Buttery shortbread cookies are topped with gooey caramel and toasted coconut, then finished off with rich chocolate in these heavenly Samoa Cookie Bars! They taste exactly like the cult-favorite Girl Scout cookies they’re inspired by.
Every time the season comes, I’m on a mission to find a Girl Scout so I can get my hands on those addicting cookies. That is, until I created this incredible copycat recipe. These easy dessert bars have everything you love about Samoas – only they’re bigger and fresher, which automatically makes them even more delicious!
The shortbread cookie crust matches the crisp of the coconut when you first take a bite, but then it slowly melts in your mouth along with the caramel and chocolate. My dad, who has always been obsessed with the classic Samoas, gave these bars his official stamp of approval. I could hardly stop him from sneaking one before the chocolate was even added!
What You’ll Need
These bars are easy to make with just 10 ingredients total. The accompanying amounts are included in the recipe card toward the end of this post.
For the Shortbread Cookie Crust
- All-Purpose Flour: Go ahead and use gluten-free flour if needed.
- Granulated Sugar
- Cold Butter: Remove this from the fridge about 10 minutes before you dice it up so you’re able to cut through it without warming it up too much.
- Vanilla Extract
- Water: To thin out the batter if necessary.
For the Toppings
- Shredded Coconut: This will be toasted for added crunch and flavor.
- Kraft Caramels: Wrappers removed.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Follow these instructions to enjoy the flavors of your favorite Girl Scout cookies any time of year. Dreams really do come true!
- Heat Oven & Prep Pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving some sticking above the sides of the pan to lift the bars out later.
- Make Shortbread Dough: Add the flour, sugar, butter, vanilla extract and water to a bowl and mix on slow until it comes together and forms a ball. You can also use a food processor and pulse the ingredients until they form a ball.
- Add to Pan: Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake: Bake the bars for 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
- Let Cool: Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside until the shortbread has completely cooled.
- Toast Coconut: Spread the coconut onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake it at 350°F for about 5 minutes, or until it’s lightly toasted. Set it aside to cool.
- Melt Caramels With Butter & Water: Once the shortbread cookie crust has cooled, put the water, butter and caramels into a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Allow everything to melt, stirring often so that the mixture doesn’t boil.
- Mix in Some Coconut: Add about 1 1/2 cups of the toasted coconut and stir to combine.
- Add to Pan: Spread the caramel mixture evenly over the shortbread crust, pressing it into an even layer.
- Add Remaining Coconut: Sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut over the caramel mixture and press it into the caramel.
- Let Cool: Allow the caramel to fully cool, which will take about an hour.
- Cut Bars: Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan, then cut them into 16 servings.
- Melt Some Chocolate: Melt about 5 ounces of chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave, heating the chocolate in 30-second increments and stirring after each one until it’s melted.
- Dip Bars: Dip the bottoms of each bar into the chocolate, then wipe off any excess chocolate on the side of the bowl. You don’t want it to be a really thick layer of chocolate, just a light coating. Place the bars onto a sheet of parchment paper and allow the chocolate to dry.
- Melt Remaining Chocolate & Drizzle Over Bars: Melt the remaining chocolate chips and drizzle the melted chocolate over the tops of the bars.
- Let Set: Allow the chocolate to cool and harden, then serve and enjoy!
Tips for Success
Check out the following tips before you start baking. Flawless Samoa cookie bars are coming your way!
- Let the Shortbread Cool Completely: Make sure your shortbread cookie crust has cooled completely before you add any of the toppings. Otherwise, it could become soggy underneath the caramel.
- Don’t Let the Caramel Mixture Boil: Remember to consistently stir your caramel mixture so it doesn’t come to a boil at any point. If it boils, it will taste burnt.
- Use a Double Boiler to Melt the Chocolate: Melting chocolate in the microwave totally works, but a double boiler will make the process much easier. If you have one – or a Candy Melting Pot – go ahead and use that instead.
These cookie bars should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll stay fresh for up to 3-4 days, but I doubt you’ll be able to stop everyone from devouring them sooner!
Do These Freeze Well?
They do! Place the bars into a freezer-safe container with parchment paper separating layers to prevent sticking. Freeze them for up to 2 months, thawing them out on the counter before you dig in.Print
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 16
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Buttery shortbread cookies are topped with gooey caramel and toasted coconut, then finished off with rich chocolate in these heavenly Samoa Cookie Bars! They taste exactly like the cult-favorite cookies they’re inspired by.
For the Shortbread Cookie Crust
- 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (52g) sugar
- 6 tbsp (84g) butter, diced
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp water, if needed
For the Toppings
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp (28g) butter
- 25 Kraft Caramels, wrappers removed
- 9 oz (254g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving some sticking above the sides of the pan to lift the bars out later.
- Add flour, sugar, butter, vanilla extract and water to a bowl and mix on slow until it comes together and forms a ball. You can also use a food processor and pulse the ingredients until they form a ball.
- Press dough evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
- Spread coconut onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for about 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
- When crust is cool, put water, butter and caramels into a medium sized pot on medium heat. Allow everything to melt, stirring often so that the mixture doesn’t boil.
- Add about 1 1/2 cups of the toasted coconut and mix together.
- Spread caramel mixture evenly over shortbread, pressing it into an even layer.
- Sprinkle remaining toasted coconut over the caramel mixture and press into the caramel.
- Allow caramel to fully cool, about an hour.
- Remove from pan and cut into 16 bars.
- Melt about 5 oz of chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave, heating in 30 second increments until melted.
- Dip the bottoms of each bar into the chocolate, then wipe excess of on the side of the bowl. You don’t want it to be a real thick layer of chocolate, just a light coating. Places bars on parchment paper to dry.
- Melt remaining chocolate chips and drizzle it over the tops of the bars.
- Allow chocolate to cool and harden.
To Store: Keep extra bars in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: Place bars into a freezer-safe container with parchment paper separating layers to prevent sticking. Freeze for up to 2 months, thawing on the counter before enjoying.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 642
- Sugar: 88.2 g
- Sodium: 329.6 mg
- Fat: 16.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 107.6 g
- Protein: 7.3 g
- Cholesterol: 7.8 mg
Keywords: samoa cookies, caramel cookies, samoas girl scout cookies
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Am looking to make these next week for a cookie exchange. Question about the shortbread texture. Does it ‘snap’ like a cookie? Or is it more crumbly/soft like a pastry? The recipe I tried today (not this recipe) was the latter. Am looking for the former, as I’d like the texture to resemble that of its namesake. Thoughts?
I would say these are more like a “snap” of a cookie. Definitely not pastry-like.
We made these today with our Girl Scout Troop! They were such a fun project and taste JUST like Samoa cookies! We did cheat and used pre-made caramel to make it a little easier on us. We will definitely be saving this recipe! The shortbread was such a wonderful texture compared to others that I have made.
So glad to hear that!