I just would not suggest using an oil, it won’t give you the same consistency!
- Out of maple syrup? – Agave nectar, simple syrup, or even corn syrup will work! I just recommend sticking to a liquid sweetener if you can.
- If you don’t have almond milk? – No worries! In this recipe the milk is super interchangeable. You can use oat milk, almond, regular milk, macadamia milk, really anything!
Tips on how to make and store this dough ahead of time
After spending a whole blog post talking about how to make these Samoa-inspired cookies, let’s talk about how NOT to make them. Well, you know what I mean, how to make them but then…not. So how to store them for later!
This cookie is unique because it has two parts to it, but other than that it can be stored like any other cookie recipe!
if you want to make the dough ahead of time and bake later
For making the dough ahead of time – follow all the instructions as directed, but then roll the dough into a tight ball and wrap with cling wrap. You can do this as one whole dough ball, or portion it individually. It’s up to you!
For the coconut coating, follow all instructions as directed, then let the mixture cool and harden before transferring to either a Ziploc bag or an airtight container.
You will want to store the dough in the fridge and the coconut coating at room temperature.
When it’s time to bake, just preheat your oven and pick up where you left off on the recipe instructions list!
if you want to bake the cookies and store them for later
This one is so easy. Just follow all the instructions for the recipe and then let the cookies cool completely. This is so that when you store them, the heat from the cookies doesn’t cause any condensation in the container you put them in. Any condensation or steam will take away the crunchy coating and make the cookies….just v sad.
After the cookies are cooled, I recommend using Tupperware or Pyrex (or any air-tight storage container) and storing them in a cool, dark place. This could be a pantry or cupboard, but not the fridge. The fridge temperature and humidity might cause the cookies to lose their crunchy exterior, which is not what we want!
The cookies should last in an air-tight container for up to five days 🙂
How to double (or triple) the recipe
This recipe is a small-batch recipe by design, so it only makes two (huge) cookies!
But if you are lucky enough to be in a big household (unlike me….in my house of two people and one very perfect dog) then you’ll probably want to make more!
You can easily double or triple this recipe by going to the recipe box below and clicking the options that let you multiply the recipe. But I will give one big caveat: If you quadruple the recipe, don’t use more than 1 & 1/2 tsp of baking powder.
What to do with that leftover caramely coating
I designed the measurements in this recipe so that you won’t have any so that you won’t have leftover caramel coating, but just in caaaase you do, here’s what I recommend:
- You can store it in a mason jar or Ziploc bag and treat it as an oatmeal or granola + yogurt topping. If you store it at room temperature it should be good and crunchy for up to seven days!
- If you’d like, you can also add it to a bag of mixed nuts to make a Samoa/Caramel DeLite trail mix!
- Or if all else fails, you can eat it while your cookies bake (my personal preference tbh).
A little leftovers never hurt anyone, so those are my big tips if you find yourself with some extra crunch on hand!
And that’s about it! I know it’s a lot of information, so always let me know in the comments if you have any qs! And of course, if you make this recipe and love it, please leave it a rating below! It’s an amazing way that you can support me (fo free) and I appreciate it more than you know!
In the meantime, hope you love this Samoa-inspired recipe, and happy baking!
Grown Up “Samoas” | Gluten free and Vegan Coconut Caramely Cookies
For the cookie:
- 100 grams almond flour, finely ground about 1 cup, very densely packed
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp melted vegan butter I like Country Crock plant-based butters
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp almond milk or any plant-based milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
For the cookie coating:
- 1/4 cup pecans roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a skillet on medium heat, melt the coconut oil and add in the pecan pieces. Toast these in the oil for about 2-4 minutes or until you begin to smell them. Add in the coconut flakes and continue to toast for 1 minute.
- Pour 1 tbsp of maple syrup on top of the pecans and coconut flakes. Stir continuously so that everything is coated. Cook down for about 1 minute and then remove from the heat. The mix should solidify into a granola-like consistency! Put this to the side in a small bowl.
- To make the cookie dough, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder and salt.
- Pour in the maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla extract and almond milk. Stir until a dough forms.
- Add in the chocolate chips and mix well.
- Split the dough into two even sized balls, and coat the balls in the pecan and coconut mixture.
- Place both dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Press them down slightly, they won't spread out much in the oven, so don't forget this step!
- Bake for 17-20 minutes at 350F. Serve warm!