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Homemade Samoa Bars

When the freezer is void of those caramel, coconut, shortbread and chocolate Girl Scout cookies, it’s time to make some Homemade Samoa Bars!  

I’m a sucker for any scout or brownie who stops by to sell their cookies. It’s a must to have a stash of Samoas, Thin Mints and Tagalongs in our freezer. But they eventually get eaten, and those cravings must be fulfilled!

Homemade samoa bars stacked on a white plate

Homemade Samoa Bars

I first made these Samoa bars back in 2013 for a New Year’s Day gathering. With two of my favorite dessert ingredients, coconut and caramel, I was in heaven. But the shortbread base was crumbly, so back to the drawing board with round 2.

I used a new crust recipe and upgraded the caramels. Instead of topping with a layer of ganache, I drizzled some melted chocolate chips over the coconut mixture. Though you’re welcome to dip the bottoms of the individual bars in chocolate, I found the process rather tedious and decided I was happy with just the drizzle!

Homemade samoa bars on a round plate with shreds of coconut

What are Samoas?

Samoas are a Girl Scout cookie also known by the name Caramel deLites depending upon the bakery from which they originate. They differ slightly in shape, kind of chocolate and amount of caramel, but they have the same basic components.

No one seems to know why these coconut, caramel cookies are called Samoas, but some surmise that due to the coconut, the tropical Samoan islands in the South Pacific may have been an influence.

Tips for Making Samoa Bar Cookies

There’s nothing too difficult about making these Samoa bars, but some of the steps are optional for an easier recipe.

  • I like making the crust in a food processor, then pressing the crumbs into the bottom of the baking pan. If you don’t own one, use softened butter and a hand held mixer. The results will be more of a dough that easily presses into a crust.
  • I like using the softer Werther’s Original Caramels. If you can’t find them, use Kraft caramels instead, but you may want to add another tablespoon of water when you melt them as they are much firmer.
  • Toasting the coconut is also optional. Sweetened angel flake coconut is quite moist and the toasting dries it out along with bringing out some of the natural oils and flavor. Beware that it can easily get too dark, so watch carefully when toasting.
  • The dipping of the bars in chocolate pays homage to the Samoa cookies which has both chocolate lines across the top and a chocolate covered cookie base.
  • I dipped about 4, but then decided the drizzle would be enough for me. If you want an authentic Samoa copycat, you’ll want to dip!
  • Make sure to place them on a parchment lined baking sheet after dipping and let them cool completely before moving so the chocolate doesn’t stick to the paper.

You may need these supplies to make this homemade samoa bars recipe:

More Coconut Recipes You’ll Love:

If you want a cookie that looks like a Samoa, check out my Homemade Samoas Cookies recipe. These Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons are elegant enough for a baby shower or special event, yet easy to whip up anytime you have a coconut craving! My Chewy Coconut Cookies are also super simple to make!

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Homemade Samoa Bars on a round white plate

Homemade Samoa Bars

Decadent bar cookie with a shortbread crust, gooey caramel and coconut topping and chocolate drizzle like the famous Girl Scout Samoa Cookies.

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Bar Cookies
  • Method: Baking, Mixing, Microwave
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Cookie Base:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick), cut into small pieces

Topping:

  • 2 cups shredded coconut, toasted at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes
  • 8 ounces caramels (I used an 8.1 bag of Werther’s Original Soft Caramels unwrapped)
  • 12 tablespoon water (use 2 tablespoons if you use Kraft caramels instead of Werther’s)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Chocolate Dip and Drizzle*:

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease a 9 × 9-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
  2. Process flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until forms fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into prepared pan and press into an even layer.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
  4. Place the caramels in a  microwave-safe bowl with the  water and butter, starting and stopping to stir every 30 seconds. When smooth, fold in 1 1/2 cups of the toasted coconut with a spatula.
  5. Put spoonfuls of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using an offset spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining coconut and gently press into bars. Let topping set until cooled.
  6. Use the foil or parchment to assist in moving the bars to a cutting board. Cut bars into 16 squares. In a medium bowl, gently melt together the chocolate chips and oil in the microwave. Stop to stir frequently until almost completely melted. Let the residual heat finish the melting process.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Remove less than half the chocolate to a piping bag or a quart Ziploc bag for the final drizzle, and set aside.
  8. Dip the bottoms of the bars into chocolate, removing excess on the side of the bowl, then placing on the baking sheet to firm up. Repeat with all bars.
  9. Drizzle each bar with the remaining chocolate using a piping bag or Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off.
  10. Allow chocolate to cool and firm up before serving.

Notes

* Use only half the chocolate dip and drizzle ingredients if you decide to only use the drizzle and not dip the bottoms in chocolate.

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51 comments on “Homemade Samoa Bars”

  1. That reminds me, I should go buy some girl guide cookies when I get the chance. The mint ones are amazing.

  2. First time I hear of Samoa Bars, they sound very sweet and delicious!

  3. These are my number one girl scout cookie pick. Your bars look amazing. Not sure if there can be a too much chocolate ever but I will always take more caramel. Lovely!

  4. Bars can deliver the taste without the work. Gorgeous and perfectly cut bars Liz! Can´t go wrong with these flavors together really.

  5. Ooooh Samoa Bars!!! These look awesome and I don’t believe anything can be too rich where chocolate is concerned 😉

  6. Wow, they look ridiculously good!

  7. You are killing me with these bars! I loooved when my daughter used to bring girl scout cookies home.

  8. Ooo yum!! Samoas are my favorite girl scout cookie (after tagalongs :)! We got our first brownie to the door this weekend selling cookies and I don’t think I can wait till March till they come out… I love how you made them into bars, look so good!

  9. I’ll take yours any day over Samoas in a box! Those I could pass up but these ……… I don’t think so.

  10. Liz, i’ve never had a Samoa bar and won’t feel the urge to buy them when I can make your beautiful version at home. These bars are gorgeous and jam packed with so much yumminess!

  11. Your samoa bars look amazing. What a great addition to the party!

  12. I feel the same about Samoas! Can’t wait to try your recipe, Liz! Looks so tempting, as always 🙂

  13. Hi Lizzy,
    Happy New Year! I hope it has started off great for you. I can see it is off to a great food start. Great recipe!:)

  14. Wow Lizzy, your Samoa bars look great…and they are so perfectly sized…
    Happy New Year and have a great week ahead!

  15. I’m all for an easier version of all those intricate recipe! I’ve been deterred from homemade samoas that were too complicated in the past. As much as I love me a box of samoas from the Girl Scouts, I’m sure these homemade ones are way better.

  16. These bars look incredible, perfect for the Chocolate Party!

  17. Hi Liz! I’m a sucker for Girl Scout Cookies, too….Samoas being my favorite! These are much better, sophisticated version…..but all our favorite flavors! Love these and so perfect for this month’s theme! : )

  18. Happy New Year Liz! Oh I love samoas, but I think I would like these better! The layer sounds and look great, and I’m shocked that you say it was too much chocolate! 🙂 Glad to see that you used caramels and didn’t make your own. That makes this recipe much easier.

  19. All I can say is “oh My!” I love Samoa cookies… so these would be ridiculously good! I would stick my face into my computer screen and chomp if I could. 🙂

  20. This looks fantastic! I loved the recipe!!

  21. Pretty good looking homemade Samoa bar cookies!!! I would love to try one of these beauties;-)
    Everybody is getting excited for the big game…I just have to mention…GO NINERS!!!!!
    Wish I had a few of your bar cookies to take to the game;-) Great addition to the Chocolate Party;-)

  22. Probably my favorite of the girl scout cookies, I’ve always wanted to make homemade ones. I must. 😉

  23. I’ve never heard of Samoa Bars. Maybe famous bars from Girls Scout Cookies? I’ve tried different kinds that I bought from Girls Scout selling in front of supermarkets before and I remember they were pretty good. 🙂

  24. Are those the Kraft Softie Toffeys from the 1970s? My Dad did a commercial for them with a white dog puppet. I don’t much recall the commercial, but I do recall being glued to the TV around 4-5 Sunday afternoon for the Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour when it would air.
    Anything with chocolate and toffee is a winner with me.

  25. I am not a fan of coconut, but I do like a good samoa (not sure how that works). Your bars look wonderful!

  26. These look wonderful, Liz! Samoas are my favorite Girl Scout cookie! I would love to give these a try!

  27. I love coconut. I love the Girl Scouts. Your Samoas look delicious. We used to store an untold number of boxes in our garage every year. Somehow I was always in charge of the damn sale. Probably because I am well-organized and…….. bossy. My all-time favorites are Chocolate Mints but I’ve never met a Girl Scout cookie I didn’t like. To be truthful, I’ve never met a Girl Scout I didn’t like.

  28. Beautiful, Lizzy! We made something similar for Baked Sunday Mornings a few months ago & I could not stop eating them! A wonderful combination.

  29. Liz, this is lovely. I’ve never heard of Samoa Bars but CLEARLY based on the ingredients, its totally my kind of treat!!

  30. Samoa cookies are one of my favorite but have never made them although I have to admit I but from time to time. I love your bar twist, so much easier to make and I bet they taste just as good or even better!
    Thanks so much for sharing with the #chocolateparty this month again.

  31. Samoas are my favorite! I need these in my life. 🙂

  32. Samoas are my achilles’ heel. LOVE them.

  33. o those toppings are seriously good! They would be a hit in our house 🙂

  34. Looking at these, I think I would prefer them to the originals. They look wonderful! 

  35. These delicious bars are even better than the Girl Scout Cookies! Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  36. Oh my word, you are calling my name with these beauties! I adore Samoa cookies and must make these! One of my all time favorites for sure 🙂

  37. These bars have everything that I love all in one! Next time I need a sweet treat, I’m trying these!

  38. Yum! Super tasty bars. Thanks for the recipe. Keep sharing.

  39. These are really amazing treats! A big hit at my house!

  40. Super tasty bars. It’s hard to have any self-control around these!

  41. I’ve already printed this off to try. Every time I look at the photo I literally start to salivate, it’s crazy!

  42. I love samoas and these bars look perfect!

  43. I love samoa cookies and I’d love them even more as bars! These are an absolute must try!

  44. I can’t get enough of these!

  45. These are the best! Can’t wait to make them again.

  46. Dear Liz, no so such thing as Girl Scout Cookies around here and I must admit I had never heard about Samoa cookies either but your Samoa bars looks heavenly and perfectly made too! A nice buttery shortbread base, carame, chocolate and coconut topping – who could ask for more?!

  47. Those sweet little girl scouts are at every store this week. So glad we resisted a purchase as your homemade somoa bars look perfectly delicious. Happy weekend to your Liz!

  48. One of my favorites!

  49. Oh these look lovely! Samoas are my favorite GS cookie, the only ones I buy. I have a question, the caramel layer has caramels, water and milk but the instructions say to melt the caramels, water and butter together. Is there supposed to be butter in the caramel layer, and if so how much? I did love to make these asap, just want to get the ingredients correct. Thanks for sharing your creations with us! 

    • Caroline, thanks for catching that! I updated this recipe to use a better quality caramel and tweaked the amounts off an old post (I made these when I first started blogging!). I’ve now corrected the ingredients. Hope you enjoy! They’re my favorite, too.

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