Homemade Samoa-Inspired Cookies

January 15, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: 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 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 just might just have to start selling them yourself.
Miranda Keyes

Makes: 20 cookies


For the shortbread cookie base:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour

For the cookie topping:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 250 grams finely chopped dark chocolate
In This Recipe


  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. 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.
  3. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick, turning it often to prevent sticking and adding extra flour as needed.
  4. Using a doughnut cutter or two round cutters (2 1/2-inch and 1-inch rounds), cut the cookie dough into inner tube shapes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Melt chocolate in microwave on 30 second blasts. Dip bottoms of each cookie in the melted chocolate, leave to set upside down (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, about 5 minutes. They'll keep for one week in a sealed container, and for many more weeks in the freezer.

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Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

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?
Author Comment
Miranda K. January 22, 2016
Thanks for noticing - it's all in there now! Lots of chocolate on the tops and bottoms! :)