Chocolate Caramel Coconut Clusters

October 18, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Miranda Keyes
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 10 cookies
Author Notes

Inspired by Girl Scout Samoa cookies, you can't go wrong with this foolproof, delicious recipe if you can't find a Girl Scout to order some cookies from. The cookies are so good, you just might just have to start selling them yourself. —Miranda Keyes

Test Kitchen Notes

Miranda Keyes, who came up with this delicious cookie and based it on her love for the traditional Girl Scout cookie, talks more about what she loves about this recipe: "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.

"Among my friends, there is a great debate over the best Girl Scout cookie, and a large divide between Samoa lovers and Thin Mint diehards. To be honest, I’ve never met a Girl Scout cookie I didn’t like.

"The only problem is that Girl Scouts seem harder and harder to find these days. So when you just can’t wait for cookie season, you have to take matters into your own hands. These homemade Samoa-inspired cookies have a buttery shortbread base, a caramel and toasted coconut topping, and a dip and drizzle of dark chocolate."

You can't go wrong with that amazing flavor combination, and toasting the coconut while the cookies bake helps cut down on the cook time too. A fun drizzle of chocolate makes these dinner party-worthy to serve as a showstopper of a dessert. They're far easier to make than they look. And if you're not a fan of coconut, feel free to skip it entirely, though you won't get that classic Samoa flavor. But that's okay too! You can experiment with whatever you've got on hand and use this recipe as a base. Trust us, you'll love it! —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Chocolate Caramel Coconut Clusters
  • Shortbread Cookie Base:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • Cookie Topping:
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 250 grams finely chopped dark chocolate
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Make the cookie base: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon, hand mixer, or stand mixer. Mix in the vanilla and salt, then add 1 cup of the flour and mix to combine. Bring the dough together and transfer to a lightly floured surface.
  3. Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick, turning often to prevent sticking and adding more flour as needed.
  4. Using a doughnut cutter or 2 round cutters (2½-inch and 1-inch rounds), cut the dough into rounds with the centers removed.
  5. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are just turning golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
  6. Make the topping: Spread the coconut in a single layer and bake, stirring once or twice, for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown (you can also toast as the cookies bake). Let cool completely.
  7. 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. Continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the sugar turns amber in color. Remove from the heat and quickly add the cream, butter, vanilla, and salt. The caramel will sputter quite a bit, so stand back and be careful.
  8. Set aside ¼ 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 ½ teaspoon of the reserved caramel on top of each cookie. Using your hands, arrange about 1 tablespoon of the coconut-caramel mixture on top of the caramel. Place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes.
  9. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second blasts. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the melted chocolate. Let set chocolate side up in the fridge for 5 minutes.
  10. 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.
  11. Place back in the fridge to set, for about 5 minutes. They'll keep for 1 week in a sealed container, and for many more weeks in the freezer.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Colleen O'Connor
    Colleen O'Connor
  • Jasmin Richie
    Jasmin Richie
  • Caroline Sloat
    Caroline Sloat
  • Miranda Keyes
    Miranda Keyes

7 Reviews

amazinc August 26, 2022
Haven't made these yet, but plan to over the weekend. Question is what did you do with the centers you cut out? I'm thinking bite sized cookies, using the same method
as the larger ones only with no holes...... I'll let you know what happens.
Fari S. May 17, 2018
This is the worst recipe for Samoa cookies
Colleen O. December 18, 2016
I made the shortbread twice. The 1st time it was very crumbly & hard to work with. I had much better luck the 2nd time: I kneaded the dough for several minutes until it really came together, then wrapped in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Found it much easier to work with.
Jasmin R. June 2, 2016
Just made these, and they taste just like the real thing! I noticed when I was making the dough that it wasn't quite getting to the doughy consistency, and I kind of felt like something was amiss. I googled it, and it looks like if you add about 1 Tbs of milk, it should be right? I didn't have milk so I did that with cream, and it still came out good enough. I should be able to perfect it next time. I also felt like it called for ever so slightly more coconut than the caramel needed, so it didn't stick well the first time around. I fused it to the cookies with the melted chocolate. They're not pretty, but they taste awesome! Thanks for sharing.
Caroline S. February 4, 2016
I just want to point out that Girl Scouts are now also selling cookies on line. You can "locate" a Girl Scout in your zip code and order your fix and help strengthen the Girl Scout Movement as you do so.
Nornee January 22, 2016
Is there a step missing? It seems like between steps 8 & 9, something is done with some of the chocolate (coating the bottoms of the cookies?
Miranda K. January 22, 2016
Thanks for noticing - it's all in there now! Lots of chocolate on the tops and bottoms! :)