Yesterday my husband brought home a box of contraband — an assortment of Girl Scout cookies. I support the Girl Scouts, but their cookies are nothing but junk. I always thought they had decent flavors, but their cookies taste like preservatives to me. Although not as convenient, homemade cookies are always better!
I was going to call these cookies the new name for the beloved Girl Scout cookies, Caramel De-lites, but I just couldn’t do it. They will forever be Samoas to me, so that’s what I’m calling them. I also have a healthier version of Thin Mints!
As I mentioned above, the Girl Scout Samoas are full of preservatives and junk ingredients, so my healthier version doesn’t taste exactly like theirs. I use real, mostly nutritious ingredients. The shortbread cookie mainly consists of almond flour, coconut flour, Earth Balance, and maple syrup. The caramel is a mixture of low-glycemic coconut nectar and tahini, I toasted my own (unsweetened) coconut flakes, and I melted vegan semisweet chocolate chips for the chocolate drizzle and bottom coating. They’re good for you and they taste good — a win-win!
If you look at other vegan versions of this cookie, you might notice that many of them use date paste to make their caramel. This is fine if you like dates, but I’ve found that a) I can always taste the dates, and b) they are very messy to use. I’ve recently discovered a vegan caramel that I love, and it’s also so much easier to make (no soaking dates or gooping up your food processor!). All you do is stir together coconut nectar (sold with the honey, agave, etc.), tahini (sesame paste), and a pinch of sea salt. It’s the right texture, color, and the taste is pretty darn close. I mean, look at how beautiful this caramel is!
I went to the trouble of pressing my dough into a round cookie cutter and poking a hole into the middle with the end of a small spoon so my cookies would look like Samoas. This takes more time than just patting out flat cookies with your hands, so I also made the lazy version of these cookies for those of you who would like to expedite the cookie making process to get to the face stuffing part. This version is also acceptable.
Samoas (Vegan and GF)
- 1 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup + 1 T. coconut flour
- 1 T. sorghum flour
- 1/4 t. fine sea salt
- Scant 1/2 cup melted Earth Balance or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, or agave
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- Caramel: 2 T. tahini, 2 1/2 T. coconut nectar, pinch sea salt
- 1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut flakes out onto a baking sheet and toast about 2 minutes. Watch carefully, because they can burn quickly! You want them to be golden, but not brown. Set aside.
- For the shortbread, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, sorghum flour, and salt in a small mixing bowl. In another bowl, stir together the Earth Balance, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry, and stir until a dough forms. Form small balls of dough with your hands and either press them into flattened circles (they don’t spread when baked) onto the baking sheet or press them into a round cookie cutter and use a small handle or finger to poke a hole in the middles. Bake 9-11 minutes, until the bottom edges appear golden. Let cool on the baking sheet.
- While the cookies are in the oven, transfer the toasted coconut flakes to a food processor and pulse a few times until they are broken unto small flakes. Set aside.
- Stir together the caramel ingredients, transfer the caramel to a small sandwich bag, and cut off the corner to produce an opening about 1/3 inch wide.
- After the cookies have cooled, take the caramel bag and pipe a circle on top of each cookie. Now liberally sprinkle the coconut flakes over each cookie and press down to push the coconut into the caramel and spread out the caramel. Take each cookie, turn it upside down, and tap it once or twice to remove the unattached coconut flakes.
- In a pyrex measuring cup (or other microwave-safe container), heat the chocolate chips in 20-second increments until completely melted. Pour into a sandwich bag and cut off a small corner, about 1/8 inch wide. Pick up each cookie and pipe a generous amount quickly on the bottom, put it on wax paper, then pipe a few stripes across the top. Allow to set at room temperature, or transfer to the fridge to set quickly. Enjoy!
These cookies barely made it 24 hours in my house. Sorry, Girl Scouts! 🙂