Homemade Samoas

Cookies and EspressoThe first Girl Scout cookies were sold in Muskogee, Oklahoma back in 1917. Almost 100 years later these cookies, sold annually and exclusively by the Girl Scouts themselves, are a hot commodity.  Their popularity may be due to a perceived scarcity or it may be due to the fact that old standbys like the Thin Mint and the Samoa put most other commercial cookies to shame.

I hated coconut for a long time and because of this I didn’t have my first Samoa until a few years ago. It was love at first taste. Since then, I have bought a box or two every year when Girl Scout cookies are sold. After changing my diet, making my own gluten free and vegan version was a prioritity. The recipe I came up with is healthier than the original and will satisfy anyone with a craving for Samoas.

For starters, I swapped white table sugar with coconut palm sugar, which contains more micro-nutrients because it is less processed. Coconut palm sugar is also a lower glycemic sweetener, so it doesn’t spike blood sugar as much as table sugar. It is important to buy 100% pure coconut palm sugar, as some brands are mixed with white sugar. I like the Sweet Tree brand which I find at Whole Foods. This recipe also swaps butter out for coconut oil, a healthy fat, which not only adds health benefits, but also ups the coconut flavor.

IndgredientsIndgredients TwoChocolate RainSamoas

Ingredients:

1/3 cup virgin (unrefined) coconut oil
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 (12 oz) bag chocolate chips (vegan if you want vegan cookies)
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the unsweetened coconut for 5-10 minutes, until light brown.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over low or in the microwave for 1 minute.  Mix the palm sugar, almond milk, vanilla, and flax seed into the melted oil.
  3. Sift the flours, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt into the sugar/oil mixture.  Stir to combine.  Mix the toasted coconut flakes into the batter.
  4. Drop batter by rounded tablespoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Using a measuring cup dipped in water, press each cookie flat.  With your finger, poke a small hole in the center of each cookie.
  5. Bake cookies in the preheated oven for 9-12 minutes, until slightly firm.  Cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove the cookies to a cooling rack.
  6. While the cookies cool, melt the chocolate and remaining coconut oil in a small saucepan for 2-4 minutes or in the microwave 1-3 minutes, stirring each minute.
  7. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper.  Dip each cookie bottom in the melted chocolate and place the cookie on the parchment paper.  Next, drizzle a small amount of chocolate on the top of the cookie.  Fill the hole with melted chocolate as well.
  8. Put the cookies in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes so the chocolate can firm up.  Remove from the parchment, and serve.  The cookies will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container, either in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry place.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

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