How to Make Homemade Caramel DeLites (AKA Samoa Cookies)

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Missed out on ordering Girl Scout Cookies? No worries. With this recipe for Samoa cookies, you can enjoy a bite of chocolate, caramel and coconut any time!

This recipe for homemade Samoa cookies (aka Caramel deLites) may be better than the real thing.

You can order a box of Girl Scout Samoas and do a scientific taste comparison between the original recipe and our copycat Samoa cookies recipe. It’s a win-win situation we think all Girl Scouts (and Girl Scout Cookie lovers) can support!

P.S. Here’s a look at your state’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie.

Samoas vs. Caramel deLites: What’s the Difference?

Depending on what part of the country you call home, your local Girl Scout Troop will sell these heavenly chocolate-drizzled coconut-caramel cookies as either Samoas or Caramel deLites.

The reason for the different Girl Scout Cookie names all comes down to trademark law. Girl Scouts of America uses two bakehouses to produce and distribute their cookies: ABC Bakers, based in Richmond, Virginia, and Little Brownie Bakers, based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Since 1986, Little Brownie Bakers has owned and held the exclusive trademark to use the Samoa brand name, meaning other bakehouses contracted by Girl Scouts must use an alternative cookie name (hello, Caramel deLites).

While these two cookies may appear the same in terms of packaging and general appearance, there are some subtle differences worth noting:

  • Chocolate: While both cookies are dipped and drizzled in chocolate, Samoas are made with thicker, darker chocolate than Caramel deLites, which have sweeter, milkier chocolate.
  • Size: Samoas are slightly larger (albeit thinner) than Caramel deLites.
  • Caramel: While both cookies boast a lovely caramel coating, Caramel deLites take the cake (erm, cookie) with a thicker, chewier layer of caramel in every bite.
  • Coconut: If you’re all about that “deLite-ful” coconut topping (or love coconut recipes, in general), you should know that Samoas have a more generous amount of toasty coconut goodness than Caramel deLites.

Now it’s time to start baking. Keep reading for the step-by-step recipe, so you can enjoy everyone’s second-favorite Girl Scout Cookie. (Find America’s first favorite Girl Scout Cookie.)

How to Make Samoas

This recipe makes 30 cookies, equivalent to two boxes of Caramel deLites or Samoas.

Samoa Cookies ingredients laid out on a purple backgroundLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Topping:

  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 (11-ounce) bags soft caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups dark or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Sift together dry ingredients

dry ingredients sifted together in a glass bowl on a purple backgroundLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Editor’s Tip: You can sift without a sifter!

Step 2: Mix dough

ingredients in a mixer bowl on a purple backgroundLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then slowly stir in the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

Step 3: Chill dough

flattened disk of dough on a sheet of plastic wrap on a purple backgroundLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and shape it into a flat disk; about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic and then chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Don’t skip this step—it’s important to chill your cookie dough.

Step 4: Toast shredded coconut

toasting the shredding coconut in a pan on purple backgroundLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

While the dough chills, toast the coconut. Spread the coconut in a single layer in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Stirring continuously, toast the coconut until it is fragrant and golden in color. Remove promptly to a bowl and let cool.

Step 5: Roll and cut

rolled out dough being cut into circlesLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out, using a rolling pin, to 1/4-in. thick. Use a 2-1/2-in. doughnut cutter (or two round biscuit cutters sized 2-1/2 in. and 1/2-in.) to cut out the cookies.

Reroll any scraps and continue to cut out cookies until all the dough is used.

Step 6: Bake cookies

baked cookies cooling on a wire cooling rack on purple backgroundLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Arrange the cookies, 1 inch apart, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch between each one. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake for 10-11 minutes until just barely golden around the edges. Remove and let cool completely.

Step 5: Melt caramels

melting caramelLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

While the cookies cool, melt the caramel candies in a saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream then remove from the heat and let cool slightly. (You could also make your own soft caramel candies.)

Step 6: Make coconut caramel

mixing toasted coconut into melted caramelLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Transfer 3/4 of the caramel to a bowl and gently fold in the toasted coconut.

Step 7: Decorate cookies

spreading coconut caramel topping onto cookiesLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Use the remaining caramel to spread the tops of each cookie with melted caramel.

Then, take 1-2 tablespoons of coconut-caramel topping and spread it gently onto the top of each cookie. Let the caramel set.

In testing, we found spreading an initial thin layer of plain melted caramel on the cookies helps make spreading the coconut-caramel mixture onto the cookies much easier (and less messy).

Step 8: Melt chocolate

melted chocolate in a glass bowl on purple backgroundLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate until smooth (or try one of these tried-and-true methods to melt chocolate). Stir in the coconut oil until fully incorporated and then remove the chocolate from the heat.

Step 9: Dip

dipping cookies in the chocolateLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

One at a time, dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate, shaking off any excess so a thin, even coating remains. After dipping, place the cookies (chocolate-side down) on a clean piece of parchment paper to set.

Editor’s Tip: There’s no “clean” way to do this. Be prepared to make a mess!

Step 10: Drizzle

drizzled chocolate on cookies laid out on a sheet of wax paperLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Transfer any remaining chocolate to a piping bag or quart-sized zip-top bag with the tip snipped. Then, pipe an even drizzle of chocolate stripes over the top of each cookie. Allow the chocolate to set completely, then enjoy!

Editor’s Tip: If your kitchen is warm or you would like to speed up the setting process you may transfer the finished cookies to the refrigerator or freezer for 20-30 minutes.

How to Store Your Samoa Cookies

close up of a bunch of homemade girl scout samoa cookies on a sheet of wax paperLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Once the chocolate is fully set, store your homemade Samoa cookies at room temperature in an airtight, covered container for up to 1 week. (Here are more cookie storage tips to try.)

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.