Dairy Free,  Dessert,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Samoas Cookie Bars (Vegan)

You guys know by now that I can’t do Friday without something sweet, preferably something with chocolate, so you were probably expecting these.

Since we’ve been living in Chile for about a year and half now there are things that I think we’ve started to forget. I wanted to make something with toasted coconut the other day and I had samoa cookies stuck in my head.When I was little these were my favorites. They happened to be my dad’s favorite too and it somehow made them taste better when he would ask who kept eating all of his cookies. I didn’t even like coconut back then, (I know, crazy right?) but having it disguised in all of that caramel and chocolate kept me from finding out what that delicious “samoa” flavor was that I loved so much.

Anyway, I remembered samoas and asked my sisters if I should make them and they said that they didn’t know what I was talking about! Then they said “What are Girl Scout cookies?” and I was like “How can you not remember them? You poor, poor things!” That decided it then and there. I had to make somoas, or at least my version of them.

I love the traditional shape of samoas. It’s like a doughnut and who doesn’t like doughnuts, right? On the downside though, I don’t have the right shape cutters and rolling out dough, which I usually enjoy, just didn’t sound fun at the time because I had a whole list of things to do later. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! Plus, I’ve always wondered if samoas could be improved by making the cookie part thicker and softer and as it turns out, in my humble opinion, it does. Big time!

So I know I’m usually pretty excited about sharing a recipe with you guys anyway, I mean, isn’t that the point of the recipe blog here? Well, today I’m extra excited because this one is like really, really good! My younger sister Lela shocked me by saying they were, to date, her favorite sweet that I’ve made. Ever. She’s not easily impressed either.

You know how some people have all the luck and can eat whatever they want and it never shows? Well, that’s Lela. I can’t help being a little jealous of her and her hummingbird metabolism. She lives on bologna, top ramen, potato chips and chocolate and is one of the healthiest looking people I know. It’s outrageous. Ironically, my younger brothers hate coconut so I thought these would be around longer, but she doesn’t seem to mind picking up their slack. She’s a team player.

So these may seem complicated but they are really very simple when you make them in bar form. If you can multi-task then this recipe goes even faster. I started the caramel going and made the crust while I stirred it every minute or two. Then I baked the crust and toasted the coconut at the same time and it all came together in about 35 minutes. The only time-consuming part is waiting, first for the bars to cool so you can cut them, and then for the chocolate to set so it’s mostly hands-off time.

I feel a little guilty about these because I feel I will be putting those cute little girl scouts out of business and I keep picturing their sad faces. You see, you may never be able to buy a box of samoas again after these!

Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Samoas Cookie Bars (Vegan)

Any fans of this classic girl scouts cookie in the house? If so then you're gonna love these!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 20 -24 bars


Shortbread Layer:

  • 1 cup 2 sticks vegan "butter"
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups flour


  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 2 cups plant-based milk almond, cashew, etc.
  • 1/4 cup 1/2 stick vegan "butter"
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups 300g - 400g dairy free semi-sweet chocolate


Shortbread Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and lightly grease a 13x9 inch glass pan (or similar sized pan). Beat butter and sugar until creamed. Scrape sides of bowl and add salt, vanilla, and flour and mix until evenly combined. Press into prepared pan and bake for 10 - 12 minutes until top is light golden brown. Remove and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, spread coconut out on a baking sheet and toast in oven with crust. Stir every 2 - 3 minutes until toasted. It should take about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.


  1. Combine sugar, milk, coconut cream, and butter in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a soft boil, stirring gently. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring often, every 60 - 90 seconds, until caramel is thickened and smooth, it should take 12 to 15 minutes depending on your stove.
  2. When caramel is finished, pour about 1/3 of it on top of shortbread crust and spread into a smooth layer with a spatula. Pour toasted coconut into remaining caramel and stir to combine. Scrape out onto crust and spread evenly, then use a spatula to gently press down onto crust.
  3. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Finishing Bars:

  1. When bars are cool, cut into squares or rectangles and line a tray with parchment. Melt about 1 cup of chocolate (or more if you want a thicker layer) in a double boiler and dip the bottom of each bar to coat and place on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining bars. Melt remaining chocolate and pour into a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Drizzle over bars then allow them to dry and chocolate to set. If you're as impatient as I am you can stick the tray in the freezer to speed this up.
  2. Store at room temperature in an air-tight cotainer for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

If you have trouble finding coconut cream at your local grocery store it's completely fine to use full-fat coconut milk and scrape the cream off of the top. Just be sure that it's cold enough to separate.


  • heather

    These look super delicious. I just wanted to note that the original cookies are called Samoas. I just wanted to let you know so that this delicious recipe can pop up in search engines more :).

  • Shannon

    I just tried to make the caramel… and after nearly half an hour it still hasn’t thickened or smoothed out… I’m not sure what I did wrong 🙁 but now all I’ve got is a grainy looking brown mixture. I was a little worried at first because all other recipes for caramel that I’ve looked at didn’t have you dump in all the ingredients at once but I’ve never actually made caramel before so I thought I’d just go with it. Any idea what could have gone wrong?

    • Tori

      Hi, Shannon!
      I’m so happy to hear that you are trying my recipe and I feel kind of honored that you’re making my recipe as your first try at caramel. Thank you so much!
      I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had trouble with it though. Trust me, your not alone. I’ve burned and ruied my share of caramels and so has everyone who has ever meade caramel.
      In my experience with caramel recipes it is common to start with all of your main ingredients already mixed, but I’m no expert. Sugar has a mind of it’s own and so the temperature and frequency of stirring can make a big difference between a smooth sauce and a dark hard-crack candy. From the fact that it was taking so long it sounds like you may not have reached a high enough temperature to caramelize the sugar. How high was your heat and how often did you stir it?

  • Shannon

    Sorry, I just had one more question – I’m going to try making these again sometime (definitely need more practice with making caramel) and I wanted to make sure – did you use sweetened coconut in this? And what was the consistency of the caramel when you finished? My first attempt ended up more like a somewhat thick sauce and I’m worried that it won’t be able to hold up the shape of the bars. Thanks!

    • Tori

      Hi again, Shannon.
      I’m impressed that you’re redy to try it again already. Way to be persistent! As for the coconut, I used unsweetened because that’s all I can buy here in Chile but I’m sure sweetened would work just fine (just watch you eyes when toasting because that stuff burns when you open the oven). My caramel was similar to what you described, fairly thick and not extremely dark. I wouldn’t worry about it holding it’s shape because when it cools the butter and sugar solidify quite a bit. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

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