Introduction: Homemade Samoas Recipe

Picture of Homemade Samoas Recipe

Better than the real thing, this recipe for Girl Scout Samoas (-style cookie) will win the hearts of all who partake.  These cookies take a little time, but if you have it, you'll find the process blissful and rewarding.  The best part is that this recipe is a riff on the traditional Trefoils recipe - so make up a double batch of shortbread and you're good to go!

While it's good to support your local scouts, sometimes you just need a cookie, even when it's not in season!

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
First, you'll need the basic shortbread recipe, which you can find here.
Just to have it handy, here's a repeat of those ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 115g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 250g (2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
For the topping, you'll need:
  • 225g (3 cups) shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 15-oz soft caramels (I recommend making your own if you have the time!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate

Step 2: Toasty!

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Prepare the dough according to the shortbread recipe.

While the dough is refrigerating, preheat your oven to 350F (180C).

Toast the shredded coconut on a baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.   Let cool while shaping and baking cookies.

Step 3: Shaping

Picture of Shaping

Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface.

Cut out the shapes with a biscuit cutter, or two differently-size round cutters, or a small round cutter and a straw.  You get the idea!

Bake your batches of cookies one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet 180 degrees, halfway through baking. This ensures that all the cookies turn the same color instead of getting browner in the hotter parts of your oven.

Let cookie sheets cool before putting new cookies to be baked on them. 

Step 4: Prepare the Topping

Picture of Prepare the Topping

Place your caramels, milk and salt in a microwaveable bowl and nuke for 1 minute at a time, stopping to stir, until nice and melty (3-4minutes)

If you're using homemade caramels, you can reduce the amount of milk and microwave time.

If you are using hard caramels, increase the milk.

Stir the toasted coconut into the caramel mixture.

Step 5: Top Them Cookies

Picture of Top Them Cookies

Using a knife, an offset spatula, or whatever device floats your boat, spread the caramel mixture on top of your cookies.  Be generous.

Some of your cookies may not be structurally sound enough to support the force of having caramel and coconut applied to them.  My guess is not enough baking time.  Do not abandon these cookies, dear friends!  Remember, they started out life as delicious shortbread.  They can remain in your life as the cookies you secretly eat when no one's watching!  Or as  your "test" cookies to try out different ratios of toppings!  These broken cookies are a blessing.

Step 6: Chocolatey Goodness

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The only thing missing from these bad boys is a good dose of chocolate!

Lay out a sheet of waxed paper for your cookies to rest on once they're all chocolate-botttomed.

Chop up your chocolate and microwave it in 30 second bursts, stirring between each, until nice and melty.

Dip the bottoms of your cookies into the chocolate and place on waxed paper.  

Use the remaining melted chocolate to drizzle over top of the cookies once they're all dipped.  A spoon works for this, but a piping bag or the corner snipped off a plastic baggie makes 'em prettier.

That's it!  Store in an air tight container for best results.

Now that you've mastered these, Tagalongs will be a breeze!

Step 7: Leftovers

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What's that you say?  You have leftover caramel and coconut, but ate up too many ran out of cookies?  Not a problem!

Use a couple spoons or a dough scoop and make little candies out of them.  Bon-bon/truffle type candies of caramelly coconutty deliciousness topped in chocolate.  Oh yes.  

Waste not.  Want more.


Bobby T (author)2015-10-07

Awesome, I love Samuas. All the recipes I've tried from your posts work so far. I bet this one will too !

Amersroyal (author)2012-01-10

I would suggest filling a zip lock bag with a big enough size opening at the bottom of the bag to pipe the coconut-caramel goodness onto them. Samoas are my favorite Girl Scout Cookie!

Great suggestion - thanks!

eliiisaaa10 (author)2013-06-20

Being that im samoan! These are my favorite cookies.. :)

Kahlah (author)2013-06-14

I used the centers from my cookie centers to make mini cookies. They look a lot like your bon-bons, they just have the mini circle bases. Next time I make them, I will probably not make the cut out and work with the whole cookie.
Yum. Thanks for the recipe.

enticement (author)2013-01-21


bluidevil62 (author)2012-11-29

oooh I like these cookies

lookitsria (author)2012-11-28

Can't wait to try this! About how many cookies does it yield?

gotclawz1 (author)2012-10-20

I made a big one using a bowl and a cup to cut out the shape

scoochmaroo (author)gotclawz12012-10-22

That is fantastic! How long did you bake it?

gotclawz1 (author)scoochmaroo2012-10-28

I don't remember the exact time, I just kinda kept my eye on it

xaderz (author)2012-10-02

My favorite

xaderz (author)2012-10-02

my favorite! yum yum

Captain Skully (author)2012-08-04

I did it! Personally it took about 5 hours to make but, in the end the taste really turned out!

Amazing!!! Good for you! It is super time-consuming the first time, but I'm happy to hear you thought it was worth the effort.

ashleylaney (author)2012-07-02

i really need to try these because i love cooking!!!!

cmoua (author)2012-06-05

Will the cookies still turn out well if I don't cut a small hole in the middle and just leave it as one whole cookie? Would I have to change any baking time or temp?

scoochmaroo (author)cmoua2012-06-06

Should be fine!

paininthebutt (author)2011-10-23

Great instructable I can't wait to eat These I am addicted to caramel delights so I will love them

PurpleKat (author)2011-09-23

Hey, I'm using the caramel/toasted coconut mixture from this recipe to replace the caramel in a batch of Igor bars. (I was dared to see how much awesome I could cram into them.) Any chance you could give me a hint on the best caramel to coconut ratio?

lpobiak (author)2011-09-05

yummie!! :-) These look awesome!

moosetooth (author)2011-08-16

"Better than the real thing" is not a brag. These are!
Lorna Doone shortbread cookies are an easy shortcut for the time crunched. You'll need two packages for this amount of topping.
Great Instructible!

suayres (author)2011-06-06

These look pretty yummy, too. I may make some for my daughter, who loved them, but can't eat them because of a severe corn allergy. If I make my own caramel & use unsweetened coconut, she would be able to eat them! So thank you again!

suayres (author)2011-06-06

You should be able to heat the caramel in a double-boiler (if you don't own one, put a heat-safe bowl over a saucepan with water in the pan) and heat, as described above, until the caramel is melted & smooth.

wayland (author)2011-05-26

Hey, thanks. I made these and everyone loved them. They were a huge hit! Thanks again!

edn10 (author)2011-05-24

Ohh haha gotcha thanks, man I can't believe I missed that. I was skimming around.

edn10 (author)2011-05-23

I was wondering, did you make the dough or did you get it from somewhere? If you did make it, i was wondering what the recipe was?

scoochmaroo (author)edn102011-05-24

The ingredients are listed in Step 1, along with a link to the instructions:

ser_pez (author)2011-02-03

a question: did you have any trouble getting the coconut/caramel mixture to stick to the cookies?? i'm not sure if the mixture wasn't hot enough or what, but i had a hard time getting it to stick.

neekeem (author)ser_pez2011-03-30

I had the same problem, so I put the whole lot (coconut mixed in) back in the microwave and zapped it again. Then it was too hot to stick, but I quickly found where it worked. Plus on some of them where it wasn't sticking well, I just went with it and left it. When I finished, I put a piece of waxed paper on my hand and pressed lightly on the misbehaving ones. All was good by morning.

butterbeans (author)2011-03-26

fantastic ible! i can't wait to make these for a special someone.

whisperonthewind (author)2011-03-16

I never even knew Werther's made CHEWY caramels. And these are my favorite girl scout cookies, and I don't even know anyone with kids anymore! All mine are grown. I will have to save this recipe and maybe make these this weekend.

tmahone (author)2011-03-15

I could only find sweetened coconut at my grocery store, will it make a large difference in flavor?

dachemist (author)2011-02-08

Funny thing, I have a link to your account on my desktop that says "best instructable auther ever"

scoochmaroo (author)dachemist2011-02-09

Aww. That's gotta be like my favorite comment ever!

dachemist (author)scoochmaroo2011-02-10

is 15-oz caramels 15 ounces of caramel?

csumner-2 (author)dachemist2011-03-12


DELETED_jorgegunn (author)2011-03-04

ahh just yesterday i saw the girlscouts at the walmart asking me if i wanted to buy some but i had to decline because im allergic. However i have a g-Free shortbread recipie i can use and everything else is edible Thanks so much youve made my day.

bungalow7 (author)2011-02-20

This is delicious!

Though I must confess I was making them for a party, was running seriously short on time and having trouble getting the chocolate to stay attached to the cookie bottoms.

After snacking on too many that just weren't behaving, I "gave up" tossed the completed cookies and the rest of the bits and pieces into a 9x13 pan poured a can of condensed milk over it all and baked it at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes while I got ready for the party, then cut them into bite sized chunks.

Everyone raved about them!

The flavor profile is the same as the Girl Scout Samoa, so if you want a Samoa and esthetics aren't an issue, it makes an amazing bar cookie!

Fingers0110 (author)2011-02-14

After making these cookies, I suggest making some vanilla/caramel Ice cream. Chope the cookies up and mix into the partially melted IC. Than let it freeze again and enjoy. Very good combination, yet adds to the fatty feelings! lol

SageMinto (author)2011-02-13

These look so wonderful!! :O

I never knew the name of these cookies...
I will be trying these!!

Aira.vj (author)2011-02-04

Are there any tips for making the topping without a microwave? I don't have one and I don't want to make a giant mess with my pots and pans on the stove...

lizk (author)Aira.vj2011-02-05

Cleaning up caramels is actually pretty easy. They dissolve so easily with hot water!

Thatsjustbadgers (author)2011-02-02

This is about to make me sound horrible, but I found this just in time.
My family has a "holiday" on February15th called "deep fried food day". (awful I know). Once a year we get our family together and break out the deep fryer. Now I don't know about you, but I am pretty curious about deep fried Samoas.. Thank you!

that sounds amazing my friends and i have fat kid night where we eat all fried food and yes even the cheese paper

I can't wait to show you all how it comes out! Almost two whole weeks I have to wait though.

Please adopt me.

Please do share your results! (and I'm talking picture here)

tzsch (author)scoochmaroo2011-02-02

Yes, please do share. I will be checking back eagerly

canida (author)2011-02-01

Ooh, Samoas are my favorite!

And I love the bonbon version - waste not, want more indeed.

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