Homemade Samoa Cookies

You can enjoy Homemade Samoa Cookies all year long with this recipe! No need to wait for Girl Scout Cookie Season! 
Homemade Samoa Cookies. Shortbread cookies topped with caramel, coconut, and chocolate

The cookie season for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles begins tomorrow.  I was unaware a cookie season even existed.  To me, cookies are in season for baking and sharing all year along.

Check out the Girl Scouts official website to find out when these famous cookies are for sale in your neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I cannot wait until tomorrow.  I need my Samoa cookie fix now.

With winter weather upon us, I love how these Samoa cookies make me feel like I’m on vacation. They taste like I’m lounging on the beach in the Bahamas or in the tropics somewhere.

 The sweet coconut with the rich caramel and the decadent chocolate all on a buttery shortbread cookie just screams summer and fun.

Homemade Samoa Cookies. Shortbread cookies topped with caramel, coconut, and chocolate

Shortbread Cookies with Coconut, Caramel, and Chocolate

I’m not going to lie.  These are one of the most time consuming, labor intensive cookies I have tried to make.  

These Samoa cookies are not difficult to make, it just takes a bit of preparation and patience due to its many components and extended cooling times.

Do not be discouraged.  If I can muster up the courage and patience to attack this cookie recipe, so can you!

Trust me, it’ll be well worth it in the end.  Once you get a bite of these delicious little things, you’ll forget about all the time you slaved in the kitchen. You’ll brag to your friends and family about how easy it was to make.

Homemade Samoa Cookies. Shortbread cookies topped with caramel, coconut, and chocolate

Samoa Cookies Components:

  • Shortbread Dough
  • Coconut Caramel Topping
  • Dipping Chocolate

Shortbread Dough

Use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer to beat together the shortbread cookie dough. Chill the dough in the fridge for 3o minutes, or quicken the process by freezing for 15 minutes.

The dough uses very few ingredients. Much of its flavor comes from the butter and vanilla. As such, use fresh, high-quality butter. 

At all costs, do not use imitation vanilla extract. I suggest using vanilla paste, but high quality pure vanilla extract works just as well.  

Coconut Caramel Topping

The coconut caramel topping is a very simple mixture. Toasted sweetened shredded coconut is folded with an easy caramel sauce made from sugar, butter, and cream. 

Dipping Chocolate

I suggest using dark chocolate. The slight bitterness of dark chocolate helps to cut through the sweetness of the coconut caramel topping. 

To keep the chocolate in temper, gently melt the chocolate in the microwave at half power, or over a simmering double boiler.

Be careful not to overheat the chocolate! Overheated chocolate will be taken out of temper. This will result in cloudy, grainy looking chocolate as it dries. 

Homemade Samoa Cookies. Shortbread cookies topped with caramel, coconut, and chocolate

With February 14th just around the corner, I think these are the perfect sweets to send to your Valentine. A box of chocolate and a bouquet of flowers are outdated.  

Valentine’s Day requires something special, something out of the ordinary, like these wonderfully delightful cookies.

Now that I’ve gotten my share of Samoa cookies, I’ll be on the hunt for Thin Mints and Tagalongs tomorrow.  Perhaps I’ll make a batch of these homemade Thin Mints later this week! 

Homemade Samoa Cookies

Yield: makes 3 dozen

Servings 36 cookies
Author Maryanne Cabrera


Shortbread Cookie Dough:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons whole milk


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 cups sweetened dried shredded coconut, toasted

Dipping Chocolate:

  • 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped


Shortbread Cookie Dough:

  1.  Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  3. All flour mixture to butter mixture. Add milk and mix until dough has formed. Divide the dough into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes.

  4.  Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare parchment lined sheet trays.

  5. Roll out chilled dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles using a floured 2 1/2 inch cutter. Punch out an inner with a smaller cutter of your choice. Lay the cookie cutouts on the parchment lined sheet trays and bake for 12-15 minutes until firm and lightly golden. Let rest on sheet tray until cool to the touch and then transfer to cooling racks.


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.  Line sheet tray with parchment paper.

  2. Spread coconut into a thin and even layer on prepared sheet tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pan and stir coconut. Continue to bake at 5 minute intervals, rotating the pan and stirring the coconut until golden in color. Once toasted, let cool to room temperature.

  3. In a medium sauce pan, add sugar. Cook over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt. Once sugar begins in liquefy, reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Do not over agitate the sugar, but swirl the pan once in a while to make sure sugar melts evenly. Continue to melt the sugar until liquid is amber brown and aromatic.

  4. Add butter to sauce pan. Whisk until all the butter has melted.

  5. Remove sauce pan from heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Continue to whisk until cream and sugar mixture are homogeneous. Be careful, once you add the cream, the sugar mixture will bubble and rise quite a bit. Be sure the sauce pan is away from heat before you add the cream.

  6. Continue to whisk until caramel is thick and smooth. Let cool until slightly warm to the touch. Reserve about 1/4-1/3 cup of the caramel in a separate bowl. Then add the salt and toasted coconut. Fold into the coconut until thoroughly distributed.

Dipping Chocolate:

  1. Slowly melt chocolate in the microwave.  Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 45 seconds on full power.  Stir chocolate and continue to heat at 30 second intervals at half power until chocolate is melted.  Make sure not to overheat the chocolate which will bring it out of temper.


  1. Once shortbread cookies are cool, dip one side into reserved caramel sauce.  Then spread about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of coconut caramel mixture on top of cookie.  Dipping the cookie first into the reserved caramel sauce helps the coconut mixture to adhere to the cookie.  Let cool on rack.

  2. Dip the bottoms of the cookies into the melted chocolate. Let cool on rack upside down (coconut mixture side down) until chocolate has hardened and set.

  3. Once chocolate is set, turn cookie right side up. Transfer remaining dipping chocolate into a small parchment bag or piping bag. Cut a small tip and drizzle chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Let cookies sit out until drizzled chocolate has set and then enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Keep cookies in an airtight container for up to three days.

Love the combination of coconut and chocolate? Here are a few favorite recipes:

  • Coconut Cream Tart

A tropical take on banana cream tart, this coconut cream tart is layered with coconut caramel, coconut pastry cream, and toasted shredded coconut. 

  • Coconut Walnut Baklava

A variation on the traditional baklava, this coconut walnut baklava features shredded coconut, toasted walnuts, and orange honey syrup.

  • Chocolate Caramel Coconut Cake

This chocolate caramel coconut cake is comprised of two coconut cake layers with a shredded coconut caramel filling. The cake is finished with both chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache

Homemade Samoa Cookies
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These have always been my favorite girl scoot cookies…I’m totally trying these!!! :)


This is a delicious reminder for the girl scouts. I always try to buy a few boxes every year, but I prefer homemade cookies. I have seen samoa cookie recipes before but I am not sure if I have saved this particular one. It sure does make for one awesome looking cookie. I will save this just to make sure-better a duplicate than not at all. Tempting pictures-thanks for sharing this.

    the little epicurean

    Thanks! I prefer homemade cookies as well, especially because it doesn’t have all the preservatives some boxed cookies have.

    adriana sanchez-black

    Totally made this recipe. It’s perfect. My husband thanks you.

Angela @ Mind Over Batter

Samoa cookies are my favorite girl scout cookie. Yes, these are very time consuming to make, but OH so worth it at the end. I’m getting dreamy eyed just thinkin’ about ’em…

    the little epicurean

    They are my favorite girl scout cookies, too! OMG, I clicked onto your blog and I am in love with your DIY cinnamon chips!


You mean, I can make them anytime I want now? Great recipe!


these look delish. I am so happy to be following you because you have so many great ideas. I will have to pin this so I can keep coming back. Thanks for sharing.

    the little epicurean

    You are very welcome! Thank you for following me! I hope you’ll be able to make the cookie sometime :)


my gosh, these look amazing! good job!

Patti Davis

Oh, you wicked girl. These are my downfall. And now I know how to make them at home. I’m doomed. Doomed, I say! ;-)

    the little epicurean

    Don’t worry they are my weakness too. Save a couple cookies for yourself and give the rest away. You won’t be doomed. I promise :)

Millissa G.

I can’t wait to try these! Thank you so much!
I’ve found a recipe on marthastewart.com that rivals the thin mint. Also labor intensive, but worth it! I last out the candy canes and used dark chocolate rather than white. I hope you enjoy them!


These look like the real thing. Actually they look better than the real thing and come to the table with no preservatives. Your recipe will beput to good use. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took sometime to browse through your earlier posts. I’m so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    the little epicurean

    Thank you so much, Mary! I’m glad you found my site. I look forward to hearing about what recipes you end up trying :) Have a great week!


Thanks for this – I tried these out today, though I did have to substitute desiccated coconut as I live in the UK, and it took two tries to get the caramel right, as I am new to making caramel. My husband and kids all loved them.


Mary Anne, I found this recipe awhile back for homemade thin mints. Haven’t tried it yet but I’m a fan of her cooking. Not sure how her pastry skills are, but I’m sure she wouldn’t post a sub-par recipe. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001370.html.

By the way, your linzer cookies were the best I’ve ever had, I can’t stop raving about them. My boyfriend wants to know if you’d consider shipping your goodies out here in NYC and we’ll pay you for them! Can you send me the recipe again? I don’t know what my mom did with it.

the little epicurean

Thanks for the thin mints recipe! I’ll definitely have to try those out.

So glad you enjoyed the linzer cookies! What’s your email address so I can send you the recipe? In the meantime, I have a linzer torte recipe that’s pretty similar at https://www.thelittleepicurean.com/2011/09/linzer-torte.html

I’m not sure how well the cookies would hold up in shipping. I’ve never mailed cookies before, haha but I’d love to try :)


Oh man, these were my favorite childhood girl scout cookies!! I love this idea so much. Yum.

Samantha Prestwich

thanks for sharing! can’t wait to try these once the kid is in bed. I love homemade thin mints – they are just about the easiest (and most delicious) cookies you can ever make. Melt a bag of Andes mints (you can usually find a bag of broken bits by the chocolate chips in the baking aisle). Then dip Ritz crackers in the melted chocolate, and let cool on wax paper. They are amazingly yummy and are every bit as good as the girl scout ones without the ridiculous prices.



I found your recipe by Googling a cookie that we used to get up here in Canada and they were to die for, we called them Chew Chews. They were exactly the same as your Samoa cookies but our Girl Guides (Scouts for you) don’t sell them and never have. Ours were made by Mr. Christy!

You were looking for a thin mint recipe and I thought it only fair to give you a recipe my Grandmother gave to me, we used to make this together when I was a child.

Mint Wafers

1 cup Real Fondant (recipe to follow)
2 tsp water
1/4 tsp (approx) peppermint extract
3 or 4 drops of green or red food colouring (for mint green & pink colour)

Break up fondant in top of double boiler. Place over water over medium-low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon as fondant melts. Stir in water, peppermint extract and food colouring, adding more if desired. When fondant is smooth and reaches a temperature of 105° F (40° C)on candy thermometer, remove from heat but keep top of double broiler over lower pan to keep fondant soft.

Drop about 1 tsp of fondant at a time onto waxed paper lined baking sheet to form small round wafers or patties. Let cool. Store in airtight waxed paper lined container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Makes about 48

Real Fondant

3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt

In large saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil steadily, brushing down sides of pan several times with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil until soft-ball stage is reached (240° F/116° C on candy thermometer). Remove from heat and let bubbles subside.

Pour mixture onto marble slab or ungreased baking sheet. Let cool slightly. With metal spatula, take mixture from the center to the edge. Let cool to lukewarm. With wooden spoon and spatula, beat fondant vigorously, pulling it to center in figure 8 movement until mixture suddenly becomes white and creamy. (If mixture becomes hard and very sugary, gather it into 4 small balls and knead each one with lightly buttered hands until very smooth and creamy. Combine into one large ball for storage.) Gather into a ball and knead with lightly buttered hands until smooth and creamy.

Pack fondant into bowl or jar. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least overnight (preferably 2 to 3 days) to mellow. Makes about 1 1/2 lbs.


These were a lot of work, but mostly because I did everything in one afternoon while the kids were napping. :) I think I totally lucked out on my batch of caramel, despite having to simmer it a bit after adding the cream so it would thicken. I also made it a little easier by rolling the cookie dough into a log, chilling, slicing, and baking them. They still taste absolutely fabulous, even though they look a little different.


I want to make these cookie, but I can not find vanilla paste. Where did you find it?

    the little epicurean

    I bought mine from a restaurant supply warehouse. You can find it in stores and online from Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table. You can also just swap in regular vanilla extract.


I am so excited to try these I love these cookies and so do my four siblings!!!

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