Gluten Free Samoa Cookies. (Grain/Egg/Corn/Soy/Dairy/Refined Sugar Free)

Gluten Free Samoa Cookies. (Grain/Egg/Corn/Soy/Dairy/Refined Sugar Free)

It came to my attention yesterday that there are hundreds of little girls- hard at work selling girl scout cookies. Cookies, that they cannot eat. WHAT? Are you kidding me? What a sad, sad reality.

I'm hoping today to help put an end to this madness. Every little girl sure as heck should be able to have a Samoa Cookie- and so should her parents! (and so should the rest of you that have an addiction to these outrageously good cookies.. ) This recipe is dedicated to a little girl named Abby & to her amazing, caring mother Jessica that has become such a great friend.

As usual, I have a big list of alterations that I would like to mention. Before I get into that- I have an important request. IF you have any additional alteration questions for this recipe can you do me a BIG favor and post your questions as a comment here on this site, rather than on facebook? I find myself answering the same questions over and over in various feeds of conversation. I do my best to keep up to them all- but its becoming impossible.

I also must use this as an opportunity to plug my brand new books that I co-authored with Iris Higgins. The Essential Gluten Free Baking Guides part 1 and part 2 go into vast amounts of detail that will teach you how to replace all of the various flours, how to replace dairy, soy, eggs, How to exchange all of the different unrefined sugars and so much more. This was an effort to answer all of your questions in one place. Once these books become available March 1st I will be answering less baking questions here- as everything that I know can be found in the pages of those beautiful books that I put my soul into.

Lets talk Samoas.

The recipe I am providing today is grain free. If you are unable to consume almond flour- I suspect that another nut or seed flour will work in its place. I also have heard great things about the Bob's Red Mill Shortbread mix which is grain based. While I haven't tried it- you may be able to use it or another favorite shortbread recipe instead.

  • Looking to avoid sugar? Sorry guys.. I have failed you slightly on this front. I have yet to figure out how to make caramel without sugar. One day I might. For now, I can offer you the use of Palm Sugar as low glycemic option. It will work both in the crust recipe and to make the caramel sauce. I do not suggest using xylitol in this recipe. It will make the crust too soft and I can't image it will do anything pretty in the caramel sauce.
  • Need to avoid Corn? I called for baking powder in this recipe- with the corn free'ers in mind. Make sure you buy a brand that is safe for you! In the Caramel sauce use either real butter or Coconut Oil, and instead of using Vanilla Extract (unless you have some homemade) use 1 TBS of water instead in the crust. Obviously, your going to want to avoid using Corn Syrup in the caramel too. (Side note: I LOVE Garden of life Coconut Oil.. its the best stuff around.)
  • Need to avoid Dairy? In both the Caramel and Crust use either Earth Balance Butter OR Coconut Oil. For the chocolate I highly recommend the brand Enjoy Life.
  • There will be extra Caramel. This recipe yields about double of what you will need. So you have two options. Either double the cookie recipe. OR save the caramel for other fun uses. To do this tuck a sheet of parchment in a 9 x 5 bread pan. Pour the leftover hot caramel into the prepared pan and put it in the fridge to set. Once solid- it can be sliced & wrapped up into individual candies or melted again to use on top of another baked good.
  • Feeling intimated by the Caramel or want to simplify the recipe further? First of all, the caramel is easy, anyone can do it. I promise. But if you really just don't want to be bothered with it, try drizzling the tops of the cookies with Honey instead (and then topping with coconut and chocolate of course!)
  • Preparing your sugar is important. If you select a grainy sugar (like Sucanat or Palm) I really recommend you take the time to run it through a coffee grinder or blender to powder it before using it in the crust. It just works so much better that way. This extra step is not needed if you are using Cane Sugar. Just Sucanat or Palm I have found to be extra course. None of this extra powdering treatment is needed for the caramel as its all going to melt anyways.

Gluten Free Samoa Cookies

Crust:

2 Cups Blanched Almond Flour (I love Nuts.com )
1 Tbs Tapioca, Arrowroot or Potato Starch
3 Tbs Butter, Ghee, Earth Balance or Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar (see note above)
1/8 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract or Water
1 Tbs Applesauce

Caramel:

3/4 Cup Butter/ Earth Balance/ or Coconut Oil.
1 1/4 Cup " Brown Sugar" (note: this can be regular brown sugar or Sucanat or Palm Sugar)
1/4 Cup Liquid Sugar (Agave, Coconut Nectar, Brown Rice Syrup, or Corn Syrup)
6 oz (half a can) of heavy Coconut Milk (MimicCream or regular heavy cream also work)
1/2 Tsp Salt.

Topping:

Chocolate Chips (melted in microwave)
Toasted Unsweetened Coconut Flakes. (toast in oven in pan at 350, 5-8 minutes)

Please Note : Due to the fact that this is a shortbread cookie crust- it is on the crumbly side. I found that it was a little bit difficult to cut out each cookie and then also cut out the inner circle. That was- until I tried using my awesome donut cutter!. This tool cost me maybe $3 at a local cooking store in my area- it made the cutting-out process a dream. Here is the link to my donut cutter on amazon- on that site its only $2. If you don't want to bother sourcing this tool or something similar- you can just cut the cookies into circles (or another fun shape) They will still turn out really gorgeous!

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the shortbread crust. In a food processor (or by hand) combine all of the crust ingredients. The dough should hold together. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rings or circles (see note above) Cut out the dough soon after you make it, as it sits out it will begin to feel oily and it won't hold together quite as well.
  2. Carefully place the cut-out cookies on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Keep a careful watch on them the last few minutes to avoid burning. (note: cookies will come out soft and somewhat chewy- they will gain their shortbread texture as they cool!)
  3. Remove from oven. While they are cooling, make the caramel.
  4. Combine all of the Caramel ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil. Using a candy thermometer keep track of the temperature. Remove the caramel from heat once it reaches 248 degrees.
  5. Spoon the hot caramel onto the cookies (you will only need about a Tbs or less per cookies) Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes on top of the hot caramel before it cools.
  6. Melt chocolate chips in your microwave (stirring every 30 seconds until smooth). Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Place the cookies on a sheet of clean parchment paper. Drizzle the tops with some more chocolate to give the Samoa's their classic look.
  7. Set aside and let the chocolate set. (In a hurry to try one? Place them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes).
Recipe yields 18-20 cookies. They can be stored at room temperature or frozen.
I personally think Samoas look extra fancy without their centers cut out! Hope you enjoy these!
***********
xo,
Brittany
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*All recipes and text on this site are the original creations and property of Brittany Angell. If you make a recipe from this website and would like to share it, this may be done by sharing photo’s and including a direct link to this website. Duplication of recipe text, or “adaptions” containing less than 4 major changes to the recipe is strictly forbidden *
Brittany Angell

77 comments | Leave your own

  1. Elaine Maahs

    Thanks for this recipe, I posted on FB, not a question, just noting that I love that you have this recipe in time for GS cookie sales and now I can make them for my GF family and friends who can not eat the GS Cookies my troops are selling. These look wonderful. On FB you mentioned you would post a link where you can purchase the donut/cookie cutter you used, where might you post that link? THANKS again from this GF GS leader

  2. Laurel

    WOW! I thought they were gorgeous on FB. Absolutely fantastically amazing. You have definitely outdone yourself. What a talented lady. Thanks as ever for sharing.

  3. Tara

    I should have videotaped my reaction to this recipe. It was something like this "OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!". True story. I cannot wait to make this! I might get lazy and bake it into a 9x9 pan so we can cut them into bars instead but WOW. Amazing!!!

  4. Mary

    Fabulous... ok you're going to hate me for this but my husband and daughter are deathly allergic to coconut. Could I use extremely finely chopped toasted pecans?

  5. louanne

    Wow! I ordered GS cookies today and was sad about not.ordering my favorite cookie. Thank you for such a delicious & pretty cookie.

  6. Joy at The Liberated Kitchen

    Oh my! So... caramel without sugar. Check out our recipe for GAPS Legal Caramel Apples. We use honey. The flavor is a bit different, but still delish!
    http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/recipes/caramel-apples/
    We don't do arrowroot, tapioca, or potato starch because we're on GAPS, but once we're ready for a few off-diet foods we'll have to try these. Beautiful!

  7. Michele Lauren

    Divine! It is sad that we can't Girl Scout cookies. My little ones have never had them before but I remember. The cookie ingredients are disgusting though. Thanks for sharing this!!

  8. Alexis

    I'm gluten free but to make it even harder, I'm deathly allergic to all nuts. Is there any substitute for the almond flour? I find most baking recipes call for it.

  9. Sarah @ The Healthy Diva

    Ok you don't know how excited i was when I saw this post!!! Living in australia we don't get girl scout cookies. I'm pretty sure if you asked someone for a thinmint or samoa they would think you have two heads haha. You have come to the rescue....especially cuz I'm living gluten free now! so excited to try these! Hope you have a great weekend!

  10. Tonya

    What can we sub for applesauce? We are allergic to apples, too. :-)

    1. Amy

      I've found that adding a little pumpkin to gluten free recipies helps bind everything you may want to try that instead of apples.

  11. Kalinda

    I still claim allegiance to Thin Mints but these look amazing. You really hit the nail on the head.

  12. Emily Jelassi

    Thank you so much for this recipe (and all of your other ones, too)! I can't wait to make this. I do have one question though about the caramel. I have to avoid corn (and all of its' myriad products). Is it okay if I substitute cane sugar syrup for the corn syrup? I've used this substitution in many recipes with no discernible difference (ie: GF marshmallows)... And thank you for a dairy-free recipe for caramel! I've been searching for one.

  13. Joyce

    You said in your commentary that the recipe called for baking powder, but the ingredient list showed baking soda. Which one is it - or does it matter? I also wonder if I wanted to use an egg instead of the applesauce and starch, would that be okay?

  14. Joyce

    For those asking for replacement for applesauce and thickener, it just occurred to me that chia seed (soaked in water till it becomes a a jell ) would make a a thickener since it can replace an egg in any recipe. There's a recipe for making the jell as replacement for egg on the internet.

  15. Maria

    Thank you! Thank you! My girl scout daughter was not happy when I ordered 10 boxes of cookies to be sent over seas to soldiers and none for our house. I'm going to make these today!

  16. Katie

    Do you think these could be baked as bars? what size pan would you suggest?

  17. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    Incredible! I never really ate girl scout cookies (well, except some thin mints) when I was a kid, but they totally appeal to me as an adult :)

    I don't know if/how it would work here, but I do have a secret for added-sugar-free raw caramel sauce - I blend together soft Medjool dates with nut milk or coconut milk, plus a dash of lemon juice and a couple pinches of sea salt. It's great for dipping apples in, at least! :)

  18. Liz

    Thank you! Ahh the powers of modern technology! My daughter is a Daisy for the first time this year and will be selling a bunch of cookies she can't eat. I cannot wait to make these! Any chance you're going to try to make Tagalongs- the peanut butter chocolate ones? Thanks for allowing my daughter to not feel left out and to enjoy this experience just as much as all of her little Daisy friends!

  19. Lizzie B

    mmmmmmm, these look sooo yummy. Samoas are my absolute favorite Girl scout cookie, ever. Will have to try these on a day that I have patience for all the steps. Thanks for your work coming up with the recipe.

  20. bitt

    I have missed those cookies! I've seen a recipe in Vegan Cookies take over your cookie jar that looked great but still had gluten. I have made Rawdorable's raw girl scout cookies (several versions) a few times. They are so good! I can imagine these would be too.

    And hoe understanding you are with all your readers asking for additional allergy concerns, we can't possibly meet everyone's long list of allergy concerns all the time, but you've tried hard and are to be commended.

  21. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat

    1. You are amazing. These look delicious!!
    2. I miss you!
    3. I just sent a link to your blog to a friend who was just recently diagnosed with Hashimotos.
    4. xoxo!!

  22. Tonja Linson

    Do you think that using a fine almond meal not blanched almond flour will work?

  23. Tina~

    Here is a link to a sugar and dairy free caramel sauce if you are interested.

    http://comfybelly.com/2010/07/caramel-sauce/#.Txtp2iNqNz_

  24. Stephanie

    Thank you for doing such an awesome job creating this long lost favorite!!!! Did you use a 3 1/2 " cutter for the cookie? I was looking at biscuit cutters today on the Pampered Chef website and they have a set of 4 including 1 1/2", 2 1/2", 3" and 4" cutters. I was thinking of ordering them and seeing which might work if I don't purchase a donut cutter. Any thoughts? Thanks so much!!!!!

  25. A. Aponte

    Could you use Xylitol in place of the sugar? I order the birch bark Xylitol online.

  26. Dana Zia

    You had me at hello with these little nuggets! Oh dear how I wish I wasn't on a cleanse or I would eat them NOW! Thank you for the recipe though, I will be having my way with these sooner or later.

  27. Christine

    Do you re-roll the scraps of dough and keep cutting more cookies? Or should it not be handled too much?

  28. kitblu

    How could you do this? It's not fair!
    I am a Canadian; these cookies are not available here. I worked in the US a few years and was exposed to Samoas.The first time I bought a box - gone in a minute. The next year - oh yeah - I bought 2 boxes, again gone in a minute.
    And now I have a recipe for 1 1/2 dozen Samoas?! How long do you think they will last? Right - a minute.
    Thank you, I guess.

  29. Kathy

    I struggled with these, they look beautiful, however the taste was bland. Maybe we are use to more sweets? I had trouble with the carmel, the oils separated. Hmm. I so appreciate all your efforts in putting out recipes. I wish I could figure out why they taste bland. It maybe the ghee or coconut oil, as we usually use earth balance in the red container. We can't have soy, dairy or gluten. Maybe using the oils, doesn't produce that wonderful shortbread taste. If ideas, love to hear them. Thank you agian.
    Kathy

  30. Elizabeth

    I can't believe this was in my mailbox today. Someone whose paleo Facebook page I follow was bellyaching 2 days ago about wanting some Samoas. I told her that your blog might have some similar ideas or a past post on it. Wow! Wish I could recall who that was now. Hopefully she found you. U R Awesomeness!

  31. Heather Drake

    Here's a SUPER EASY and AWESOME refined sugar free caramel sauce: http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/2011/10/thanks-paleo-parents-for-this-great.html

  32. christine

    I just made the samoas, using my doughnut cutter I made 10 cookies. I saw I was suppose to get about 18, how big is your doughnut cutter? Thanks!

  33. Trsh

    This recipe is amazing! The cookies are truly addictive, and are somewhere between a twix bar and a samoa, full of chocolate, caramel, and coconut flavors. The second time I made them I just pressed the dough out in to the bottom of a (greased) 2 qt pyrex baking pan, and at 5 minutes in to baking I put chocolate bars on top of the dough base. When finished baking, I spread out the chocolate with a spatula, let everything cool and set (had to pop it in the fridge for the chocolate to totally set), scored with a knife, and used a spatula to scoop the bars out of baking dish (next time, I think i'll line the glass pan with aluminum, so I can just pull out the whole square together). Then it was simple to finish - flip the bars over (so the chocolate side is down), coat the "bare" side with caramel, coconut, and drizzle of chocolate, and cut down to square bite sized bits. This takes out the tedious efforts of cutting out the cookies, dipping the bottoms, waiting for them to cool, etc.

    Of course, now that half the work is taken out of this recipe, there's even more of an incentive to make it and these oh-so-good-but-not-the-greatest-thing-for-your-blood-sugar treats around!

    To be honest, I accidentally screwed up and put in 3x the amount of Agave syrup... so I just tripled the recipe, poured the extra caramel in to a buttered 13x9 pan, and now I have caramels I can give away to people! I figured that was better than tossing the whole thing and starting over - agave is expensive, after all! The caramels turned out great, and I didn't have to do any extra cooking of the sugar, etc.

    Thanks for a great recipe :)

  34. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    repinned! they look amazing! thanks for sharing this creative and fab recipe!

  35. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

    Umm....you have just tempted me beyond what you can possibly know! Just shared on my facebook page :-)!

  36. kelly

    I make caramel by using equal parts ghee and honey, you can boil it to different stages (I do it by color), darker is harder, lighter is softer. You can add cream to make it a sauce, or boil til dark and cool til hard and break (I then let melted dark chocolate and chopped nuts go onto and make bark)

  37. RE

    The caramel sauce recipe turns out amazing! I needed dairy free caramel and I've given up refined sugars and want my toddler son to enjoy it ... So this worked beautiful for my family!

  38. Rachel

    The sugar and the almonds are a problem for me, but these look great!

  39. SK

    I made these for a holiday cookie exchange party. Holy geeze they're AMAZING. Totally worth the effort. I doubled the recipe and had SO much caramel left over. I'm not sure what I'm going to make with that yet, but thank you for helping me prove to my gluten loving friends that GF/DF can be just as freaking delicious!

  40. Amanda

    I have made a few recipes from your site now (I like to bake, but not NEAR as much as YOU seem to!), and I just made these since my husband misses Samoas and I do too. We are Paleo diet people. :)

    Needless to say, I seem to be defeating the point of them being 'healthi-ER' by eating 4 in a sitting! HA! They are sooooooooooo good. I put up a photo of them on Facebook and posted the link to the page so people could come to your site here and see them (hope that's okay)!

    I did have one issue, but not really to do with YOU, maybe you can help? I had a half bag of organic carob chips and whole bag of organice semi-sweet chips from Whole Foods' 365 brand. I had trouble melting them down. Both reacted... strange. The 365 brand made my microwave smoke up, and they didn't melt so much... but developed hard burnt black chunks in the bowl. So the carob chips I melted in a sauce pan for a safer bet... That sort of worked, and they melted, but it was clear that if I didn't use the melted chocolate SUPER SUPER FAST, it was going to harden and clump and NOT re-soften again.

    Do I need to ONLY use the brand you use? Are the brands I used messed up? Or is it a function of the way I am heating them? I just wanted a chocolate that would stay melty long enough to be super easy to work with... then set when it was time. But it turned out to be the biggest pain! Any recommendations for the next time I make them?

  41. Amanda

    Thank you, that helps!!! :)

  42. Heather

    Hmmm....I wonder if coconut sugar would work for these....I think I'm just going to have to try it to find out :)

  43. Erika

    My daughter is one of those girl scouts that can't eat the cookies she sells. She has a life threatening allergy to dairy. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes with the world. I recently found your site & have fallen head over heels in LOVE with the chocolate chunk cookies. I look forward to trying this one soon. Thanks again!

  44. Leslie

    Thank you for this Brittany. Your recipes are a Godsend for me. We have been corn free, diary free and egg free before, but I have just recently cut out grains. No grains + no eggs had me really overwhelmed. I tried your biscuit recipe and the breakfast cookies yesterday. WOW! They were both so tasty, and beautiful too! I am also a girl scout leader and we will not be cheating and eating any of the cookies this year. My daughter was so excited when I told her that you had a recipe for Samoas! It's really hard to sell so many yummy cookies and not get to eat any. THANK YOU!!!! I wouldn't have known where to start without you. I am not feeling stuck and bummed about cooking anymore. Bring on the new challenge! With your recipes to jump off from, I can still be a foodie and be healthy too! :) Thank you Thank you THANK YOU!

    Leslie

  45. Kelly Bowen

    FYI - I use Xylitol for caramel and it works great. It's a little light in color - but this time I used Coconut nectar and it gave a great light brown color. (There are actually some commercial Xylitol caramels - Dr. John's sugar-free caramels, I got for Yule. Quite yummy.)

    I loved your caramel recipe - my only change was 1cup of Xylitol instead of 1.25 cups of other sweetener.

    Thanks for posting your recipe!

  46. Brenda

    Hi find you can replace the refined sugar with Zyla. Tastes the same as sugar without the sugar! :)

  47. Sue in CA

    Hi, these look so yummy! I also avoid all sugars and will replace most sugar for baking with Swerve. Maria Emmerich has a recipe/video on how to make caramel sauce with no sugar ...
    http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/2012/09/caramel-apple-crisp-ice-cream-and.html

    I will definitely make your Samoas but use Maria's caramel sauce recipe ... thumbs up from me, thanks for sharing your recipe!

  48. Amy

    Just made these today - wow!! They are delicious!! Best allergen free baking I've attempted to date. I had great success with everything except the caramel. It took a long, long time to come to temperature, and then it separated on me - I had a decent layer of oil on top that wouldn't incorporate into the rest. I poured off the oil and then scooped the caramel to top the cookies, and it tasted great, but the oiliness bothers me. I'm not a candy maker - any idea what I might have done wrong? I'm looking to make a bunch of these for a GS event and I'd like to feel more confident that I can pull it off.

  49. Grain-Free Samoa Cookies - FabFitFun

    […] Courtesy of brittanyangell.com […]

  50. MacKennea

    Ahh! Thank you SO much for this recipe! I am gluten, dairy, corn, and soy intolerant, but I always buy Girl Scout cookies (because the girls are just too cute to say no to) and give them to my family. Now I can enjoy my own version! Happy Day! :D

  51. Melaine Metas

    Awesome!! Very very awesome!! Do you think it's possible to make lemonades Girl Scout cookies? It's my mom's favorite flavor, and I would love to make them.

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