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  • Writer's pictureGutsy Baker

Copycat Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookies (Paleo & Gluten Free)

Move over Girl Scouts, there’s a new SAMOA in town. A cleaner paleo and vegan version, and it tastes pretty dang legit. If you love Girl Scout cookies but are on a restricted diet, or just love them but want a healthier version, these Samoa cookies are the best gluten free treat that everyone will love!





These homemade Samoa cookies are gluten free, paleo and dairy free!


You would never believe it! When I first made them years ago, they became one of my most popular recipes. They taste so authentic and are a fun cookie building project. You can also make them in steps and refrigerate (ie: make the caramel in advance) if you don't want to make them in one day. I have had people tell me they’ve made them for their kids and they didn’t even know the difference!




Why I made copycat Samoa Cookies


My two favorite cookies when I was a Girl Scout were Samoas and Thin Mints. Having a sensitivity to gluten and refined sugars — I was determined to make my own when I had to pass up the annual office order. Plus, no offense to the Girl Scouts but those cookies are full of fillers, GMO ingredients, sugar, wax, and ingredients that just aren't good for your digestion and overall health. Why eat those when you can make a clean version that taste exactly like the original?! (Side note: I still buy them and give them away, to support and donate to their troops).


What is a Samoa Cookie?


A shortbread cookie base in the shape of a ring, dipped in dark chocolate. Layered on top is a coconut covered in caramel, drizzled with more dark chocolate. If you love caramel, coconut and chocolate, you will LOVE these cookies.


These Copycat Samoa Cookies are vegan, paleo, FODMAP friendly AND taste just like a real Samoa Cookie!

I'm not joking, they taste so similar to the real thing without all the refined sugars and junky ingredients! They are naturally vegan (no egg subs needed), paleo, refined sugar free and FODMAP friendly! I try not to use honey or other higher FODMAP ingredients in my baking because I'm very sensitive to it.




INGREDIENTS IN VEGAN & PALEO SAMOA COOKIES


Almond Flour: The main flour for these cookies. It’s the most neutral baking flour and my paleo flour of choice.

Coconut Flour: This absorbs the moisture of the almond flour

Coconut Oil: A healthy fat helps add to a crunch to the cookie

Maple Syrup or Coconut Nectar: You have to use a liquid sweetener here, I recommend these two. Coconut nectar has a lower glycemic index.

Vanilla Extract: Adds a nice flavor to the cookie and to the caramel sauce

Sea Salt: Balances out sweetness in recipes

Coconut Milk: The milk base to the homemade paleo caramel sauce Coconut Sugar: The sugar in the paleo caramel sauce. As you've noticed by now, it's my go to for baking and cooking. It does not spike your blood sugar levels or feed Candida and other pathogens the way other sugars would!

Shredded Coconut: The hero of this cookie! I recommended shredded over flaked

Dark Chocolate Chips/Bar: The bottom dip of your cookie and the drizzle on top. AKA the icing on the cake.




FAQs

What baking tools are needed for the Paleo Samoa Cookies?


  • Ring-shaped cookie cutter OR get creative and use a drinking glass for the outer rim and a bottle cap to cut out the middles

  • Saucepan/Frying pan

  • Baking sheet


Are Paleo Samoa Cookies easy to make?


These paleo Samoa cookies are easy to make but they require a few steps. First the caramel sauce. Let that simmer while you make the cookie base and melt the chocolate. When the cookies are cut and cooled, dip the bottoms in chocolate. When the caramel has finished cooking, the coconut shreds get mixed in to make the second layer. That is spooned on top and finally drizzled with extra chocolate.

So they do take a bit of time but they are SO worth it.



How to store the Vegan Samoa Cookies :


The vegan Samoa cookies store best in the fridge, especially if the caramel layer is a bit soft. Store on a vented dish or an airtight container, with parchment or wax paper separating them so they don't stick together. They also store in the freezer for up to 6 months. I personally like to eat them right out the freezer!



Tips for making the caramel layer:


I suggest simmering the coconut milk and coconut sugar for 35-40 minutes. It's low maintenance, you can let it simmer while you prep the cookies, only stirring every few minutes. You can ultimately remove it from the stove sooner, but if it's too liquidy it may not hold the best shape in the cookie. If that's the case, mix in extra coconut shreds to absorb some more of the liquid. Or keep the caramel mixture in the fridge to set before spooning on top the cookies. If it's still a bit loose, these can be stored in the fridge or freezer and will keep their shape and still taste amazing! I've made these several times, as had others and the caramel mix has always worked out perfectly.


To test the texture of your caramel, spoon a bit on a plate and place in freezer until caramel is chilled. You will know it's ready when it is sticky like a caramel sauce.



See video above for assembly


HOW TO MAKE PALEO SAMOA COOKIES

(see recipe card below for full ingredients and instructions)


Make the caramel:


  1. You'll want to start making the caramel first so it will simmer while you make and dip the cookies. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk and the coconut sugar. Once it becomes a boil, turn down to a lower heat so it’s simmering and bubbling. Stir every 2-3 minutes, It’ll take about 30-40 minutes to caramelize: turn a darker golden brown, become thicker, coat the back of a spoon, and leave spoon trails when stirred.

  2. Once it becomes a caramel sauce, take the pan off heat and mix in vanilla and salt. Set aside for later.


Make the Cookie Base:


  1. While the caramel is simmering, make the cookies.

  2. In a medium bowl, add together the cookie ingredients. Mix until a dough forms. Form a ball with the dough.

  3. Roll dough out on a flat surface and cut out the ring shapes. You can use cookie cutters like these, but I've used a drinking glass as my cutter and water bottle cap to cut the insides out. The outer circle should be about 2"or so. You want to make little rings.

  4. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely.

  5. Once cooled, melt the chocolate chips. Dip ONLY the bottoms of cookies, shake off excess chocolate. Lay back on the lined baking sheet. Put in fridge for 10 minutes to set.




Finish coconut caramel mixture and assemble:


  1. Add shredded coconut flakes to a small frying pan and stir until brown.

  2. When the caramel is ready, stir in the shredded coconut flakes. These will absorb the caramel and make a gooey mix.

  3. Using a spoon, add a layer of coconut caramel mixture on top of each cookie ring.

  4. Drizzle rest of chocolate over each cookie. Put cookies back in the fridge to firm up for about 10 minutes.

  5. Store the cookies in fridge or freezer, especially if the caramel layer is a bit soft. I personally like to eat them right out the freezer! Get ready to be addicted!




NOTES TO MAKE THE PERFECT SAMOA COOKIES:


  • Some coconut milks may need more time to caramelize than others. I use 365 Whole Foods brand and my caramel sets up perfectly at 35-40 minutes. If the caramel seems too thin, keep simmering on a low boil until bubbling and thickened.

  • I recommend using shredded coconut over coconut flakes. This will give your cookies a better coconut flavor, and more authentic to the real thing.

  • If you feel you don't want to multitask and make the caramel at the same time as you're making the cookies, make the cookies first and start the caramel after. I just like to do it all at once!

  • You may make the caramel sauce first and place in fridge until ready to make the cookies. The cookie dough can be made in advance too and placed in fridge wrapped tightly.

  • You can substitute the coconut sugar in the caramel mixture for maple syrup for a lower FODMAP option.


Let me know in the comments below if you make these Girl Scout Samoa Cookies! I guarantee you’ll want SA-MOA!




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