Gluten Free Bourbon Caramel Samoas

There’s something about being rooted in community that just feels right, but you don’t realize how important that is until it’s no longer there.

Over the summer I began to reflect on this. John and I have lived in three cities in the nearly three years we’ve been married and have moved nearly twice that amount in the meantime. While that has allowed us to latch onto and let go of several new friends in our life, it’s left me with an almost eerie sense of not knowing who my community is at any given time and where I belong. When I start to feel a bit estranged in this world I begin to feel like my piece of the island has broken off from the big island and I’m floating off into the sea, all by myself, disconnected, adrift and hardly known by anyone but myself. And some days I’m not even so certain of that last part. But the good news is I can always make change where I see necessary. In most cases healthy, positive change is just one conversation or perspective shift away. The change I needed was to make new community where we’ve currently laid roots. I don’t know how long we’ll be here but for the time that we are here, I want to be present and intentional with the people around us. So John and I did the best thing we knew how to foster that community feel: We invited people over for dinner.

Close to 15 of our dearest friends from various settings including high school, work, church, and other random life events filled our humble little studio apartment one recent evening and it all felt so right; like a big hug from that favorite aunt you haven’t seen in years. I provided the essentials: Two batches of chili, cornbread (gluten free and non) and these gluten free cookies. Wine, laughter and plenty of dirty dishes soon followed.

At one point my friend and wedding photographer Rebecca leaned over and mentioned that the cookies reminded her of Girl Scout Caramel Delights or Samoas. They had all the essential elements but were just missing the caramel and chocolate coating to give them that finishing touch.

I didn’t think much of it then but when I recalled I had a batch of my bourbon caramel sauce tucked away in my fridge I knew gluten free Samoas needed to be born. Since then I’ve made these several times each with positive results and resounding feedback. I gave my (gluten free) friend Laura a small batch one night and she devoured them all in a matter of minutes before my eyes. I believe the adjective she kept using was “uuhhhmaaayyzzing.” Needless to say I think we found her (and my) new favorite cookie recipe.

These cookies may lack the abundance of flour, butter and sugar of traditional Samoas, but they in no way lack the flavor and definitive texture of the real thing. These are a must make not only for the holidays but for all your special gatherings in between. Gluten free decadence has never tasted so good.

4.6 from 5 reviews
Gluten Free Bourbon Caramel Samoas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Gluten free cookies that taste just like Girl Scout Samoas, only with a decadent homemade 4-ingredient bourbon caramel sauce. So delicious you can't have just one.
Recipe type: Dessert, Gluten Free
Serves: 15 cookies
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal (finely ground raw almonds)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • bourbon caramel sauce*
  1. Combine almond meal, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder, salt and sugars in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat egg vigorously until nearly doubled in volume. Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes, or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and shape dough small discs - about 15 cookies. Place on baking sheet, giving each cookie about 1-1/2 inches of room.
  5. Bake until edges begin to brown, 10-13 minutes. You want them brown on the edges but not too dark overall.
  6. Remove from oven, transfer to cooling rack and pop in fridge or freezer for 5 or so minutes. In the meantime, melt 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 15-20 second increments. Alternatively, melt over a double boiler.
  7. Remove cookies from fridge or freezer and using a spoon, coat the bottom of each cookie in a thin layer of chocolate. Place back on silicon mat or wax paper and then drizzle with bourbon caramel sauce and remaining melted chocolate.
  8. Refrigerate or freeze for another 5 minutes to set. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to a couple days. Freeze for even longer freshness.
*You can cut holes out of the middle of the cookie to resemble a true Samoa, but it's not necessary and these cookies are a bit more fragile than gluten-containing recipes. Also, I say the more cookie the better.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Yields 15 cookies; per cookie: Calories: 149 Fat: 10 g Saturated fat: 5 g Carbohydrates: 15 g Sugar: 9 g Sodium: 56 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Protein: 2.8 g

adapted from this recipe from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook

danaHi, I'm Dana! I am a food stylist, photographer, and author of the Food Photography School and the 31 Meals Cookbook.

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Talk About It

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  1. says

    I love having friends who are unashamed about enjoying a sweet treat! Always better than people who say no. Especially to something like these. You’ve got me hooked with that bourbon caramel.

  2. Dani says

    On Sunday I made the Pumpkin French Toast Bake and tonight I just made these and they both were fantastic! Thank you so much!

  3. says

    I love girl scout cookies and now these samoas are on my list of cookies to try! Anything with caramel sauce is a winner in my book. Your photos are fabulous, too. Thanks!

  4. Laurie says

    These are fantastic! I made them for kids so I didn’t use bourbon. Instead I used Trader Joe’s caramel sauce. But the recipe was easy and so, so delicious! Next time I’ll double them for sure!

  5. says

    Omg. So good! What a good idea to use the Sprouted Kitch cookies for a samoa redux. I tried the SK cookies plain last week and they rocked, then saw you added to them here. I’m eating one as I type.

    I have to report, in case anyone is in the same boat: I stock Honeyville almond flour and don’t stock almond meal. I was concerned this cookie was engineered for traditional almond meal but I found that using just a little less almond flour and throwing in about a tablespoon each rough ground up oats and almonds sort of “mealed up” the dry mix. (I halved the recipe so I used 1/2 c almond flour and 1 scant T each sliced blanched almonds and oats that I pulsed a little in the processor) Delicious.

  6. De says

    Made these twice now! For church and then for my roommate’s mom, they were a hit! Thank you so much!

  7. Frieda says

    So love that they’re not made with oats! (Oats being on the allergy list) And I know the caramel sauce is awesome as I’ve made it before – subbing coconut cream and leaving out the bourbon.
    Thank you!

  8. Lilia says

    I just gotta say “WOW!” Just made these today and decided to try one before adding any of the chocolate or caramel drizzle and I’m so glad I did. They are fabulous plain as well as all gussied up (I think I prefer them plain but then I’m weird like that). Thanks for the recipe, I will certainly be making these again.

  9. angela says

    These look delicious. Word of warning though, bourbon is generally made from rye or other grain alcohol and is NOT gluten-free. Whiskey can be really bad for a celiac so please be careful if very sensitive to gluten!!

  10. Susan says

    Can’t wait to try these, since I can’t eat the real Samoa cookies. However, please add a note that bourbon is not gluten-free (though some may be able to tolerate it)! I plan on making the sauce without the bourbon. Should I substitute another liquid?

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