These Homemade Samoa Girl Scout Cookies aka Caramel deLites are an obsession of mine. From my first taste back in 2016 to today, they stand as one of my all-time favorite cookies. With a shortbread-like base, they’re buttery yet firm enough to hold the caramel, coconut and chocolate layers on top. The chocolate bottom provides a ridiculously good richness to every bite. Its gooey chewy caramel-coconut “filling” is a delight to taste too. And the finished version is a sight to behold!
Layers of Lusciousness
From bottom to top, here’s how they stack up when finished:
- Chocolate bottom
- Cookie base
- Melted caramel “layer”
- Caramel/Coconut “filling”
- Chocolate drizzle on top
Blue Ribbon Winner
Recipe credit goes to Annette Saylor who won at the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with this recipe. She won first place in a Gold Medal Flour cookie contest back in 2016. I’ve made a few tweaks and versions over the years.
This time when I made these notorious cookies (yes notorious, at least around here), I happened to have some extra coconut chips. Since I am in love with coconut, I chopped up the candy (let’s call it what it is) for a second layer on the jumbo cookie version. It really stacked the deck with extra height and gooeyness.
Jumbo or Classic-Sized Cookies
You can make these Homemade Samoa Girl Scout Cookies two different ways. Jumbo size is my personal favorite, as the process is less involved. You press the dough into a pan versus rolling it out. That alone is a huge time saver.
I use a 9-inch round springform pan for easy removal. A tart pan with a removable bottom also works. Once the cookie is baked and cooled, you can easily flip it over to spread chocolate on the bottom, instead of dipping individual cookies.
The other way to make them is the smaller traditional size cookie version. If we’re talking pros and cons, the main pro is how elegant they end up tasting. This is because the dough/cookie itself is thinner, as are the other layers. Another pro is they are easier to share (if you’re willing =) i.e. If you are giving some to neighbors, they get individual cookies and not a wedge out of a jumbo one. The con of the smaller version is it requires a few more steps and more time. You chill the dough a bit and are cutting individual cookies, each 2-1/4 inch size. With the latter version, it took me about 2 1/2 hours. And that’s OK ‘cuz they are worth it!
Another variation I have done, is to substitute coconut oil for the butter. The dough looks a bit different, more “glossy.” The texture is also firmer than when you use butter.
That’s it for the tips. I say get your bake-on and whip up a batch of these.
p.s. If you are a huge caramel fan, be sure to try our recipe for homemade sea salt caramels.
Homemade Samoa Girl Scout Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (280 grams)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cream (daily or plant-based)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups sweetened coconut, toasted
2 (11 ounce) bags caramels, unwrapped
4-5 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)
In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture – 1/3 at a time – to the creamed butter. Mix between each addition, scraping down sides of bowl to thoroughly mix. Add milk and vanilla extract. Blend until combined and dough comes together in large pieces. Finish mixing with clean dry hands if needed to fully combine ingredients.
For two jumbo cookies* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom of 9-inch springform pan with parchment (or use non-stick spray). Press half of dough into pan leaving a 2-1/4 inch opening in center. I used a cookie cutter in center and removed before baking. Bake 15-18 minutes, until edges start to brown. Allow to cool on rack in pan. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
If you haven’t yet toasted your coconut, do that now. Bake 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even browning and prevent burning. Place in large bowl. Set aside to cool.
*Instead of 2 jumbo cookies, you can bake smaller traditional size cookies. Chill the dough 20 minutes. Then, on lightly floured parchment paper, roll out to just under 1/4-inch thickness. You don’t want them too thin. Dust top of dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut out as many cookies as possible with a doughnut-shaped cookie cutter. I used a 2-1/4 inch round cutter with a 1/2-inch opening. Gently move onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet, 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake cookies in 350 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through, until the cookies are pale golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Proceed with melted chocolate and caramel steps.
Melt chocolate in double-boiler or microwave until stirs smooth. Set aside half of it for drizzle. Spread second half on bottoms of two jumbo cookies. Place on waxed-paper. Allow to set. Meanwhile, melt caramels with salt and 3 tablespoons milk in double-boiler (heatproof bowl set over pot of simmering water). Heat until caramel melts and stirs smooth, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Spread 1/3 of caramel across tops of the two jumbo cookies. Add toasted coconut to remaining caramel. Press this mixture on top of caramel solo layer. Drizzle with remaining melted chocolate. Makes 2 jumbo cookies or about 36 smaller cookies.