Gluten-Free Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

Gluten-Free Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

A close up of a Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

Sorry, Girl Scouts, but you have forsaken us. We have no choice but to take matters into our own hands. These gluten-free Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel Delights) are way, way better than the original. And the original is one great cookie. But these are better for one main reason: coconut chips. Shredded coconut tastes like dental floss. Coconut chips (which I buy in my local health food store, and sometimes on amazon) are nice, big flakes of shaved coconut. When you toast it, and then crush it, you’ll never wanna touch the shredded stuff again.

A row of Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

The shortbread cookie hiding underneath that coconut-caramel layer and all that chocolate must be hearty and it must be snappy. Resist the urge to add more butter to the dough to make it pliable! If it’s super simple to roll out, it has too much butter and it will bubble and spread as it bakes. Trust me – I’m a pseudo-professional with a culinary degree from a crackerjack box. Oh, just trust my rather unfortunate recent experience, if nothing else. I messed up many, many times on the cookie alone before I got the proportions just right.

Overhead view of Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

And these are juuuuuuust right. Here’s how it’s done, sister:

Bowl of topping next to cookieA close up of coconut flakesOverhead view of Samoas Girl Scout CookiesSamoas Girl Scout Cookies in 4 rowsA group of Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

Don’t forget the drizzle on top. It’s just not the same without it.

Samoas Girl Scout Cookies coated in chocolate drip

Try one of these, and then tell me you’re missing what’s missing. Go on! I dare you. Tell the Girl Scouts to take a page out of THIS book! Here’s the printable recipe, with all the details. Read it allllll the way through before you get started.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 24 cookies


1 3/4 cups (245 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used my Better Than Cup4Cup blend)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 to 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

Coconut Caramel Layer
6 ounces unsweetened coconut flakes/chips

8 ounces soft caramels

1 to 2 tablespoons milk, as necessary

Chocolate Dipping Layer
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • Make the Cookies. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter and 1 tablespoon water, and mix to combine. The dough will be a bit dry, and you will have to knead it with your hands to get it to come together. If necessary for the dough to hold together, add a second tablespoon of water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Press the dough into a disk, and then place the disk between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper and roll the dough between 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 2 inch rounds with a cookie cutter, then cut out a 1/2 inch circle in the center with either a 1/2 inch cookie cutter or the underside of a pastry tip. Gather, reroll and cut any scraps into rounds. Transfer the cookies carefully to the prepared baking sheet by peeling back the parchment paper from the bottoms of the cookies (they will be a bit fragile). Place the cookies in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are set and just beginning to brown around the edges (about 8 minutes). Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet until they are firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Make the Coconut Caramel Layer. First, toast the coconut. Place the coconut chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and place in the center of the  preheated oven and bake until the chips are lightly golden brown, stirring at least once (about 8 minutes). Remove the chips from the oven and allow to cool slightly before crushing the toasted chips in your hands. Second, remove the caramels from their wrappers and melt them in a double boiler or in a small, microwave safe bowl on 70% power at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Add milk to the melted caramels as necessary to thin the liquid to a pourable consistency.

  • Assemble the Cookies. Dip one side of each cooled cookie lightly in the melted caramel mixture, and place, caramel-dipped side up, on a piece of parchment paper. Add the toasted and crushed coconut chips to the rest of the melted caramel mixture and mix to combine. With a butter knife or small offset spatula, spread the coconut-caramel mixture on top of the caramel layer on each cookie in a single layer a bit more than 1/8 inch thick. Place the assembled cookies in the refrigerator until they are set (about 10 minutes). While the cookies chill, make the chocolate coating.

  • Melt the Chocolate & Complete the Cookies. Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler or a small, microwave safe bowl, on 70% power at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, just until melted and smooth. Remove the cooled cookies from the refrigerator, and carefully dip the bottom of each cookie in the melted chocolate, and place the cookie back on the parchment paper. Drizzle a bit more chocolate over the top of each cookie in a zig-zag pattern. Allow to sit at room temperature until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Freeze any leftovers.


Comments are closed.

  • Marianne
    February 16, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Just curious…does you cup for cup blend do better than better batter…tongue twister….?

  • Banyonb
    February 16, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    I’ve been on a ” no refined sugars only, only veggies for snacks” kick. When I saw gf samoas, I had a change of heart. And I do not feel an ounce of guilt, only excitement to try these. How many does this recipe make? My inner child is so cosy and gleeful right now! Thank you!

  • […] yet? click it!). The cookies are nearly the same snappy little numbers we used in the gluten-free Samoas Girl Scout Cookies recipe (I just added some vanilla since Tagalongs are snappy little vanilla things). But seriously […]

  • Dani
    February 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Totally made these last night as an early Valentine’s treat for my office. Although I’ve never had samoas before, they looked divine. I made a few changes.. I used a Sugar cookie mix for the base since that’s what I had on-hand at home. I couldn’t find coconut chips so I had to use regular shredded coconut. It was far too hard to try and spoon/spread caramel over the coconut topping so I just omitted that step (they still look amazing).  It’s before 9am and people are already chowing them down and raving.. I don’t think they will make it til lunch. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Thegfcookie
    February 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Is there a recipe you have to replace the ‘caramels’? All the caramels we have are gluten full :(
    I’ll try a caramel recipe I have, but I’m not sure it will harden…

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Kraft soft caramels are gluten-free, gfcookie. However, if you prefer, you can use the caramel recipe in this post on Chocolate Caramel Sandwich Cookies, and omit the chocolate. 

  • Cynthia
    February 12, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    I love u Nicole! My favorite childhood cookie! You have made my valentines day!!!! Thank u!!!

  • Deborah Nowland
    February 12, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    How many carbs and calories?  Any chance they would be less than the GS variety?

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      I’m sure you could use one of those Internet nutrition calculators to find that out, Deborah.

  • Andrea Merrigan
    February 11, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Yummy….I’m trying these!!! 

  • Kim S.
    February 11, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I am soooooo ecstatic to see this recipe.  I am not a fan of desserts (I know, I’m weird that way), especially “store-bought” cookies.  If I eat cookies (maybe once/twice a year), they are almost always homemade.  HOWEVER, I love the Samoas Girl Scout cookies so I am very, very excited to see this recipe.  Can’t wait to try it out.

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      I’m not sure it’s weird, Kim. Many would call that “lucky”! So glad I could help you get back an old favorite. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • InTolerant Chef
    February 11, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    These look so yummy indeed! We don’t have girl scouts or their cookies here, but I love the idea that you have created your own gfree version of what are obviously such well-loved cookies :) 

  • February 11, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Were you reading my mind?? I was searching your blog this weekend just for these! ;) 

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      Yes. Yes, I was, Angela. Consider yourself warned. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • mishb
    February 11, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    YUM! I’ve been looking for a valentine’s cookie, maybe I’ll make these as small hearts! Thanks for the recipe, I love Samoas!

  • Crystal
    February 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    My 9-year-old Celiac Girl Scout blows you a big kiss for this recipe! It’s so hard to sell, when you cannot eat them. Samoas are her fav and she has gone 3 years without. We will be doing a Samoa happy dance afterschool! Thank you!!!

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Oh, Crystal, your little Girl Scout shall do without no more! The “happy dance in the kitchen with my kid” comments always get me a little choked up. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Mariah11justice
    February 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Best birthday present EVER! Thank you so much, these are one of my few gluten filled treats that I really miss. You are my new favorite. :)

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Happy birthday, then, Mariah! Hope it was a happy one. Hey, you could put a candle in the center of a Samoas cookie!
      xoxo Nicole

  • February 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Oh boy is right! Or oh girl (scout)! Samoas were/are my absolute favorite GS cookie. I love coconut flakes too. Can’t wait to try making these gorgeous suckers.

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      Make sure you stash away a few just for you, Dana!  This is an especially useful tactic before the kids are old enough (and tall enough) to reach the back of the freezer. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Cranberrytea
    February 11, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I came to terms with being gluten free a while a go but I have to admit that walking by those tables of Girl Scout cookies makes me sad. These are my favorite cookies! These will be in my oven ASAP!

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      So glad, Cranberry. It is rather sad, walking by that table. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennifer S.
    February 11, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    I am a troop leader of 10 brownie girls and I’m GF and my son is also GF.  I will not let my son eat ANY of the cookies and for the first time going GF, he cried and cried as he stared at the cases of glutionus cookies.  It broke my heart.

    So.. I went into action and made your GF thin mints. HOLY COW – they are AWESOME!!!! and we love them.  I also found your do-si-do recipe and plan to make them too.  Now I’m not a fan of regular samoas so I’m not sure I’ll make these but they look divine.

    My request is for the tag along. Again, I do not care for them but the kids in my house love them – will you create a recipe for GF tag alongs too?? please????

    Thanks for all you do – this home in MN loves you! :)

    • Jennifer S.
      February 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Oh – also I plan on writing a letter to my council and the GS headquarters about coming up with a GF cookie.  I’ll keep you posted.

      And thank you to all of you that are GF and donate to the troops – that is wonderful of you and we appreciate it!!!

      • Jennifer S.
        February 12, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        I want everyone to know that I referred SEVERAL people to this blog last night at our GS cookie booth.

        Even more ammo when I write my letter to council.

      • gfshoestring
        February 12, 2013 at 7:31 PM

        I think there’s a petition to the Girl Scouts about a gluten-free cookie, Jennifer. I remember one mom on Long Island in NY making quite a name for herself about it a couple years ago. Maybe you could lend them a hand!
        xoxo Nicole

        • February 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

          I’m also doing a big ol’ Happy Dance this week after finding this recipe. I’m a co-leader of a GS troop and I’ve been staring at those damn Samoas boxes all month telling myself “It’s not worth it, it’s not worth it!” And here you come down like a rock-star angel & bless us with your smokin’ culinary greatness to bring us cookies (which, I might add, also are healthier than the trans-fat filled cookies that ABC Bakery keeps in their recipes year after year). I’ll have to look up that petition!

          This year, in Florida at least, instead of doing a simple GF cookie they actually put out the NASTIEST mango-flavored cookie that doesn’t even have any mango in it. Instead, it has fruit-derived nutrients and shiitake mushrooms (what?!!). *shakes head* I really have no idea what those chefs are thinking. Please, please, don’t ever try to duplicate that cookie. It might just cause a melt-down of all the happiness that is your site. And we would be very, very sad. 

  • Carole
    February 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    I hope you love Savannah’s  as my husband loves lemon anything. We give the troop a donation now instead of buying cookies.
    Am making these this afternoon.

    • gfshoestring
      February 12, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      Are those the new GSCs that are little lemon wedges covered in powdered sugar? I’d be happy to take a crack at them, Carole. For you? Anything. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Carole
        February 13, 2013 at 4:55 AM

        They sure are !!!! Or any good  lemon cookie would make someone in this house very happy. He loves them with hot tea.

      • Carole
        February 15, 2013 at 4:57 AM

        Bought 2 two pound bags of beautiful, fragrant lemons yesterday. Woke up early and searched your site to find good uses for them beside my lemonade. Today I’m really baking all day starting with lemon poppyseed muffins, lemon bars  and lemon cookies. I’m going to have a very happy home today. Still have to search your cookbooks for ideas. Will the lemon bars keep for a few days in the refrigerator??? Like two or three.
        I don’t know what I’d do without you.
        My husband and youngest son would still like those Savannahs.

  • Anneke
    February 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Oh, boy.

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