Updated: Feb 25
One of my favorite cookies of all time is the Girl Scout cookie called Caramel deLites, also known as “Samoas.”
However, the Girl Scout version of Samoas contains some ingredients that don’t work for my diet like palm oil and wheat flour.
When my recipe for no-added-sugar Gingerbread Snowballs was published on Natural Delights Medjool Dates' blog, I was very excited to find another date recipe for a home-made version of Samoas from Le Petit Eats. Her recipe is gluten-free and happens to be vegan as well.
I adapted her recipe to make Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Samoas and included it below.
How to Sweeten Samoas
Not only are these home-made Samoas gluten-free and vegan, these cookies limit the sugar as well. Instead of using manufactured caramel and white or brown sugar, instead the recipe makes use of the natural sugar in dates and maple syrup.
To be clear, maple syrup is still “sugar.”
However, the dates provide a good source of folate, choline, potassium, phosphorus, and other vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin A, and magnesium in smaller amounts.
The only allergen from the “Top 9 Allergen” list found in this cookie is tree nut.
Nuts are found in the almond flour and coconut. If you have a tree nut allergy, but can tolerate coconut, you can make this recipe with one modification. Take out the almond flour altogether and just use a one-to-one gluten-free baking flour like Bob’s Red Mills. You need 3 cups of flour total. If you choose to use a different brand of gluten-free flour, ensure it has xantham gum or add 1 ½ tsp of xantham gum yourself.
Delicious! These cookies taste very similar to the real deal. I brought them to a birthday party and received several compliments- most as surprised as I was that these home-made samoas tasted so similar to the originals. The guests were even more surprised when I told them the samoas were gluten-free, vegan, and had no white or brown sugar in them.
Give them a try! The recipe is below.
Note: This is a time-consuming recipe. I would recommend making the cookies the day before you need them so you can take your time cutting the shortbread, drizzling the chocolate, and firming up the garnished cookies in the fridge.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Samoa Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 10 mins.
Chill Time: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 mins.
This recipe is adapted from Le Petit Eats Vegan Samoa Cookies – Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies.
For the shortbread cookies:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 tsp salt
For the date caramel:
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl.
Add both flours and salt and mix until a dough has formed.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean, floured surface. Knead and roll the dough into a ball.
Add a bit of flour to a rolling pin and roll the dough out to ¼” thickness.
Using a round cookie cutter or the lid of a small mason jar, cut the dough into 2” circles.
Using the back end of a pastry tip, cut a small hole in the center of each circle.
Remove the excess dough from around the cookies and put aside. Using a spatula, gently lift each cookie and place it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Roll out the excess dough and continue to cut cookies until all of the dough has been used.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. (Do not place on bottom rack or the cookies may blacken and take on a burnt flavor. Move the rack to the center or top of the oven).
For the final 3 minutes of baking, place the coconut on a sheet pan and toast in the oven.
In the meantime, place chopped dates in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes to soften.
Remove coconut and shortbread from the oven and transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely.
Drain dates and blend in a high-powered blender with salt, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
Transfer date caramel to a medium bowl. Add toasted coconut and stir to combine.
Using a large soup spoon, spread the date caramel mixture evenly over the cooled shortbread. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, add 1cup of chocolate and microwave for 45-seconds, stirring until melted.
Dip the bottom of the cookies in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet.
Melt the remaining chocolate for 30 seconds in the microwave. Using a butter knife, scoop some chocolate and drizzle over the tops of the cookies.
Return to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
For more recipes for those with dietary restrictions, or to make a virtual appointment with a Registered Dietitian, visit: ZESTNutritionService.com.