The 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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