Vegan Gluten-Free Samoas

GFVGVDF
Jump to Recipe
Gluten-free vegan samoas drizzled with melted chocolate

What kind of Girl Scout cookies are your favorite? While we’re quite fond of Thin Mints and Tagalongs around here, Samoas are in the top three! What’s not to love? Buttery shortbread cookies covered in rich caramel sauce and toasted coconut, dunked and drizzled in melted chocolate. SWOON. It’s the salty, sweet, gooey, crispy, melty cookie of our dreams. 

Our inspired version requires just 9 ingredients and tastes just like the real thing despite being entirely vegan and gluten-free! Let us show you how it’s done!

Almond flour, coconut milk, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and chocolate chips

The steps for making these cookies are a little more involved than our usual, but the ingredients are simple and the result is so worth it!

First, we make the shortbread cookie dough using almond flour as the base, maple syrup for sweetness, coconut oil to make them crispy, and vanilla and sea salt for flavor.

Stirring cookie dough in a bowl

Next, the cookies are cut into cute little circles and the center is removed with a smaller cookie cutter (or similar-shaped object). This creates the classic shape of Samoas that’s perfect for thoroughly coating in chocolate-coconut-caramel goodness!

Rolled cookie dough cut with a cookie cutter

The coconut-caramel layer is made with full-fat coconut milk and coconut oil for richness, coconut sugar for sweetness and a thicker texture, and toasted shredded coconut for a toasty element.

Parchment-lined baking sheet filled with the base for samoas

Lastly, the cookies receive a dunk and drizzle of melted chocolate for serious magic in your mouth.

Dipping cookies into shredded coconut and melted chocolate

We hope you LOVE these Girl Scout-inspired Samoas! They’re:

Toasty
Buttery
Tender
Rich
Chocolaty
Coconutty
& Timeless!

Store in the fridge or freezer (if they survive that long) for any time a Samoa cookie craving strikes! They’d be perfect with a glass of dairy-free milk or your favorite latte or tea.

Top down shot of a stack of gluten-free vegan samoa cookies

Into Girl Scout Cookies? Try these next:

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Stack of vegan gluten-free samoa cookies made with caramel, chocolate, and shredded coconut

Vegan Gluten-Free Samoas

Classic Girl Scout-inspired Samoa cookies made vegan and gluten-free! Buttery cookies, rich caramel, toasted coconut, and melted chocolate. Just 9 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Stack of gluten free samoas cookies
4.71 from 17 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 15 (Cookies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5 Days

Ingredients

SHORTBREAD

  • 1 ¼ cups almond flour (the best sub would be an equal blend of gluten-free flour, oat flour, and arrowroot starch or cornstarch – we haven't tested this and can't guarantee the results)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

COCONUT CARAMEL LAYER

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened desiccated or shredded coconut
  • 1/3 heaping cup full-fat coconut milk (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp as recipe is written)
  • 1/3 heaping cup coconut sugar (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp as recipe is written)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

CHOCOLATE

  • 2/3 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (163 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and salt. It may seem crumbly, but that’s okay! Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper and form into a rough rectangle. Place another piece of parchment paper on top, and roll out into a 1/4-inch (~6 mm) thick rectangle. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill and firm.
  • Meanwhile, spread the shredded coconut out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, stirring once and checking often to make sure it doesn’t burn. The coconut should be light golden brown.
  • Remove the coconut from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (176 C). Carefully transfer the toasted coconut to a small mixing bowl.
  • Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, peel off the top layer of parchment, and using a 2 ½-inch (~6 cm) round cookie cutter, cut as many cookies as possible. Then, using a 1-inch (2 ½ cm) cookie cutter, cut a hole in the center of each cookie. Roll out remaining dough and repeat. As the original recipe is written, you should have ~15 cookies.
  • Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown. Gently transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Set the parchment-lined baking sheet aside for later.
  • While the cookies cool, make the caramel. In a small saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. Place on the stovetop over medium heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened, whisking often. Transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Once caramel has cooled, mix in 1/4 cup (20 g // amount as the original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) of the toasted coconut. Using a small fork (we found this the easiest!), gently spread the caramel and coconut mixture onto the cookies, then press each cookie (caramel side down) into the remaining toasted coconut. Place cookies in the fridge to cool and set for 10 minutes.
  • Add 1 inch water to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low / simmer.
  • To a small glass or metal bowl, add chocolate chips and coconut oil. Carefully place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula or spoon, until melted and no lumps remain — ~5 minutes. You can also melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave in 20-second increments until melted. Remove chocolate from heat.
  • Remove the cookies from the refrigerator. Begin dipping the bottom of the chilled cookies into the melted chocolate to lightly coat, then gently place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a spoon, drizzle the remaining chocolate on top of the cookies in a zig-zag pattern, then transfer back to the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the chocolate.
  • Cookies should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they‘ll keep for up to 5 days, or in the freezer, where they’ll keep for up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 15 servings)

Serving: 1 cookie Calories: 181 Carbohydrates: 13.7 g Protein: 2.8 g Fat: 13.7 g Saturated Fat: 7.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 82 mg Potassium: 105 mg Fiber: 2.2 g Sugar: 10.3 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 37.6 mg Iron: 1.1 mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @minimalistbaker on Instagram and hashtag it #minimalistbaker so we can see all the deliciousness!

If you love this recipe...

Get Our Fan Favorites eBook Here!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating!

Have a question? Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f on your computer or the "find on page" function on your phone browser to search existing comments! Need help? Check out this tutorial!

My Rating:




    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Barb, it might work in place of the coconut sugar. Let us know if you try it!

  1. Rachel Ashworth says

    Wow! These are extraordinary. I made these today and followed the recipe mostly haha. I only got 12 cookies total. I did not dip my caramel cookie into coconut rather, I sprinkled on top and gently shook off excess. I do agree they are time consuming but that’s clear when you read through the process. You could always bake the cookies one day and toast your coconut, then finish up the next day. Definitely a keeper and I’ll be making these again. I’ll also just use the caramel recipe when I want vegan caramel!!

  2. Chavonne says

    I made this recipe yesterday and it is insanely awesome! I love making clean desserts and this, by far, is one of the best recipes I’ve ever made! The only changes that I made were that I did not dip the entire bottom of the cookie in chocolate and only did a chocolate drizzle on top and I used full chunks of unsweetened coconut shreds and it was so pretty. I could only get 12 cookies out of the recipe and I didn’t try to make the little hole in the middle! I brought a bunch to some of my friends who love trying all the new things that I make and they cannot wait for the recipe! I’m sorry to hear that some were not a fan but seriously this goes on the top five of my must haves!!!!! Even my husband said that we should make these for our Christmas gifts next year for all of our friends :-) I wish I could post the photo of our cookies!!!

  3. Caitlin says

    No exaggeration, I’ve probably made well over a hundred of the recipes on Dana’s blog over the last year with many ‘wins’ and happy tummies. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them— and I was frustrated by 1) the amount of dishes/mess and 2) indulgent use of special (expensive) ingredients 3) SO much going on at the same time I found it stressful. It doesn’t really check the ‘minimalist’ box for me and the end result was meh. The only idea I have about what might’ve gone wrong was the caramel: I think it cooled for too long, losing its sticky pourable texture which made it not spreadable and crumbly. As feedback to the author: the ‘max’ cooling time isn’t specified on the caramel. And this recipe is a bit of kitchen chaos, a lot going on at once, so it’s easy to mess up something like that without clear instructions. Also, it’s acknowledged in the recipe that the dough is crumbly but there’s no advice as to how to handle them for cookie cutting. Mine were falling apart the entire time. I had much more success with the thin mints as far as the Girl Scout theme goes, so I recommend trying those instead. The Samoas were a disaster for me, it took me several hours to make something I didn’t even want to eat. I’m sorry to write such a negative comment, I really have loved so many of your recipes, this just wasn’t one of them.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Caitlin – sorry you had trouble with this one! It is admittedly not our simplest recipe, but we do find the payoff to be worth the effort!

      Did you find the video helpful in terms of step by step preparation (especially with the crumbly dough)? It sounds like the caramel may have been overcooked, because if it was crumbly it likely crystallized. Cooling the caramel for 5 minutes in step 7 is about how long we recommend for cooling time. If it sits for a lot longer it can get tacky or difficult to work with.

      Again, we appreciate the feedback and are sorry to hear it wasn’t what you’d hoped!

  4. Chloe says

    These. Are. So. Good.
    Wow. 11/10 recipe here. I made them on a whim wanting to try something new and they were gone within 24 hours 😅
    For me, the caramel took longer than the suggested 15 minutes, closer to 25 to really thicken up. I was worried I was going to burn it but its just a dark caramel.
    This recipe is a little more involved but it’s worth the additional time. Next time I’ll double it so they hopefully last more than a day haha.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      So lovely! Thanks for sharing, Chloe! Yes, it is a little more involved than your average cookie but SO worth it! xo

  5. Hailey Lyons says

    SO GOOD. Like crazy delicious. Made these last night. I messed up a little and made my shortbread too thin, so there wasn’t as much crunch as there could have been. But, the taste was crazy! Trying again tonight!

  6. Em says

    My favorite thing right now! I need to get somen in the freezer before I eat the whole batch….or I can just make more. 😊

  7. Ryan says

    Samoas were my favourite cookie before I was diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity about seven years ago, so I dropped everything to make these as soon as I saw this recipe get posted!

    I also have a nut allergy, so I used the substitute flours listed here, and unfortunately the shortbread I made without modifications turned out very dry, pale, and brittle. After trying to make about 3 cookies like this, I gave up and added about a tablespoon of room-temp vegan butter to the dough mixture, and this made the dough much easier to work with and turn out a lot better after baking.

    These are delicious and absolutely taste like my memory of the real deal!! I would definitely make them again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them and were able to troubleshoot the cookies! Thanks for sharing, Ryan!

  8. Roz says

    These cookies are seriously yummy. My husband and I were swooning when we tasted them for the first time. And the caramel sauce is crazy good. I’ll making that to drizzle over ice cream. Thank you for such a wonderful cookie recipe.

  9. britt says

    Definitely multiply the recipe if you’re needing 15 cookies. This does not produce 15 cookies if they are sized like the pics. Super yummy though.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Britt, sorry to hear it didn’t make as many as expected. Were you using a 2 ½-inch (~6 cm) round cookie cutter and a 1-inch (2 ½ cm) cookie cutter for the centers? If so, is it possible the dough was rolled out thicker than 1/4 inch? With these measurements, there should be ~15 cookies.

  10. Sara says

    These are insanely delicious and definitely taste like the samoas! So impressed with the crunch of the almond shortbread and that it doesn’t crumble. Followed the recipe exactly, but melted more chocolate for extra drizzle on top. Thank you!!

  11. Sharyn says

    I love the creativity of the girl scout cookie recipes. I am going to try them all! Do you think you can come up with a recipe for Do-si-dos? Thanks.

  12. Amy says

    I made these last night and they were absolutely incredible! I found the video tutorial very helpful to get a visual for what they should look like during the process. I left them in the fridge overnight, and they taste even better the next day (I think the caramel layer was able to solidify more!) – overall, I highly recommend!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you enjoy them and that the video was helpful. Thanks so much for sharing, Amy! xo

  13. Judie says

    Oh wow wow wow! These cookies were super delicious! Mine did not turn out pretty like yours but looks aren’t everything cause they were consumed within seconds! The taste reminded me of a Twix bar – which is my absolute favorite. Now I will make these instead which are gf and made with way way better ingredients.

  14. Odalis says

    Just made these and while they felt like a lot of work, they are 100% better than I remember the original GS cookies to be! The samoas used to be my favorite girl scout cookie when I was younger and the last time I had them (in my pre- gluten free life), they were disappointing. These are so delicious!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed these, Odalis! Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  15. Purani says

    This is so tempting! Definitely trying it this weekend. One quick question.. Can we use regular milk instead of coconut milk? Because I have everything in hand except that..

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      =) Let us know how it goes! We’re not sure regular milk will be thick enough, but perhaps heavy cream if you have that?

  16. Amy says

    These cookies are so delicious!

    I substituted the coconut sugar for light brown sugar and it worked great!

    Can’t wait to make these again!

  17. Chloe says

    Made these today. I used bigger pieces of coconut and just threw them in the food processor after toasting. Although the cookies were too thin, I didn’t cook the caramel quite long enough (stopped because I thought I had burnt it – I did not – the caramel turns out to be quite dark), and I screwed up the chocolate – they still turned out delicious. A mess, but a Ima-go-in-for-thirds good cookie. Quote from partner: “These taste better than the real thing!”
    There you have it, folks. Even if you tried to mess these up, they are still a winner.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      haha yayy!! Sorry they were a little difficult to get to the finish line but SO glad you enjoyed the final result!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      The best sub would be an equal blend of gluten-free flour (or all purpose), oat flour, and arrowroot starch or cornstarch, but we haven’t tested this and can’t guarantee the results. Let us know if you try!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      The best sub would be an equal blend of gluten-free flour (or all purpose), oat flour, and arrowroot starch or cornstarch, but we haven’t tested this and can’t guarantee the results. Let us know if you try!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      The best sub would be an equal blend of gluten-free flour (or all purpose), oat flour, and arrowroot starch or cornstarch, but we haven’t tested this and can’t guarantee the results. Let us know if you try!

  18. Amy says

    You’re killing me with these! Cannot wait to try them.

    Question: for the caramel layer, any help you could offer on swapping out the coconut sugar for honey or maple syrup?

    Thanks so much!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, the coconut sugar is what helps make it thick / caramelized! But if you try one, I’d say maple syrup is your best bet.