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gluten-free samoa cookies

Gluten-Free Samoa Cookies


Just like you remember, but grain- and dairy-free! 



  • 2 Cups Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Tapioca, Arrowroot or Potato Starch
  • 3 tablespoons Butter or Earth Balance Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar, Organic Cane Sugar, Coconut Palm Sugar or Granulated Maple Sugar. *See note!
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Applesauce


  • 6 tablespoon Butter OR Earth Balance dairy free butter
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons heavy Coconut Milk OR Heavy Cream (note: for best results chill the can of coconut milk and skim the cream portion of the top to put into this caramel!)
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips (dairy or nondairy)
  • 1 cup Toasted Unsweetened Coconut Flakes. (Sweetened is fine too- but the cookies will end up extra sweet!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the shortbread crust:

  1.  In a food processor (or by hand) combine all of the crust ingredients. The dough should hold together. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rings or circles (see note above) Cut out the dough soon after you make it, as it sits out it will begin to feel oily and it won’t hold together quite as well.
  2. Carefully place the cut-out cookies on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Keep a careful watch on them the last few minutes to avoid burning. (note: cookies will come out soft and somewhat chewy- they will gain their shortbread texture as they cool!)
  3. Remove from oven. While they are cooling, Toast the coconut and make the caramel.

To toast the coconut:

  1. Place 1 cup of coconut flakes into a dry frying pan and slowly cook over medium -low heat and stirring often. Remove from heat when golden. Set aside.

To make the caramel:

  1. Combine all of the Caramel ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil. Let it gentle boil for 3-4 minutes whisking often! Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Carefully Spoon the hot caramel onto the will only need a few tsp’s at the most. Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes on top of the hot caramel before it cools.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in your microwave (stirring every 30 seconds until smooth). Note: if you want your chocolate a little bit thinner for drizzling you can add a tsp of coconut oil to it.
  4. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Place the cookies on a sheet of clean parchment paper. Drizzle the tops with some more chocolate to give the Samoas their classic look.
  5. Set aside and let the chocolate set. You can also stick them in the freezer to make the chocolate and caramel set quickly.


  • Substitution and baking notes:
    Need to avoid Dairy? For the caramel and the crust you can use earth balance dairy free butter. For the chocolate I like the brand Enjoy Life. (note from Simone: Guittard chips are soy and dairy-free as well)
  • Preparing your sugar is important. If you select a grainy sugar (like Sucanat or Palm) I really recommend you take the time to run it through a coffee grinder or blender to powder it before using it in the crust. It just works so much better that way. This extra step is not needed if you are using Cane Sugar. Just Sucanat or Palm I have found to be extra course. None of this extra powdering treatment is needed for the caramel as its all going to melt anyways.