Homemade Samoas


Can’t find a Girl Scout? No problem! Make Girl Scout cookies at home. I experimented with a couple of different toppings and types of chocolate, suffering through all that cookie taste-testing, and I’m here to offer what I believe is the perfect combination of shortbread cookie base, coconut topping mixture, and chocolate coating for the best homemade Samoas.

You can, of course, shortcut this whole recipe by using storebought shortbread cookies as your base–but this shortbread cookie recipe is so quick and so easy and so good, why use pre-packaged?

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How to make Shortbread Cookies:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix again. Add vanilla.

You’ll have a slightly crumbly cookie dough–don’t worry. Stick your hands in there and shape it into a nice ball. There’s plenty of butter in there, it’ll work.

Divide dough in two parts. Place half of dough between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll dough to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with second half of dough. Cut into rounds with a 1-1/2 to 2-inch cookie cutter and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Using a straw, poke holes in the middle of each cookie.

Bake at 350-degrees for about 15 minutes. Recipe makes approximately 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies. (Baking time and yield will vary depending on cookie cutter size and thickness of cookies.) Mmmm….shortbread cookies! These cookies are delicious on their own, but we’re not done!

I tried the coconut topping two ways–using a melted caramel mixture, and using a candied corn syrup mixture. I far preferred the corn syrup method, but I’ll post both versions to give you a choice. (Coconut can be sweetened or unsweetened in either method.)

How to make Samoa Coconut Topping:

Caramel Method:

3 cups shredded coconut
12 ounces caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk

Place coconut in a parchment paper-lined pan and toast at 350-degrees for approximately 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes with a large spoon or spatula. While coconut is toasting, combine caramels, salt, and milk in a pot and stir over medium-low heat till melted. Remove from heat and add toasted coconut.

What is wrong with this method? Have you ever unwrapped 12 ounces of individually wrapped caramels? There should be an outcry. Somebody should write a letter. People should be picketing in front of candy manufacturers. Why can’t they sell “baking caramel” the same way they sell “baking chocolate”–in 1-ounce, easy-to-use squares, for example? Aside from the annoyance of unwrapping all those caramels, I found this mixture difficult to work with as the caramel starts setting up quickly as soon as it’s removed from the heat.

Corn Syrup Method:

3 cups shredded coconut
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place coconut in a parchment paper-lined pan and toast at 350-degrees for approximately 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes with a large spoon or spatula. While coconut is toasting, place butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a pot. Boil for three minutes. Switch temperature to low and slowly add sweetened condensed milk. Heat on low until a candy thermometer shows 220-225 degrees. Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla and add toasted coconut.

What is right with this method? No caramels to unwrap and the mixture is easy to work with as it doesn’t set up so quickly once it’s removed from the heat. However, if you want true caramel taste, you’ll have to use the caramel method. I found the corn syrup method’s ease of use outweighed the loss of the true caramel taste and still afforded a close, sweet approximation to the Girl Scout Samoa flavor.

Spread the topping mixture on top of the baked shortbread cookies, re-poking the center holes with a straw as needed.

The Chocolate:

8-10 ounces melted chocolate (semi-sweet or dark)

While the topping is setting up, melt the chocolate. I tried melting two types of chocolate–chocolate chips and candy chocolate. The candy chocolate was far superior. (Don’t use chocolate chips! It doesn’t set up near as well. Use a chocolate labeled for “candy” and it will set up as solidly as storebought chocolate-covered cookies–meaning, you can pick up a cookie without getting chocolate fingers. Chocolate chips just don’t do the trick.)

Using metal tongs, dip each cookie’s bottom into the melted chocolate. Place on parchment paper. Drizzle chocolate lines on top of the cookies. Let set about 30 minutes for chocolate to harden.

Anybody want a cookie?

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on June 24, 2008  

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49 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 6-24

    Those look so good! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  2. 6-24

    Those are my favorite girl scout cookies. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. 6-24

    With my diabetes, I think these just might take me over the edge. The shortbread cookie part would be good for me with a cup of tea. And they look heavenly. Thanks so much for sharing. xxoo

  4. 6-24

    Hey Suzanne,

    Did you know Kraft makes caramel chips now? They look like little caramel marbles. Perfect for recipes like this. We love Samoas, so I’ll be trying this out.

    Love your blog.


  5. 6-24

    Oh. My.

    These look awesome! Thanks Suzanne!

  6. 6-24

    they look nice!

    Sadly the only cookies I like are chocolate chip, well that and peanut butter but these look good!
    Nice job

  7. 6-24

    Wow that is a lot of work, more power to you! They do look extremely good! I like to buy girl scout cookies, freeze them and use them with making homemade ice cream. The combinations are endless. Got any new combo ideas for me?

  8. 6-24

    Have you started a compost with your chicken poo yet? You have all that lovely forest leaf around you, I bet you could make some wonderful compost for the fall! You shouldn’t have to buy more topsoil for your garden. I get to use some of my own compost this summer! I’ve only composted yard waste and I had to use a starter for the compost heat (no chickens in my yard). You’re in a great situation for composting with the chicken poo, future egg shells, and all that forest leaf litter!


  9. 6-24

    Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the great recipe. :)

  10. 6-24

    Ha!! Margie – I started reading your post and thought you were suggesting a way to make cookies out of chicken poo…maybe I better open my sleep-deprived eyes before I start reading!! It WAS a rather interesting thought though!

    Suzanne, these cookies look extraordinary.

  11. 6-24

    Oh Lordy, do those cookies look heavenly! I’m not much of a baker, sure wish we were neighbors! :wave:

  12. 6-24

    They do look good. I see you’ve come inside again. Too much chicken time can be harmful to your health.

  13. 6-24

    Gosh those look good!

  14. 6-24

    :elephant: Wow! I read through the recipe and I am so excited! I have all the ingredients on hand and TONS of coconut I need to do something with and this looks perfect! They look like they would be easier on the teeth than the actual Girl Scout cookies. Thank you so much for sharing this one. I’m looking forward to a peanut butter cookie expose now!

  15. 6-24

    I have a Thin Mints recipe, but I haven’t tried it out yet so I don’t know if it works. I’ll post it after I experiment!

  16. 6-24

    These look fabulous! They are my favorite cookie, so I’m going to have to try it! Thanks!

  17. 6-24

    My FAV Girl Scout Cookies! Second is Thin Mint. YUM.
    I have a good shortbread recipe I use anyway – it is just flour, butter and sugar and it is wonderful. I used to love the “Yum Yum” cookies by Sunshine – they were these Somoas, but with a wafer bottom. I wondered if the Girl Scouts copied thiers, because they didn’t come out, until AFTER, I think. I love these and “Haystacks” candy – chocolate covered toasted coconut. I can’t try any recipes until they install my new oven, hopefully this week! :mrgreen:

  18. 6-24

    We haven’t gotten our Hummingbirds yet…we got the new feeders that have a little platform where the Hummingbird can perch and rest and stay awhile. They also (all the birds, Hummingbirds included) seem to love to sit on my bear windchimes. LOL

  19. 6-24

    Why do you poke the hole in the center? I thought it might be to make the cookie bake more evenly in the center but you also mention to re-poke when spreading on the caramel/corn syrup topping..What am I missing…other than the taste of these wonderful cookies..

  20. 6-24

    Yum! Can’t wait to try these. If you’ve got time after all that cookie baking, stop by my blog and see what my Princess is up to! :elephant:

  21. 6-24

    The hole in the center is just to make them “look” like the real Girl Scout Samoa cookies, so it really doesn’t serve any purpose but decorative!

  22. 6-24

    Dang Girl! Those look fabulous!

  23. 6-24

    Yum-o, those look good! Do you have a weight watchers version, by chance?

  24. 6-24

    Those do look good. I just had a front tooth pulled yesterday, so won’t be making them very soon.

  25. 6-24

    :clap: My hubby will love you forever!

  26. 6-24

    My recipe box is fast filling up with your recipes. That is not a complaint by the way. Keep them coming! :shimmy:

  27. 6-24

    :flying: Yummy! So sorry about your hummingbird but cats will be cats… :cry:

  28. 6-24

    The cookies look wonderful. You can get caramel in a block. You just have to order it online. King Arthur’s Flour sells 18oz and 5 pound blocks of caramel Here is a link


  29. 6-24

    If I show this to my daughter she’ll have me baking within the hour. *G* These look fabulous. Thanks!

  30. 6-24

    geez, these look good! Got any to share??

  31. 6-24

    No offense but Samoas are the only GS cookie that I don’t like – it’s the coconut – yuk :no: But the sortbread recipe sounds good :yes:

  32. 6-24

    The cookies look wonderful!

  33. 6-24

    You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you? Admit it, you’re trying to kill me.

  34. 6-24

    I have made these but a little differently, instead of using the cubes of caramel I use the sheets that you purchase for wrapping apples. The other way is to spread caramel topping over the shortbread (I make bars instead, less work), then coconut and topped with chocolate chips. Then bake it all together as per direction. I always try to figure out the shortcuts. I do admit yours look good.

  35. 6-24

    A series on Girl Scout Cookies knock-offs? I’m going to be 800 pounds….

  36. 6-24

    I would like to know how margie went from the fabulous cookie to chicken poo. Anyhoo… You made my favorite cookie 1st. Thank You!!! :flying:

  37. 6-24

    :bananadance: You are now my favorite every day blog, puppies, chickens and now cookies. Your pics are wonderful. The cookies look absolutely yummy. Samoas are my favorite. Shortbread my second, so I get two in one. Thanks a million!

  38. 6-24

    Hi – Those look YUMMY. I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing!!

  39. 6-24

    I don’t like the real samoas but this look like a bit of HEAVEN on earth. I love coconut (anything).

  40. 6-24

    RE: DIEGO & the hummingbird photo. Don’t feed the cats by positioning bird feeders that they can snack at. I learned that in 1988 when I had a window bird feeder by my back deck of my super retro 1900s 4-plex apartment (very urban for San Antonio). The neighboring cat would stand on the deck, reach up / leap up and snag the poor birds right off the feeder. I was so upset when I found out… so I had to move it to a higher location or further from my apt. deck.

  41. 6-24

    I LOVE Samoas! Yummmm…sounds like those yummy cookies might be good topped with Pop’rs. We’re having a giveaway, so please check us out at http://poprs.blogspot.com/2008/06/giveaway-tuesday.html

  42. 6-24

    AHHHH. YUM-O! Can I have one or two …or six???
    Can’t wait to try them.

  43. 6-24

    The cookies look delicious. I sent my daughter the recipe as I am not able to cook right now. It will go into my file though. Have a great evening and :hug: to all.

  44. 6-24

    I was just cleaning and re-organizing my daughter’s cooking notebook today. She had a recipe for this type of cookie but not sure if it is same or similar. I will have to look at it tomorrow a.m., too late right now. I’m sure we will be trying it some time. Blessings.

  45. 6-25

    they look really delicious…except for the whole coconut thing!! Can’t wait for the thin-mints ;)

  46. 6-25

    Thanks for the recipe. Those look fantastic. I’m always looking for new things to try whenever I’m entertaining. :bananadance:

  47. 6-25

    How can you possibly do all that you do – writing, now a farm and all these incredible recipes? Thank you, thank you!

  48. 6-27

    Oh I didn’t need to find this!!!! I’m sure my mouth will thank you…but not my waistline!

  49. 7-23

    I may faint…GIRL SCOUT COOKIES ANY TIME OF THE YEAR!?!?!?! i think i love you! lol! i cannot wait to try these! thanks so much for sharing, they are, afterall, my all time favorite cookie!!

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