How to Make Samoa-Inspired Girl Scout Cookies at Home

January 22, 2016

There is a large divide between those who love Samoas (otherwise known as Caramel deLites) and those who love Thin Mints. But I’ve never met a Girl Scout cookie I didn’t like.

I used to be a girl guide (that's "girl scout" to my American friends) and come cookie season, I went door to door, making it my job to sell as many cookies as possible.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

That’s why I never say no when I spot Girl Scout cookies being sold. The only problem is that Girl Scouts seem harder and harder to find these days.

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When you just can’t wait for cookie season, you have to take matters into your own hands. These homemade Samoa cookies have a buttery shortbread base, a caramel and toasted coconut topping, and a dip and drizzle of dark chocolate.

They're so good that you might just start selling them yourself...

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350° F.

Start by making the shortbread cookie base: In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using a wooden spoon, hand mixer, or stand mixer. Mix in the vanilla and salt, then add the flour and mix to combine. Bring the dough together and dump it onto a lightly floured surface.

Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick, turning it often to prevent sticking and adding extra flour as needed.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

Using a doughnut cutter or two round cutters (2 1/2-inch and 1-inch rounds), cut the cookie dough into inner tube shapes.

Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are just turning golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

Keeping the oven on, toast the coconut (you can also toast it as the cookies bake). Spread the coconut into a single layer and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Let cool completely

Photo by Miranda Keyes

While the cookies are cooling, finish the caramel topping. Before making the caramel, have all the ingredients measured out and ready to go. In a large pot, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Do not stir once the mixture starts boiling. Let the liquid bubble until the sugar turns amber in color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly add butter, cream, vanilla, and salt. The caramel will sputter quite a bit, so stand back and be careful.

Set aside 1/4 cup of the caramel in a small bowl. Add the toasted coconut to the remaining caramel in the pot. Let cool slightly. Using a spoon, drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of the reserved caramel on top of each cookie. Using your hands, put about 1 tablespoon coconut-caramel mixture on top of the caramel. Once each cookie has coconut topping, place in fridge to set for 10 minutes.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

Prepare the chocolate for dipping and drizzling. Melt the chocolate in microwave in 30-second intervals. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the melted chocolate, then leave to set upside down (chocolate side up) in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

Once the chocolate has set, drizzle the remaining chocolate over top of the cookies. You can do this with a spoon or a fork, or you can pop the remaining chocolate in a plastic bag, cut a small hole in the corner, and pipe the chocolate on each cookie.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

Place back in the fridge to set, about 5 minutes. They'll keep for one week in a sealed container, or much longer in the freezer.

Photo by Miranda Keyes

What's your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Make your argument in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • henandchicks
  • Miranda Keyes
    Miranda Keyes
Freelance food stylist & recipe developer


henandchicks January 22, 2016
Miranda, it's girl scout cookie season right now! By all means, experiment in the kitchen with your own version, but also know that if you can't find a scout to sell you some you can order online this year. I haven't done it yet, but go to and follow links to cookies. If you need a troop number feel free to use 2795, our troop. Thanks for writing about scouts -cooking is a job I love, but my passion is helping build girls with Confidence,Courage, and Character!
Miranda K. January 22, 2016
That's great to know you can order online! I was formerly a Girl Guide/Scout so I'm a big supporter of the organization. Thanks for providing the link, that's great!