Sometimes, I just can’t bear to keep a recipe from you for one more second. This is one of those times. I just enjoyed one of these for dessert and it feels wrong that you don’t know about them yet. I don’t even know how much Girl Scout cookies go for now but I’m certain that they are way more than the $2.50 they cost when I was hustling them. (Insert depressingly accurate statement about how I suddenly feel super old.) While we still happily support the Girl Scouts whenever we are approached to buy cookies, we almost never end up eating them. The boxes get shoved farther and farther back in the pantry, resorted to only in the most dire of dessert emergencies. My overall experience of them is nostalgic but I always end up feeling a bit disappointed by the actual taste. Like, did I really just waste calories on that? This might make me crazy, I know. I am what I am, and I’m cool with it.

Samoas were always my absolute favorite of the cookies. I loved them dearly. I’ve made homemade versions of the cookies in the past and, while they are wonderful, I prefer a simplified version that still has that amazing flavor combo I love so much without rolling, cutting, dipping, etc. I decided to experiment with a bar version of this beloved cookie. I ended up taking various elements from the samoa cupcakes I made not too very long ago, and adapting to bar cookie form. In case you were wondering, this is the perfect reason to make a batch of homemade vanilla bean caramels. They definitely take the flavor to the next level. These bars turned out even better than I could have hoped for and now I’m just going to stop talking so you can make them ASAP.


For the shortbread base: 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the topping: 

  • 11½ oz. soft caramels (store bought or homemade)
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. milk
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • ½ tsp. coconut extract
  • 2¼ cups sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed just until combined. Add in the milk and vanilla and blend in briefly. Transfer the dough mixture to the prepared pan and press down into an even layer. Bake about 20-24 minutes, or until the shortbread is just set and light golden brown. Transfer to a  wire rack and let cool completely.

  • 02

    Add the chocolate for the cookie base to a small bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Spread the chocolate in a thin layer onto a piece of parchment over an area measuring around 9 x 9 inches. Remove the shortbread from the baking pan and place on top of the melted chocolate to coat the bottom completely. Using the parchment as a sling, gently return the slab of shortbread to the pan.

  • 03

    In a medium bowl, combine the caramels and the milk. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is fully melted and smooth. Stir in the salt, coconut extract and toasted coconut. Transfer the mixture to the pan with the shortbread and spread or press into an even layer. Melt the remaining chopped chocolate and drizzle over the top of the bars. Let set and cool completely before slicing and serving.

  • Coconut, chocolate and a shortbread base, I bet these are so delicious! We don’t have girl scout cookies in the UK but I agree that homemade is the only way to go!

  • These look fabulous! Girl Scout cookies are so disappointing now. I still buy them to support the Girl Scouts, but you are right, they’re not worth the calories. I’d much rather have one of these bars!

  • Heather M.

    You just made my day! I completely agree that the cookies are a bit disappointing. I always remember them being better than they are. I cannot wait to try these!

  • Holly Drainer

    How did you get the bottom of the shortbread in the chocolate? Did it hold together once you took the parchment off? Can’t wait to try this!

  • annieseats

    That is described in the directions. Enjoy!

  • samoas are my absolute favorite too…i havent bought those this year..maybe its samoa cookie bars time.

  • I’ve made a similar version of these and they are fantastic! So much easier than making the cookies! And I still love your Samoa cupcakes. Maybe my favorite thing I’ve ever baked.

  • Seema Talwar

    Samoas are my girl’s favorite and these days they go for $4/box. I totally agree that the cookies are disappointing and not worth the calories. I’m so looking forward to trying your recipe and making them at home and knowing exactly the ingredients I’m eating! Thanks always!

  • Linda

    Don’t feel old Annie…I sold Girl Scout cookies for 35c a box!

  • Hi Annie, oh I love girl scout cookies, these look delicious!

  • Danielle Sturgeon

    Could I use your salted caramel sauce or would that be too thin?

  • denadorite

    This is the exact same thing I did with the Lemonades. I spent so much time creating the perfect recipe that now the (eight) boxes I bought from my niece are sitting uneaten, oops.

  • annieseats

    Unfortunately that wouldn’t work out. It needs to be actual caramel candies.

  • Sarah

    I made these yesterday! They didn’t turn out this pretty, but they were very tasty!

  • Donna

    Hi Annie, I made these tonight and while they taste awesome, the shortbread was falling apart. When I cut them, and tried to pick them up, the shortbread layer separated from the Carmel layer? Any idea what happened?

  • annieseats

    I’m not sure, I didn’t have that issue. Were they well chilled before you cut into them?

  • Chelvi

    They look so delicious. When I came to this page and saw the first picture, it was as if it is sitting in front of me. I wish I could reach out to the browser and grab the cookie to eat

  • Natalie

    HI Annie! I’m having the same issue. I didn’t refrigerate; was I supposed to? I just let them cool on the counter overnight. They are DELICIOUS either way! But yes…it’s like Hansel and Gretel around my office right now with the shortbread trails of crumbs, haha!!

  • annieseats

    Hmm, so strange! I did chill mine so maybe I need to add that to the recipe. Mine cut really easily, possibly because they were chilled.

  • andrea412

    I just made these this weekend and they were delicious and a big hit! Instead of putting the chocolate on the bottom of the shortbread, I drizzled it directly on top and put the caramel on top of that just because I was feeling lazy and it worked fine :)