Homemade Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

Samoa Cookie Pile

Nathan and I always do our grocery shopping on Saturday mornings and this morning the Girl Scouts were touting their wares as we were leaving the store. We walked past them with smug expressions and were not even tempted to buy any cookies from the cute little girls. Why? Because we had a plan…homemade Samoas! Oh Samoas…the best Girl Scout cookie of all time by far. Nathan and I both agree that you can’t trust the shifty-eyed people who prefer Thin Mints.

Our plan to make Samoas got us wondering about the history of Girl Scout cookies. Girls Scout cookies were originally baked (as early as 1917!) in the kitchens of the members and then sold to finance troop activities. In 1922, a standardized recipe and pricing plan was released. By the 1930’s, the baking and selling of Girl Scout cookies had taken off to an extent that commercial bakeries were contracted to bake and package the cookies…at that point Trefoil cookies were the only variety. From there, the varieties of cookie and scale of production took off and now Girl Scout cookies are big business!

Nathan and I brought Girl Scout cookies “back to their roots” by making these Samoas at home. I’m sorry Girl Scouts…but our cookies are better than yours! These cookies are fairly work intensive but the product is so worth it…gooey caramel and coconut on top of a shortbread cookie and dipped and drizzled in semi-sweet chocolate…swoon.

We all have those co-worker who sell Girl Scout cookies for their daughters at work and now I have an answer for them! “Oh no thanks…I make my own.” Break free from the Girl Scout Cookie Cartel today!

Samoa Cookies


Homemade Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

based on this recipe


For the cookies:

1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coconut topping:

3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
15 ounces store-bought or homemade soft caramels
3 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces dark chocolate


For the cookies:

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In three increments, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter, mixing between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the milk and vanilla extract, blending until combined and the dough begins to come together in large pieces.

4. Use your hands to divide the dough in half, pressing it together to compact it into two disks. Wrap the disks securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate them until firm, about 1 hour.

5. Once the dough has chilled, roll each disk out onto a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4″ thick. Cut out as many cookies as possible with a doughnut-shaped cookie cutter. (We had to get creative and use a small bowl [around 2″ in diameter] for the cookie and a small container cap [about 1″ in diameter] for the cookie hole)

6. Place the cut-out cookies on a Silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through, until the cookies are pale golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire wrack to cool completely.

For the coconut topping:

1. Spread the coconut flakes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the coconut for about 10 minutes in a 350ºF oven until toasted, stirring frequently to ensure even browning and so that it does not burn. Remove the toasted coconut from the oven and set it aside.

2. Melt the caramels, milk and salt in a double-boiler by placing the caramels in a medium saucepot set over a large saucepot of simmering water. Cook, stirring, until the caramels are fully melted. Remove the saucepot from the heat and combined 3/4 of the caramel with the toasted coconut in a large bowl.

3. Carefully spread the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel atop the cooled cookies then press on a portion of the coconut mixture. Let the cookies cool for 30 minutes. If the caramel-coconut mixture thickens too much at any point while pressing it onto the cookies, return it to the double-boiler and warm it until it’s spreadable again. (We worked in a team by having one of us spread the caramel sauce on the cookies while the other followed behind with the coconut topping. You need to work as fast as possible so that things don’t cool too much.)

4. Melt the dark chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in the chocolate and place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the tops with chocolate (We poured the chocolate into a bag and cut a small bit of the corner off to pipe onto the cookies). Let the cookies sit until the chocolate hardens fully.

Samoa Cookie Stack

2 Responses to Homemade Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

  1. Lindsay says:

    Hahaha, I can just imagine all the girl scouts who won’t get to go to 6 Flags this year because all their customers have converted to homemade cookies.

  2. […] re-creating packaged and processed foods in our condo kitchen. Other examples include candy corn, Samoa Girl Scout cookies, and ice cream sandwiches. For some reason making something that looks like a store bought item […]

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