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Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookies (a.k.a. Caramel deLites)

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You asked on Facebook, and I am here to deliver. Truth be told, I was really hoping there would be more votes for the Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties. But when I posted my Dairy-Free Thin Mint recipe, and asked what other Girl Scout cookies you would like to see a recipe for, the response for a Samoa girl scout cookie recipe (or Caramel deLites) was overwhelming.

So do they taste like authentic Samoa cookies? Um, well, I couldn’t tell you … I’ve never actually had a Girl Scout Caramel deLite cookie. But, I can tell you that they taste really darn good …

Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Recipe

Since I’d never tried Samoas, I needed a girl scout cookie recipe model to work from. However, I was surprised how few recipes I found for this cookie, and how so many of them weren’t true to form. I found bar versions that didn’t even have a chocolate base (how could I deny you of an extra chocolate layer?), I found recipes that were void of the shortbread base (true, I would have been happy without the shortbread, but I know how you all love it), and in Vegan Cookies, she skips the caramel topping altogether (a bit sacrilegious don’t you think?).

Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Recipe

I did my best to stay loyal to the original cookie, but of course had to change up the recipe a bit to make it dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan. Okay, okay, I skipped the hole in the middle too.

I mean, that’s a little nit-picky don’t you think? And you get more per cookie with my simple round version. If you must, use a straw or some other small circular instrument and painstakingly remove a hole from the center of the fragile shortbread dough. But when you start cursing like a sailor, don’t say I didn’t offer an easier solution!

Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Recipe

Vegan Samoa Girl Scout Cookies (a.k.a. Caramel deLites)
 
This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, and I suppose you could make it Gluten-Free by using your favorite GF flour blend in place of the plain flour.
Author:
Serves: 2 dozen

Ingredients
Shortbread Cookies (Adapted from Baking Bites)
  • ½ Cup Dairy-Free Margarine (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free)
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk Alternative (I just used a little of the coconut milk that I had opened for the caramel topping, but use whichever plain or vanilla milk alternative that you like)
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 to 1-1/4 Cups Flour
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Salt
Caramel-Coconut Topping (Adapted from the Dulce de Coco recipe in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook)
  • 1 Cup Regular Canned Coconut Milk (I use the full-fat version, not light)
  • ⅔ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 Cups Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (or use sweetened coconut if you prefer a more sugary treat)
Samoa Assembly
  • 1 Cup Dairy-Free, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips(I used Dream Chocolate Chips – these do contain soy lecithin, use Enjoy Life brand if lecithin is a problem for you)
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (optional)

Instructions
Shortbread Cookies
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the margarine, milk alternative, sugar, and vanilla, until creamy. Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder, and the salt, and mix until well combined. Add in up to ¼ cup of additional flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  3. Roll or pat the dough out on a floured surface until it is ⅛ to ¼-inch thick. Using a 1-1/4-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut the cookies out and move to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. I actually (gently) cut the cookie dough right on my silicon baking mat, since the cookie dough can be hard to move.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they just begin to brown around the edges. Let cool while you prepare the caramel topping.
Caramel-Coconut Topping
  1. Combine the coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer or low boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Keep an eye to be sure it doesn’t threaten to boil over. Uncover and continue to let it slowly boil / simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should become somewhat thick, like a caramel sauce … but keep in mind, it will thicken more as it cools and when you add all of that coconut!
  2. Remove the caramel mixture from the heat, and stir in the vanilla, followed by the coconut. I used all of the coconut, which made it very thick, and almost dough-like to handle.
Samoa Assembly
  1. Top each shortbread cookie with the caramel-coconut mixture. I use it all up, making a fairly thick layer of topping. My topping was thick, so I wet my hands (to prevent sticking) and pressed it down to evenly cover the tops of the shortbread.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil, if using. I place them in a bowl and put them in the microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir vigorously until smooth. You may need more or less time in the microwave … just make sure you do not overheat the chocolate … it burns easily.
  3. Dip the shortbread bases in the chocolate. You can either coat just the bottoms, or submerge up to the caramel layer. I tried both, the submerged picture is above, and the “just coated” version is below …
  4. Place them chocolate side down on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to firm up. Then, somehow drizzle the tops of the cookies (over the caramel layer) with chocolate. I’ve read that you can do this with a fork … but that didn’t work for me. For the pretties results, piping the chocolate on would work best. I just sort of drizzled it on.
  5. Let the cookies sit in a cool area so that the chocolate can set up. Usually this will happen at room temperature, but my husband had our heat set on “melt chocolate” that day (15 degrees outside, well over 70 degrees inside), so I placed them in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

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About Alisa Fleming

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry. Follow me on Google+.

View all posts by Alisa Fleming →

Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living

14 Comments

  1. AllergicBoy.comDecember 5, 2012 at 5:09 pmReply

    Wow! That look yummy!

  2. Flourless Sesame Almond Cookies Recipe | Apron StringsJanuary 21, 2013 at 11:04 pmReply

    [...] Sweet Potato Cookies, Go Dairy Free Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies, Family Fresh Cooking Samoa Girl Scout Cookies, Go Dairy [...]

  3. Amanda MackenzieFebruary 2, 2013 at 5:28 amReply

    Hey there, just wanted to let ya know that this recipe worked really well for me. I was taking part in a cookie trade thru my husbands work at Christmas and they have a co worker there that is hypersensitive to a lot of stuff so I ended up finding this recipe and making a triple batch. Well they were the biggest hit in the place. I even now have requests for more of these little wonders so thank you so much for this wonderful recipe I will be making these for years to com I’m sure.

  4. Cookies Galore!February 10, 2013 at 5:47 pmReply

    [...] This is the recipe. [...]

  5. saraFebruary 13, 2013 at 7:56 pmReply

    These did not turn out for me. My caramel didn’t thicken much. Are you supposed to let it cool completely before putting onto the shortbread? The measurements seemed off for me as well. I feel like I have a ton of the caramel mixture and not enough cookie base.

    • Alisa FlemingFebruary 14, 2013 at 8:07 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Sara, it sounds like one or two things happened: the caramel mixture was not cooked long enough (it still needs to reduce down, and times may vary by humidity, stoves, etc.) and/or full fat canned coconut milk wasn’t used (this recipe will not work with light canned coconut milk or coconut milk beverage – it must be canned, full fat coconut milk). I do let it cool prior to topping the shortbread, but if you had way too much of it, then I’m thinking the other two things that I noted are more of the issue. Use full fat, and cook it down until it is thick and caramel-like. Once you had the coconut and let it cool, it is VERY thick.

  6. Kimberly SladeFebruary 20, 2013 at 5:36 pmReply

    I have been craving samoa’s watching my husband and son eat our nine boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I have a milk allergy and can’t have gluten or wheat. I made these tonight and after the first bite was not disappointed. These were probably the best treat I have had since being diagnosed with my allergies. Thank you sooooo much for this amazing recipe!

    • Alisa FlemingFebruary 21, 2013 at 7:07 amReplyAuthor

      That’s wonderful Kimberly, I’m so glad they brought a smile to your face and your tummy :)

  7. Dairy-Free Girl Scout Cookies: Yes, They Do Exist! - Go Dairy FreeFebruary 27, 2013 at 12:03 pmReply

    [...] Dairy-Free Samoa (or Caramel DeLites) Girl Scout Cookies Recipe (also vegan) [...]

  8. AlessandraMarch 2, 2013 at 5:55 pmReply

    Thanks for this recipe. Just tried it with Bobs gluten free flour in place of wheat flour and it worked fine. However it is very delicate and you have to bake a few extra min!

  9. StephanieSeptember 6, 2013 at 9:03 amReply

    I had a can of full fat coconut milk and was looking for a cookie recipe. First of all, these are my favorite Girl Scout cookies ever! My son is casein intolerant so we live dairy free. I loved loved loved these cookies. I didn’t have enough coconut flakes but used what I had and they turned out great! You were right about watching the milk/brown sugar/salt. I step away for a second and it boiled over. :) other than that everything was just as you said. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes. You don’t even know what a blessing they are to kids and those of us dairy free.

    • Alisa FlemingSeptember 6, 2013 at 6:32 pmReplyAuthor

      Aw, you put a smile on my face Stephanie. I’m so happy that my recipe could put a smile on your face and your son, too :)

  10. Melt in your Mouth Monday: Making your own Girl Scout Cookies | Kelly Fiore WritesOctober 20, 2013 at 10:41 pmReply

    […] Recipe adapted from Go Dairy Free – to see the original recipe, go here: http://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/samoa-girl-scout-cookie-recipe […]

  11. Vegan Girl Scout cookies are here!May 18, 2014 at 12:12 pmReply

    […] Samoas/Caramel deLites Recipe: http://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/samoa-girl-scout-cookie-recipe Tagalongs Recipe: http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4248&catId=11 Samoas […]

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