*Almost Raw* Samoa Bars

This week is my birthday week.  I call it my birthday week because, well, I was born on a leap year – meaning I don’t have a birthday this year – and no one really quite knows when to celebrate my birthday.  I like to celebrate on the 28th, since it’s still in February, but I obviously don’t mind celebrating on the 1st of March, either.  Who would pass up more than one birthday celebration?!  This year will be particularly interesting because it’s also my 21st birthday.  Um, which day am I allowed to purchase alcohol?  Midnight on the 1st – right in between the 28th and 1st?  On the 28th?  What would make this way easier if my driver’s license had the “Under 21 until such and such date” like the PA licenses do.  But since I got my license in NY, they’re not quite as helpful.  Usually it would expire on my 21st birthday, but since I didn’t get my license till later, it doesn’t expire until 2015.  So.. we’ll see!

Since it’s my birthday week, it gives me an excuse to bake treats that I normally wouldn’t be able to justify finding the time for.  Like cake.  And homemade samoas!  Once I decided to make homemade samoas, I decided I’d make them healthier.  So I decided on a raw “shortbread” base and a date sweetened “caramel.”  Now, as you can tell from the pictures, these were cookies shaped just like samoas, but I’m posting a recipe for bars.  Why?  Um.. the amount of time and frustration put into cutting these delicate, raw cookies into rings was a little ridiculous.  I mean, it can be done, if you’re so inclined in putting in the effort, but honestly, making bars would be waaay easier.  The taste is great, so I still recommend making them.  Definitely in bars, though.
I know it’s Girl Scout cookie season, and I know it’s really hard to pass those up.  Ever since I realized pretty much every single Girl Scout cookie is full of hydrogenated oils, I haven’t touched them.  But I do miss my samoas.  So a healthier version was just the ticket!  Eventually, I’ll probably do the regular homemade way, as well, with the shortbread base drizzled with caramel and toasted coconut.  But this version is just what I needed when I’ll also be partaking in a not so healthy chocolate cake later this week.
One thing about these bars is that they are definitely best frozen.  They get a little too soft at room temperature, but really, how many of you out there freeze your Girl Scout cookies and eat them frozen?  I bet there are several of you.  So this one just requires it – no big deal!  A perfect little frozen treat.


What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?  I also really like Trefoils – another shortbread cookie – go figure! 😉


*Almost Raw* Samoa Bars

yields one 9x9 inch pan

    For the "shortbread" base:
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • For the coconut “caramel” topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups dates, soaked for about 10 minutes in hot water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • For the chocolate base and topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
For the "shortbread" base:

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and coconut together until in fine crumbs. Add in the honey, vanilla, and sea salt, and process until a moist dough forms.

Press the dough into a parchment lined 9×9 inch baking pan.

For the coconut “caramel” topping:

Toast the shredded coconut at 350ºF for about 5-8 minutes, until golden (be careful not to burn it). Allow it to cool while you make the “caramel.”

After soaking the dates, drain the water, and pulse in a food processor until a paste forms. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and salt, and process until smooth. Add the shredded coconut, and pulse until just combined.

Scoop the coconut “caramel” mixture out, and spread it evenly across the top of the “shortbread” base.

Cut into squares, and then transfer to the freezer for about 15 minutes, until set.

For the chocolate base and topping:

Place the chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl, and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted.

Remove the bars from the freezer, and dip each bar into the chocolate to coat the bottom. Once dipped, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat the dipping with each bar.

Once all the bars are dipped, remelt the remaining chocolate (if it has hardened), and then transfer it to a small ziplock bag using a rubber spatula. Snip off the corner of the bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the bars.

Place back in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate has hardened, and then transfer to airtight containers. Store in the freezer.

*If you want to make them into cookies, follow all of the above instructions, but instead of pressing it into a pan, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, and cut it into circles. Use a smaller circle to cut out the center to make a ring. They will crumble slightly, so just press the pieces back together when cutting/transferring.

If you go this route, you’ll want to freeze the dough after cutting so they are easier to handle. You’ll then top each individual base with the coconut caramel mixture, freeze again, and then dip and drizzle with chocolate.

  • Izy Hossack

    Oh my gahd, they look fantastic! and happy birthday week!!

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      :) thanks izy!!

  • http://projectpercipaws.blogspot.com/ Adriana~Caring Hearts Loving P

    Happy Birthday week!! These look fabulous and can’t wait to try this recipe! Most of all what wonderful recipes you have and how inspiring you are at 21! Happy Birthday!

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      Awe, thank you so much for your kind words! Lovely comments like yours keep me going at this – I appreciate it so much. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you do try it! :)

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I love my samoas frozen! slows down my eating of them.

    Found this recipe from foodgawker – looks delicious. I might make as an Easter treat for my gluten-free family members.

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      Haha, I hear you- I used to eat about half the box at a time. Don’t samoas seem to have so fewer cookies than the other Girl Scout cookies?!
      Hope you and your gluten-free family members enjoy it – it’s always nice to have a treat they can actually enjoy :)

  • Aruna

    Thanks for sharing! These are my favorite, and I’m so excited to see a raw version. I recently read a baked version, but it looks so difficult (I’m a beginner) with the parchment steps & all. I’ll try both, eventually because this is my all time favorite flavor combo.

    Will this work with almond milk instead of coconut milk?

    Happy Birthday. :)

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      Thank you!

      Almond milk should work fine; you may just need to use a bit less, since coconut milk is thicker. Let me know how it works out for you if you try it! :) Hope you enjoy.

  • Kim

    Hi, my name is Kim and my blog is Running and roasting. I got presented with a Liebster Award from a fellow food blogger. One of the rules of the award is for the recipient to present the award to 11 other bloggers and I’ve chosen you as one of my 11. From what I can gather, it’s just a bit of fun and a way for bloggers to get to know and support each other. You can read about it on my blog http://runningandroasting.blogspot.com if you’re interested. There’s no obligation to participate.

  • http://www.dessertfortwo.com/ DessertForTwo

    These look great! I love a raw version of an unhealthy treat. Guilt-free desserts are the best!

  • wisteria75

    Love this idea, thanks! Do you have the nutritional content?

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      I’m sorry, I don’t! I just enjoy anything in moderation without worrying about calories; you can input the recipe into a website that will formulate the nutritional content, though! Hope you enjoy them if you try them. :)

  • Jessie Kreitman

    Two questions how many cookies can it make anddd can u substitute other nuts or seeds for walnuts I’ve heard in some cookies you can use almonds or sunflower seeds

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      I definitely think other nuts would work, although I’ve never tried myself! Walnut just has more of a “shortbread” sort of flavor, since they’re more mild. I don’t remember exactly, but I think these made about 16-18 cookies. As bars, it’d probably be around 16.

      Hope you enjoy them! :)

      • Jessie Kreitman

        I actually ended up using the sunflower seeds (with maybe a tiny bit of almonds) and it came out beautiful. I made about 28 cookies. They were not as pretty as yours, but so delicious. Oh and I also did cashew milk instead of coconut milk bc that is what I had and it worked. Also BRILLIANT idea of putting it in the freezer SO good

        • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

          Yay! I’m so glad they worked for you. I need to make them again soon so I can truly remember how many it makes, haha! Happy you liked them! :)

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  • http://www.sweetashoney.co.nz sweetashoney.co.nz

    I am going to make this tomorrow. It is looks so amazing and diaetic friendly.

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  • Natalie Bickford

    I just made these in the square version. That ‘shortbread’ is to DIE for and then that coconut caramel….and chocolate??? So wonderful! I stored in the freezer, but let it sit out for a few minutes before you eat it for optimal consistency :) I’ll be posting on my blog — superfoodielife.com — soon!

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  • Kendall

    Are the walnuts able to be swapped out for another nut? Pecans? Allergies prevent me from touching walnuts or having them in the kitchen, let alone ingesting one.

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      Pecans would work fine! Another reader also had success with sunflower seeds. Let me know how you like them!

  • http://www.g-freerd.com/ Caroline Waters

    Hi there! Your photos are always so beautiful! What lens do you use?? Do you shoot in manual mode?

    • http://cookingalamel.com/ melinda @cookingalamel

      Thank you! I currently have a Nikon D5100 camera – the photos from this post were taken with the kit lens, but all recent photos on the blog were taken with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens. I only shoot in manual with lots of natural light. Hope that helps – feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like to talk more!

  • Jinna Park

    Hi!! I am making my transition into becoming a Vegan, and these look amazing! I was a Girl Scout all my life up till high school, so I definitely know what these are supposed to resemble! :)
    For the “shortbread” portion of the cookie, I see that it says unsweetened coconut–I am very unfamiliar with this new type of baking terminology.. is this the flesh of a coconut that comes in a can? Or is this referring to the kind that comes in a bag? I see that for the coconut topping that it calls for the shredded kind that comes in a bag from the baking aisle in stores–could you clarify these two types that you call for in the recipe?
    Thanks ! :)

  • Chrissy

    Just had to share how much my mom and I LOVE your recipe. I’ve been on an elimination diet for health reasons for the past couple of months and have been dying to cheat and have a samoa, but haven’t… until now. Your cookies were fabulous and are my new favorite treat. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!