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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ;)
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!Print
For the shortbread crust
For the caramel coconut filling
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8” square pan with parchment paper and grease with coconut oil.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Melt 1/2 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.
- Melt the remaining 1/4 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.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer – they’re delicious frozen!
Honey can be substituted for the maple syrup in equal amounts.