Homemade Healthy Samoa Recipe (Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added, Vegan)

plate of homemade samoa cookies

You don’t need to wait until Girl Scout cookie season to enjoy your favorites with this homemade healthy samoas recipe.

Do you anxiously anticipate Girl Scout cookie season? Even though these cookies are downright addicting, they might not be the healthiest choice on a consistent basis. These Homemade Healthy Samoas are made with only eight ingredients and are a delicious, healthier alternative to the boxed variety. 

For years, my Girl Scout cookie of choice was Thin Mints. Mmmm … it gives me all the comfort food feels just thinking of them. Especially once they’ve been chilled in the freezer. 

My mom’s cookie of choice was always the samoas. I didn’t understand it or her. What’s so special about cookies topped with coconut, caramel and chocolate? 

close up of healthy homemade samoa cookie being held

Turns out, a lot. As I became open to trying other flavors and the mint chocolate combination lost its initial appeal, I found an appreciation for the Samoa (Caramel deLites) cookie. 

The layers of this cookie are what make it unique and absolutely decadent. The shortbread cookie topped with sweet, salty caramel that’s been mixed with toasted coconut, then dunked and drizzled with chocolate is one-of-a-kind. 

Time to try a healthy Samoa recipe

While I do love the real McCoy occasionally, I appreciate when I can find a healthier alternative that can be enjoyed more often. If I can confess something, it’s for selfish reasons.

No matter how much I try, I rarely am able to exert self control when it comes to sweet things, and I end up eating way more than I anticipated. Especially Girl Scout cookies. 

If you take a look at the ingredients of the OG cookie, you’ll see a lot of words that you don’t want to find in your routine diet. To name a few, this list includes: sugar (first ingredient), enriched flour (meaning everything that might’ve been nutritious has been stripped during processing), corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk. Right there in the top six ingredients, you have three sources of sugar. 

baking sheet with healthy samoa foundation ready to be covered with toppings

Related post: 7 Healthy Baking Swaps for a More Nutritious Treat

I’m not here to shame Samoas, but I am here to tell you that a homemade version that tastes just as good, if not better, is possible with only eight ingredients. 

Only 8 Ingredients in this Healthy Samoas Recipe

While recipe testing, I decided to create a no sugar added cookie, but of course, you can make a few modifications of your own to eliminate any no calorie sweeteners. I wholeheartedly support either direction you choose to go in. 

The foundation of these Samoas is the shortbread cookie. This homemade version is gluten-free, made with almond flour, and uses my favorite, natural no calorie sweetener, monk fruit. 

Next, we’ve got the glue, aka, the caramel mixed with toasted coconut flakes. I’ve had a recipe for a naturally sweetened caramel made from dates in my back pocket, and I slightly tweaked it to work for this recipe. It does soften if the cookie is left out at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator, but that’s what makes it so good! 

completed healthy samoa cookie with toppings and chocolate drizzle

Lastly, the dip and drizzle in chocolate. You can use your favorite chocolate here, but in keeping with the no sugar added cookie theme, I went with one that is stevia sweetened. My personal preference would probably be to use the real thing, even one that is sweetened with coconut sugar. 

While this recipe does require a little more patience with each step, it’s worth it in the end. Each bite is crunchy, gooey, nutty, salty and sweet. What more could you ask for? 

For more healthy cookie ideas, check out these recipes: 

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plate of homemade samoa cookies

Homemade Healthy Samoa Recipe (Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added, Vegan)

  • Author: FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 Cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Do you anxiously anticipate Girl Scout cookie season? Even though these cookies are downright addicting, they might not be the healthiest choice on a consistent basis. These Homemade Healthy Samoas are made with only eight ingredients and are a delicious, healthier alternative to the boxed variety.


Ingredients

Scale

Naturally Sweetened Caramel: 

  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 30 minutes* 
  • 2 ½ tablespoons unrefined, virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. To toast the coconut flakes, spread onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400F for 5-8 minutes, until golden in color. 
  2. Meanwhile, to make the crust, add the almond flour, monk fruit, baking powder and salt to a food processor. Pulse until mixed. Add the coconut oil and 1 tablespoon water and pulse until crumbly. You should be able to mold the dough with your hands. 
  3. Decrease the oven temperature to 350F. Scoop out the dough with a cookie scoop or tablespoon measuring spoon, flattening into a cookie shape before placing on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If the edges crack, it’s okay, they will firm up when baked. You should get 12 cookies total. To cut a hole in the center, use a straw to punch out the middle. If the cookie breaks, just use your fingers and gently mold back into a ring shape. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes until lightly golden in color. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the freezer until you’re ready to add the caramel topping. 
  4. While the cookies are baking, make the caramel sauce. Drain the dates from the soaking water and add to the food processor. You could also use a high-speed blender, like a vitamix or nutribullet. Add the coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. The consistency will be thick! Transfer the caramel to a small bowl and mix in the toasted coconut flakes, reserving a small portion of the coconut flakes for topping. 
  5. Once the cookies are chilled, add about a tablespoon of the caramel mix on top of each cookie. Spread evenly on top of the cookie using your fingers (wetting them helps keep the caramel from sticking). Add back to the freezer to firm up for about 30 minutes. 
  6. When ready to dip and drizzle, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 30 second increments until the chocolate is melted, stirring as you melt. 
  7. Remove the cookies from the freezer and dip the bottom into the chocolate. Place back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Once all of the cookies are dipped, drizzle the remaining chocolate on top with a spoon or fork. Place back in the freezer to harden for at least 10 minutes.
  8. To store the cookies, transfer them to a ziploc bag or container and keep them in the freezer until ready to enjoy.

Notes

If using monk fruit sweetener, I recommend the golden variety. If you would prefer not to use monk fruit, you can substitute for coconut sugar. 

You can use any kind of chocolate chips you like. I used Lily’s chocolate for this recipe, but you could use any dark chocolate you have on hand. 

Soaking the dates helps to soften them up a bit and create a smooth consistency. There are several ways to do this, including covering with warm water for 30 minutes, microwaving in a bowl and covered with water for 3 minutes, then letting them sit for another 10 minutes or so, or just soaking them on the counter for a couple of hours. You can also save the soaking liquid to lightly sweeten oatmeal or smoothies. 

If you don’t have coconut milk on hand, you can use filtered water. I recommend using the full fat coconut milk that is sourced from the can for a decadent texture. 

To make this recipe easier, you could skip the step to punch a hole in the middle of the cookie, or you can press the crust mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish and bake, then layer the caramel and chocolate drizzle on top.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 254
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 115mg
  • Fat: 21g
  • Saturated Fat: 11g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: girl scout, girl scout cookies, caramel, caramel delight, samoas, healthy samoas, homemade samoas, almond flour, dates, date caramel, coconut, gluten free cookie, gluten free baking, monk fruit, monk fruit cookie, no sugar added

Pin this Healthy Samoa Recipe so you have it when you’re craving Samoas and it’s not Girl Scout Cookie Season!

-Carly Paige

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Simply Swapped Everyday

Simply Swapped Everyday is your guide to elevating the everyday through mindful methods, ingredient swaps and over 75 plant-powered recipes. Cooking healthy foods at home has never been easier or more delicious!

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Hi! I’m Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert and chef who believes that healthy doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring or restrictive. I’m here to show you how through my Simply Swapped Method so that you can feel more energized and confident from within. You’ll find tips for focusing on nutrition in the kitchen, along with plant-powered, gluten-free recipes that proves healthy can be delicious.

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