Samoa Bars (Gluten Free, Paleo + Vegan)

These Samoa Bars have a shortbread crust, a layer of toasted coconut caramel, and a dark chocolate drizzle! They’re a gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, and guilt-free way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookie.

These Samoa Bars have a shortbread crust, a layer of toasted coconut caramel, and a dark chocolate drizzle! They're a gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, and guilt-free way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookie.What are your favorite Girl Scout cookies? Mine have always been a strong tie between Thin Mints and Samoas (or Caramel DeLites to some of you). They’re so different that I could never pick a fave and always ended up with both – sometimes with a box of Tagalongs thrown in for good measure.

Samoas have always had one of my favorite ever flavor combinations, though. For someone who absolutely adores shortbread cookies, caramel, chocolate, and toasted coconut in most forms, putting them all together was a genius move. In fact, it was one that was long over due to be replicated in my kitchen.

These Samoa Bars have a shortbread crust, a layer of toasted coconut caramel, and a dark chocolate drizzle! They're a gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, and guilt-free way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookie.I did make these Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies a while back, but those weren’t Samoa inspired. These Samoa Bars…well, they definitely definitely are.

So, let me tell you all about these beauties. Becuase although they are no doubt Samoa inspired, there’s some key differences. First, these are WAY healthier. As in, gluten-free + grain-free + refined sugar-free + vegan healthier.

These Samoa Bars have a shortbread crust, a layer of toasted coconut caramel, and a dark chocolate drizzle! They're a gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, and guilt-free way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookie.Second, they don’t taste like they’re all those healthier things, but they also aren’t exactly like the kind you get out of the box, which I think is a good thing. They’re thicker in all respects: thicker crust + thicker caramel. The shortbread crust is made with coconut flour which helps keep that telltale shortbread texture, but be sure to bake until golden so it replicates that crispy texture similar to Samoas.

The caramel coconut filling comes together quickly and simply. It’s made from almond butter, maple syrup, coconut butter, vanilla extract, salt, and toasted coconut. The toasted coconut is key to that Samoa texture and flavor.

The coconut butter also helps add to that awesome coconutty flavor, but if you don’t have it on hand or want to make it yourself, some coconut oil will do the trick.

These Samoa Bars have a shortbread crust, a layer of toasted coconut caramel, and a dark chocolate drizzle! They're a gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, and guilt-free way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookie.Once the “caramel” layer is set, you cut up the bars and dip them in chocolate, and then drizzle more chocolate on top. Because otherwise it just wouldn’t be a Samoa. The chocolate totally makes these and makes me want a second.

These Samoa Bars have a shortbread crust, a layer of toasted coconut caramel, and a dark chocolate drizzle! They're a gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, and guilt-free way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookie.I adored these at room temperature and after being refrigerated, but I hoarded some in the freezer and I think my favorite way to enjoy these is frozen! The shortbread gets extra crunchy and you can really taste the toasted coconut. If you’re craving Samoas but want them a little more guiltlessly, you must try these! Enjoy ;)

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Samoa Bars (Gluten Free, Paleo + Vegan)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 16 bars
Ingredients
For the shortbread crust
  • ⅔ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, solid
For the caramel coconut filling
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup coconut butter (coconut oil can be subbed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate, chopped
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8” square pan with parchment paper and grease with coconut oil.
  2. Combine coconut flour and salt in a bowl. Add the maple syrup and coconut oil and stir until fully combined and a large dough ball forms, making sure to press out any clumps of coconut oil. I used my hands at the end to bring the dough fully together - you want it to be completely smooth. You can also mix it in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  3. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
For the filling
  1. Combine the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut butter or oil, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and heat until all of the ingredients are melted and throughly combined. Alternatively, you can heat the ingredients in the microwave for 45 seconds, or until melted and smooth. Add the toasted coconut and stir in. Pour over the crust and let cool in the refrigerator until set. Cut in 16 squares.
  2. Melt ½ cup of the dark chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, and stir until smooth. Dip the bottom of each bar into the dark chocolate, scrape off the excess chocolate on the side of the bowl, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set.
  3. Melt the remaining ¼ cup dark chocolate in the microwave and transfer to a small piping bag or ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars.
  4. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer - they’re delicious frozen!
Notes
Honey can be substituted for the maple syrup in equal amounts.
These Samoa Bars have a shortbread crust, a layer of toasted coconut caramel, and a dark chocolate drizzle! They're a gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, and guilt-free way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookie.

Comments

  1. So would I be breaking any rules if I were to eat these bar beauties for breakfast?? Holy MOLY, Rachel!!! These samoa bars are nothing short of incredible. All that layer-y goodness is screaming my name and I must listen! ;) Gorgeous photos too, girl!
    Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven recently posted…Roasted Broccoli Lemon Spaghetti CarbonaraMy Profile

  2. My all time favorite is the thin mint out of the freezer but I never met a samoa cookie I didn’t like either, lol. These look amazing and the photos are beautiful, it looks like I could grab one through the screen (if only…). Take care.
    Stacey @ The Sugar Coated Cottage recently posted…Butterscotch Pecan Dacquoise CakeMy Profile

  3. Holy freaking smokes!!! I am dying over here! Samoas were my all time fave but I haven’t had any since my husband was diagnosed with Celiac. I have GOT to make these….like today! :)
    Annie recently posted…Lightened Up Tater Tot Casserole (gluten free)My Profile

  4. These bars look amazing! I love the samoa cookies so I know I’d go to chow town on these bars!
    Jen | Baked by an Introvert recently posted…Lemon Pepper Fish TacosMy Profile

  5. Gluten free and vegan? Wow! That sounds amazing!! Can’t imagine how good it must taste.
    Mary Frances recently posted…CommentsMy Profile

  6. Coconut everything is in these bars! Deliciousness- I can’t get enough of samoas :) Pinning!
    Medha (Whisk and Shout) recently posted…Roasted Asparagus and Arugula Salad with Grapefruit VinaigretteMy Profile

  7. Samoas, thin mints and the peanut butter ones were always my favorites!! These bars look sooo good! That crust! And the filling! haha Hope you had a great weekend!
    Ashley recently posted…Thai Green Curry with Broccoli and AsparagusMy Profile

  8. These bars sound absolutely delicious! wow and they are vegan too! yum!

  9. This is a treat and a half! So sweet looking and filled with some of my favorite flavors! Done! And pinned! :)
    annie@ciaochowbambina recently posted…Blueberry Mascarpone Pound Cake with Marinated BerriesMy Profile

  10. I am definitely going to try these the next time I need a gluten free treat! I love how the ingredients are all simple! I LOVE Samoa everything!
    Ashley | The Recipe Rebel recently posted…3 Ingredient Mason Jar Chocolate MousseMy Profile

  11. I always called those cookies Caramel Delights, and then it seemed like the name disappeared! Anyways, those and thin mints were always a favorite of mine. These bars look gorgeous, Rachel! I wish I could reach through my screen and grab a few!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Cinnamon Sugar PretzelsMy Profile

  12. You always make the most incredible desserts that are gluten free, vegan, and paleo! I feel like I need to experiment a little more because these bars look incredible, Rachel!
    Danielle recently posted…Blueberry Crumb BarsMy Profile

  13. Ever since you posted a teaser of this on your Instagram, I am been totally looking forward to this recipe! I am also torn between thin mints and samoas, they are seriously best of the Girl Scout Cookies no doubt. I got so much respect for you for doing all these paleo desserts! It’s amazing how you do it! Can’t wait to see more of your paleo recipes!
    linda // the baker who kerns recently posted…Almond Butter Chocolate Marble Pound Cake [GF + DF]My Profile

  14. My two favorites are Thin Mints and Samoa, too, and you’re a genius for making Samoa inspired bars that are Paleo! These look so good, Rachel, and I’m loving those pretty layers!
    marcie recently posted…Fruit Tart Vanilla CupcakesMy Profile

  15. Okay, can I just say that you are evil! In the best way possible, of course! These babies look absolutely amazing–and like a gift from above, they are gluten free–perfect for this weekend when my GF mother-in-law is in town. Thank you!

  16. These bars of goodness don’t look heathy at all, which I think is a sign you won in the dessert department.
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry recently posted…Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Lemon Zest and Black PepperMy Profile

  17. Thin mints and tagalongs were my favourite girl scout cookies when I lived in the states. But when I moved back to Canada, I realized I would forever miss out on the wonder that are the multiple flavours of american girl scout cookies. We only have three — vanilla sandwich, chocolate sandwich, and mint chocolate. And they’re not even sold at the same time!! :( These samoa bars look amazing!

  18. Samoas were my favorite GS cookie when I was little, back before I developed an allergy to cocoa. Sad, I know! And these bars are making me drool, big time! They actually look way better than the cookie, girlfriend! So much deliciousness! Pinned! Cheers!! ;)

  19. The caramel delights were always one of my favorites too! But, honestly, these look like 100 times better than them! And they sound so healthy! I love your photos :)

  20. These look amazing! I hadn’t heard of coconut butter but must get my hands on it – that + almond butter sounds perfect. And chocolate! We don’t actually have ‘samoa’ bars in NZ – do they actually have origins in the pacific island Samoa or were they just named that? Stunning photos too <3
    Claudia | The Brick Kitchen recently posted…Herbed Mushrooms on Baked Rosemary Ricotta Polenta ChipsMy Profile

    • Thanks Claudia!! Samoa bars are actually the name of a type of Girl Scout Cookie – I don’t actually think they have anything at all to do with the island, haha!

  21. Samoas are hands down my favorite but these bars look 1000X better! They are gorgeous, Rachel and I love that they are healthier and gluten free too! Seriously swooning over these!

  22. LOVE! Now I’m craving this cookie…:D Looks absolutely divine, Rachel!

  23. OMG I can’t believe these are gluten-free they are unreal!!! I can’t wait to try them!
    Layla | Gimme Delicious recently posted…Easy One Pan Baked Salmon with VeggiesMy Profile

  24. I looove Samoas and these bars are AMAZING!
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) recently posted…Strawberry Tartlets-Joanne’s Virtual Baby Shower!My Profile

  25. Hi, these look amazing! I was wondering if I could substitute vegan butter for the coconut oil in the shortbread? Or do you think that would ruin it? Thank you!

    • Hi Anahi, I haven’t actually ever used vegan butter, but I assume it will work just fine! Make sure it’s at room temperature. Enjoy.

  26. These look amazing!! Samoas were my favorite cookies when I was in girl scouts :)

  27. can i use chia seeds instead of the almond butter? I do not like the test of nuts in my desserts!

    • Hi Sarah. No, chia seeds are very different than almond butter. You can’t really taste the almonds distinctly in these bars, but really the only thing that would work here is any nut butter or sunflower seed butter.

  28. So mine were a total FAIL. They cracked, I couldn’t even cut them into squares. Mine also are not thick like yours.. mine came out super thin for some reason. I followed your exact directions. What did I do wrong :( Please help! Thank you!

    • Hi Ana. So sorry to hear you had trouble! Unfortunately, without more info, I’m not sure exactly what went wrong. As for why they would be thin, did you use the correct sized pan? That’s the only reason I could think of why they would be thinner. When you say they cracked, do you mean the chocolate when you cut them? If you can provide any more info, it would help me figure out what went wrong.

  29. I am always looking for tasty gluten-free baking recipes. Thanks for sharing :D

  30. They look so yummy, and who can resist coconut?! Almost reminds me of twix bars

  31. I made the samoa bars and they are wonderful! My only challenge was that the topping (caramel) separated from the base. The top does get soft quickly so I think I would freeze them up until serving time.

    • I’m so glad you liked them, Annette! They definitely do need to be kept cool in the fridge or freezer to keep the top from softening too much. Thanks for your feedback!

  32. deanna walimaki says:

    I made this recipe for camping last weekend and I love it. I got compliments on it too for those that tried it and don’t actually eat Paleo. Best of all my hubby is eating off the leftovers and its a healthy dessert. So Win Win Win!! I actually think it tastes better at room temp versus cold. The pictured bars above looks like she made extra caramel coconut sauce because these came out thin for me. Which was totally fine. I didn’t dip the bottoms in chocolate but I poured the chocolate on top because my choc sauce came out thinner (I added raw cacao butter to my chocolate). Also I had my homemade almond butter -still tasted really good. I wonder if its different with store bought almond butter. I will be making these again! :)

    • Hi Deanna, I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! I loved these at room temperature too, but I recommend keeping them cool just because the filling can get soft if it’s too warm out. The amounts listed are what was photographed, but it’s possible your pan may have been a bit bigger than mine, which could have made them thinner. Thanks for your feedback! :)

  33. I just made these and they are DIVINE!!!
    Seriously, even better than the real thing! I don’t think I’ve ever made a “knock-off” version of something that tasted so real! YUM!

  34. I made these tonight and they were AMAZING! My wife, who doesn’t usually care for desserts with a significant amount of coconut oil, loved them as well.

    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed them, Rande! Thanks for sharing your feedback. A note for the future – do you use virgin coconut oil? Virgin has coconut flavor, and if that’s what your wife doesn’t love, refined coconut oil can always be used in it’s place.

  35. Recipe sounds awesome… Quick question- can I use sea salt instead of kosher salt?
    Thanks!

  36. One more question! Did you use salted or unsalted almond butter? Thanks!

    • I pretty much always use unsalted so I can control the salt amount – if you only have salted, just don’t add any extra salt (or salt to taste). Enjoy!

  37. Anything which is gluten free eat it :P liked your samoa bars recipe :D. Bookmarked this page to learn some awesome baking stuff :D

  38. These are AMAZING one of the only treats my son with tons of food allergies can eat. Thank you so much!!!! We can’t have any tree nuts so we substituted Sunbutter and used dairy free chocolate. We will keep our eyes out for more egg free, dairy free, nut free, and gluten free recipes!!

  39. Very delicious. I only used 5 tablespoons of maple syrup in entire recipe and they were the perfect sweetness. I added some more coconut flour and coconut oil to make the crust since the first time I made them, the bottom was way too thin. Will make time and time again!

  40. Should I be using refined or unrefined coconut oil?

    • Either works – unrefined will leave more of a coconut flavor though, so if you prefer less of a coconut flavor, use refined.

Trackbacks

  1. […] GET THE RECIPE […]

  2. […] by the smashing successes of these homemade Peanut Butter Cups + the Girl Scout Cookie copycat Samoa Bars, I’ve been thinking of lots of candy-inspired but totally healthified recipes to make for […]

  3. […] Samoa Bars You might have missed out on the Girl Scout version, but we have the healthier version right here! This take is gluten and grain-free, dairy-free, and vegan — perfect for those who want something to nibble on without the shame. […]

  4. […] over the Twix Bar success, I channeled that energy towards one of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies: Samoa Bars. I just posted these, but a couple of you have already shared your love of these with me and sent […]

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