Samoas Bars

Does anyone not like Girl Scout Cookies?  If you don’t like them, I’ll be glad to take them off your hands.

Specifically, if you have Thin Mints or Samoas cookies, those are my top picks.  I love them so much that it was time to make an at-home version of Samoas.

Here’s my take on Samoas Cookies in bar form.

The Girl Scouts also call Samoas “Caramel deLites” now, too.  I’m not sure why the word “Lite” is anywhere near these cookies.

They sure aren’t “lite” but they sure are amazing.  As in, I can eat a half box in a sitting, easily.

Even if you don’t “love” coconut, and I know lots of people who don’t, most people find Samoas darn tasty.  The coconut in them just works.

I wanted to create a recipe that was easy and that brought a little Samoas action into my life.

And into my stomach.

The flavor of these bars really resembles Samoas…

…There are chocolate chips involved

…And coconut flakes and butterscotch chips, too.

I think the butterscotch chips provide the bars with the “Caramel”  that you’d find in the Caramel deLite part of Samoas cookies.

The texture of the bars is blondie-ish but because of the coconut flakes,  but they have more chewiness and density than blondies.

In a way they remind me of Magic Eight Bars but the Samoas Bars are denser than Magic Eight Bars.  There’s no graham cracker crust for starters and even though the two look similar, they are distinctly different.

One of the reasons I made these bars is that I was rushing around and wanted to bake something but didn’t want to go to the trouble of scooping out cookies, one by one, on a cookie sheet.

I’d rather make bars than make cookies.  It’s so much faster to spread batter in a pan than to scoop out cookie ball shapes onto a cookie sheet.

Of course, these cookies were worth it, but sometimes a 9 x 13 pan and a wham-bam-thank-you-sheet-pan-ma’am is where it’s at.

Thus, bars trumped cookies this particular day.

I noticed plenty of recipes on the internet for “Samoas Bars” but many of them were a bit fussy. 

Base layers, middle layers, top layers, baking the layers in stages, drizzling chocolate on the top, dipping the base of the cookies in chocolate.  Those recipes get Brownie Points <– get it for beautiful cookies that look like the real thing and probably taste fabulous.

I’d like to think my recipe gets Brownie Points because it’s easy and goof-proof and very non-fussy: One bowl, one spoon, it takes less than 5 minutes to make the batter, 20 minutes or so to bake, and in under a half hour you can make these, bake them, and get the dishes done.

That’s success in my book.

 

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Samoas Bars (with easy Vegan & Gluten-Free Adaptations)

1/2 c butter * (1 stick, and see Edited to add note)

1 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1 egg (or 1 flax/chia “egg” or egg replacer)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c shredded coconut * (I used Tropical Traditions unsweetened shredded coconut.  They are unsweetened and very fine, and see Edited to Add note)

3/4 c all-purpose flour (note: increase this based on the consistency of your batter by about 1/4 c as needed; your batter should be fairly thick)

1/2 c butterscotch chips (or peanut butter chips, or white chocolate chips, or vegan butterscotch chips)

3/4 c chocolate chips

Directions: In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter (approximately 90 seconds).  It’s ok if it doesn’t all melt completely; some liquid + some softened butter is fine.  Add the sugars & stir.  Wait until the mixture is somewhat cool (about 5 minutes so you don’t scramble the egg) and then add all remaining items other than the chips & stir.  Fold in the chips.  Pour mixture into a foil-lined and sprayed 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.  Sprinkle a few extra chips on the top if desired.  Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes.  Allow to cool well, slice, serve.  Store extras on the countertop, refrigerator, or freeze for longer-term storage.

Yields: 12-18 bars depending on size of slices

To make vegan: use margarine, use 1 flax or chia ‘egg’ or other egg replacer and vegan butterscotch chips

To make gluten free: use GF flour and take note of trace gluten in the other ingredients.

*Edited to Add: I used Tropical Traditions Shredded Coconut and had no issue with these bars being greasy.  I cannot guarantee results if you use other types of coconut.  Coconut can be greasy as it inherently contains lots of fat, but varies widely by brand.  Other brands could contribute to these bars becoming greasy.  I do not know because I have only used Tropical Traditions brand coconut.

If you are using shredded coconut that you’d typically find in most grocery stores, you may want to consider reducing the amount of butter to 1/4 c to start with, and adding more butter after looking at your batter, if you feel it’s on the dry side.  Not hard to add a bit more melted butter at the end should you feel that’s necessary.

Also, because coconut fat liquifies when heated, if you find these bars to be “greasy” or oily immediately after making them, wait 24 hours and you will likely notice that most of the oil has been “re-absorbed” into the bars.  This is because the coconut fat re-solidifies and hardens.  This recipe could be one of those “gets better the second day” recipes if you notice any oily issues.  You can speed this process up by freezing the bars and upon thawing them to room temperature you will notice any oiliness will have been dramatically reduced.

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I really liked these because they reminded me of all the Girl Scout cookies I used to sell when I was a Girl Scout.

And all the Girl Scout cookies I used to consume.  I usually had to hit my parents up for extra money because I was sampling my own inventory a bit too much.  Ahem.

Because of these bars I just may be able to resist those $5-per-box boxes of Samoas which last precisely one day in our house.

Those darn Girl Scouts standing in front of Target or the grocery store peddling their cookies are pretty hard to resist, though.

I will remind myself that I can make these bars.

Take that, Girl Scouts.

Crumbs and all. 

Questions:

1. What’s your favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookie? Do you like Samoas Cookies?

My two favorite cookies are Samoas and Thin Mints.

Raw Vegan Thin Mint Fudge is easy, no bake, and has the flavor of Thin Mint cookies.  If you make that recipe, go light handed with the peppermint extract (very powerful stuff!)

In 2009 I made Raw Vegan Samoas Cookies.  They were one of the first things I ever made in my dehydrator.

However, I do not recommend making those cookies unless you have about two days.   The cookie crust, the filling, all of the pieces and parts and stages involved were cumbersome.  Like about 18 hours each to complete.  Dehydrators work slowly.  Too slowly.  Ummm, no thanks.   I embrace my oven.

I also like Tagalongs and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies, but not nearly as much as Thin Mints or Samoas.

2. Were you a Girl Scout?  Did you sell cookies?  Do you feel any pressure to buy cookies?  Or other “school fundraiser” type things from kids?

I was a Girl Scout.  I sold cookies, and I loved it.  I loved talking people into buying cookies.  Not really sure how much “talking into” there was since most people seem to love Girl Scout Cookies, but I did enjoy the thrill of the sale and seeing my order form fill up.

I try to support kids’ fundraisers and buy things as much as is practical when I am asked.  How do you tell a friend who asks you to buy a raffle ticket so her child’s school can get new playground equipment or to buy some candy bars to help fund her kid’s school band trip or class field trip, “Oh, sorry, I can’t.”   <– I feel like such a scrooge if I do.

So, yes, I have bought more candy bars, raffle tickets, Happenings books, cookies, calendars, and magazine subscriptions than I ever needed.  I do occasionally say no, but I’m a pushover.  Yes, I am.

P.S. Thanks for the $100 Visa Giftcard & Pedometer Giveaway entries.   Winner announced next post.

   

115 Responses to “Samoas Bars”

  1. #
    51
    Bob Pony — October 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Made these today and ended up with a big greasy result as well. I didn’t add more flour as my batter was already very thick with the 3/4 cup. The bottom half of the baked cookie is just soaked in grease, I think there’s too much butter. Love the taste though, we do want to figure this one out. Will try it again with less butter and more coconut.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 24th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      Sorry to hear that you did not have a good result. The only thing I can think of is that I used Tropical Traditions Coconut Flakes. I have made a note of this in the recipe. I think the issue is that supermarket brand coconut flakes have more grease in them. That is the only variable I can think of. Everything else…butter, flour, 1 egg, is pretty standard…therefore I think it’s coming back to the coconut flakes and type/brand. The Tropical Traditions are very fine and dry.

      Reply

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    Abby White@Eat, Drink and Be Aware — October 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Oh my…. those look amazing! I am going to have to make those tonight. Yum. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 24th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Ok there have been a few people who said they were “greasy”. If you make them, just note the butter/type of coconut flakes used and if you do make them, I’d love your feedback.

      Reply

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    Lucy @ Porridge and Parsnips — October 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I just made these tonight, they taste amazing! They are slightly greasy but not overly – they set perfectly, just leave a slight film on my fingers when eating them. Mine look less tightly packed (& a lot darker brown?) than yours though so I’m sure it’s the coconut that’s the difference – we don’t have Tropical Traditions over here.

    Still a successful recipe in my mind though, I love them, thank you! :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 26th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks for the feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed them. And yes, Samoas and coconut-anything cookies tend to have a little great. Coconut is about 50% fat, after all :)

      Reply

  4. #
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    Bob Pony — October 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Tried these again today, same result. I think you’re right, it may be the brand of coconut.

    I cut back the butter to just one stick, and did a convection oven setting this time for 325 – baked it for a full 25 minutes. Baked up just perfectly, albiet darker again than yours. But the bottom half of the cookie is just soaked in grease just as before.

    Butter was Trader Joe’s butter, coconut was Baker’s brand Angel Flake Sweetened coconut. I’d say that I did find the batter to be very thick but also greasy going into the pan. It’s just 3/4 cup of flour, right?

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 26th, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      Ok I am pretty sure it’s the Baker’s Coconut. That brand is pretty greasy. Coconut inherently IS very greasy, it’s at least 50% saturated fat :)

      The reason why I only used the amount of flour that I did was because the coconut I use is VERY dry, fine, flakey, and powdery. If you have access to a health food store or a whole foods or somewhere where organic coconut is sold in bulk; go look at it. You’ll be able to see how fine and dry and powderey it is. Thus, I didn’t need any extra flour and I don’t have the greasy problem.

      Sorry you’re having this result and thanks for trying again. But after this second field report, we can be almost sure that yes, it’s the coconut flakes.

      The commenter above you is from the UK and she made them and had luck. There are just lots of variables in coconut.

      Being that this blog is a labor of love of mine and it’s not a cookbook that is being published, I wish I could test and retest recipes with different brands of things, i.e. the type of coconut and how that impacts the final result…but in the meantime, I’m learning on the job, so to speak and reports such as yours help. Although for your sake, sorry that things haven’t gone perfectly smoothly.

      If you should try again, with another brand of coconut, more flour, or any other variables, let me know!

      Reply

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    Bob Pony — October 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Attempt #3, unfortunately still very greasy. Ah well, they still taste good once blotted for a while on paper towels. Just not nearly as pretty as yours. You must have a magic oven. :)

    This time we picked up dry organic coconut from the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Very fine, dry, and powdery, like flour. Baked up fine. We let them cool a few hours, then cut them – bottom half is grease. Maybe it’s the chocolate? Or the butter? I think we’ve reached the end of our experimenting for the time being, but would be happy to hear that someone else built on this and figured it out! :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 28th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Bob you are a trooper, I appreciate your valiant efforts!

      Ok so you tried finer coconut flakes, very dry and powdery. The chocolate chips I used are TJ’s. The butter was generic Ralph’s brand real butter, unsalted, in a stick. That’s what was on sale that week but I really don’t think that matters.

      The amount of butter involved for such a large recipe isn’t really going to make the final result “that” greasy. Yes, there is some grease, these are not like eating say a dry cracker; maybe similar to the amount of grease you’d find on the bottom of a nice croissant from a nice bakery. Some, but not dripping, by any means. I truly don’t know what the missing link is…and believe me, I have thought about you and your efforts and this recipe TONS since your various comments have come in.

      I do appreciate you giving it such a great effort. At least it sounds like things are still completely edible. Just a little blotting and that’s it.

      Ok I am also lining my baking dish in foil. I wouldn’t think that has anything to do with it but thought I’d mention that, too.

      Take care and thanks for your feedback and for being nice in your comments; I do have people who get irate with me if they don’t get the result they were hoping for. Thanks for being so kind :)

      Reply

  6. #
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    Bob Pony — October 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    No worries! Baking is a hobby, not a profession around here. There are going to failures on the way to perfecting things.

    Let’s see, I used a foil lined 8×8 pyrex pan, and sprayed the foil with Pam each time. This third attempt the chocolate chips were Whole Foods 365 brand, the butterscotch chips were Nestle. Butter was Trader Joe’s I think. And the coconut was the finely shredded, powdery stuff from the Whole Foods bulk bin.

    I think it’s a matter of tweaking the butter down some (maybe a quarter cup less, like my attempt #2). And maybe playing around with a different pan. They’re definitely much, much better than the first attempt, and slightly better than attempt #2. The other thing I noticed about attempt #2…by the next day a lot of the grease had either blotted out onto the paper towels or had reabsorbed into the cookie. Either way they’d dried out a good bit (at least visibly, lol).

    Tasty cookie, will be happy to hear if someone cracks this!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 28th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      Ok…yes to tweaking the butter down, maybe just 1/4 c rather than 1/2 c or slightly less than 1/2 c. The thing is…is that in a batch of bars this size, that little 1/4 c of extra butter doesn’t really seem like it’s going to make a huge difference.

      This just gave me a lightbulb moment:
      “The other thing I noticed about attempt #2…by the next day a lot of the grease had either blotted out onto the paper towels or had reabsorbed into the cookie. Either way they’d dried out a good bit..”

      Ok so after I made these, I cooled them on the countertop but then was in a hurry to get them to cool down even further b/c I wanted to take pics of them and I needed them well cooled to slice them. So I stuck them in the freezer. Life got away from me, forgot about them in there and the next day, went back in to the freezer, unthawed them, sliced, and photographed them and then kept the extras in the freezer and then doled out 1 or 2 as desired for a week afterward.

      I think that yes, the grease sort of does ‘re-absorb’ if you will…and being that coconut oil freezes solid b/c of the fat, there may be something to that. Put your current pan of bars, or a half dozen of them in the freezer, let them freeze, and then in a day or so, remove from freezer and let it come up to room temp. I bet the grease problem dissipates dramatically.

      One way or the other, I am determined to crack this code…with you!

      Reply

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    Bob Pony — October 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Yep, I think you figured it out. The batch from yesterday has ‘re-absorbed’ the oil and they look just like yours this morning. Maybe this is a ‘make it a day ahead and let it sit’ recipe? lol.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 29th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Well after all that, the code has been cracked! Letting them sit rather than devouring them right away. The coconut oil melts and liquifies when cooking and after they cool and after some time has passed, the oil appears to re-absorb, i.e. re-solidify.

      Wow, glad we have our answer. I will be updating the recipe with this note :)

      Reply

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    Stacy — October 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Delicious! Made them for a potluck today. Used whole wheat flour instead of white. Everyone loved them. Someone asked if they could eat the whole plate of them!!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 30th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      So glad to hear they were a hit! Thanks for LMK you made them with wheat flour and that worked out well, too.

      Reply

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    L. Marie — October 31, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I made these yesterday. I used sweetened coconut that was pretty oily. I cut the butter in half (1/4 cup). They were a little oily at first but after sitting for 24 hours, they are perfect. Delicious!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — October 31st, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Thanks for the field report and for the sweetened storebought coconut and cutting the butter down to 1/4 c report…and yes, letting them sit for 24 hrs is key I have found. The oil just…goes back in :). Glad you like them!

      Reply

  10. #
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    JulieD — November 2, 2011 at 7:29 am

    How the heck did I miss these? They are so amazing…yours look better. Going on the list to try!

    Reply

  11. #
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    Danielle — December 7, 2011 at 9:09 am

    LOVED this blog and loved the recipe! I replicated your recipe and posted my own blog with pictures, hope you enjoy!! http://djg24.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/110/

    Reply

  12. #
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    Jenny — February 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Mmmmm somoas are the best!

    Reply

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    Andrea — May 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I just made these tonight…delish! My husband loves Samoas, but being that I am GF I can never have any of the cookies he buys. He tried one of the bars and said they tasted just like the cookie! I made them with GF flour and used only 1/4 c butter. They didn’t turn out greasy and they firmed up pretty quick. After they cooled a little, I lifted the entire pan out (using the foil) to finish cooling on a wire rack and could cut them within 15 minutes.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 2nd, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      I love really detailed feedback like this. The butter amount, that you used GF flour, and that within 15 mins they were good to go! I have a tendency to freeze all my desserts because I have lots on hand at any given time :) And they are not greasy in the least for me and glad they were the same for you AND that your hubs thought they tasted just like Samoas!

      Reply

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    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — July 29, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Juuuust clicked over to this from the Thin Mints and OMG. I need these, like, yesterday. Samoas are my die-hard favorite cookie, almost ever, but for sure with Girl Scouts. I sold cookies as a Brownie and it was so much fun, until I just grew out of it–but never grew out of eating the cookies, FYI. :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — July 29th, 2012 at 10:38 am

      You would love them then. If you make them, just make sure to let them sit for awhile (read the comments/my comment replies re oil absorption) & you’re set!

      Reply

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