My favorite Girl Scout cookies are the Samoas—there’s something about the combination of coconut and chocolate that I just find irresistible! However, I don’t care for the gluten in the cookie, nor do I care for the processed “stuff” that goes into them.
So, on a quest to find a recipe for a non-processed, paleo-friendly version of my beloved Samoas, I came across this excellent recipe from Elena’s Pantry.
Let me tell you, that recipe turns out so delicious that you might not ever want the processed version again.
BUT—and this is a big but—the recipe is fairly complicated and takes quite a long time to make. For me, it wasn’t something that I was going to do as a snack on a regular basis.
I decided to see if I could take the basic elements and change it into more of a “cookie bar” recipe that was still paleo, gluten-free, and (relatively) low glycemic index.
And boy did I succeed on these ones!! It is hard to tell you how absolutely delicious these are— you just have to try them!! There are a few steps to making these, but it’s all very simple and the end result is UNBELIEVABLY good!
In fact, I brought these to a recent party of a bunch of race car drivers and enthusiasts (the host of the party has celiac disease, so I always try to bring something gluten-free for him). He knew they were gluten-free, but no one else did. About an hour into the party, a giant, burly man walked up to me and asked, “Hey—did you make those bars? I don’t know what they are, but I just ate about 7 of them. Those are some of the best things I’ve ever tried!”
I’d say that’s a high compliment.
So try them! If you do, let me know what you think!!
Paleo Samoas Cookie Bars
Makes at least 36 - 48 cookie bars
Time: 1 hour
Cookie Bar Dough Ingredients:
- 2 cups of blanched almonds or 2 cups of almond flour
- 2 cups of pecans
- 1 bag of mini chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Chips)
- 1 bag of unsweetened shredded coconut (I like Edward & Sons Organic Shredded Coconut)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 eggs (or the equivalent egg substitute, if you don’t do eggs. I think it would turn out well with applesauce as a substitute)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Coconut “Caramel” Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 cup coconut sugar (I like Wholesome Sweeteners)
- 1/4 cup coconut nectar (I like Coconut Secret)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (My absolute FAVORITE is Califia Farms. It’s an all-natural brand with few ingredients and NO guar gum or any other preservative. Even better, it’s completely delicious.)
You’ll also need:
- large mixing bowl
- 9 x 13 baking dish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the dough:
- If you are using pre-made almond flour, put the two cups in the mixing bowl. If you are making your own flour with blanched almonds, put the almonds in a food processor and chop them until they start to give up their oil. I know this has happened when the bits of almond start to form into little balls on the top. The overall consistency will be like very grainy sand. Put that in the mixing bowl.
- Now, you are going to do the same with the pecans. You want to grind the pecans until it just starts to look like it’s almost going to make pecan butter (like peanut butter). It should still have the consistency of grainy sand, though. Put that in the mixing bowl.
- Add the honey, eggs, and baking soda.
- Add 1.5 cups of chocolate chips. Reserve the rest for later.
- Add 1 cup of shredded coconut.
- Melt the coconut oil gently in a saucepan (it doesn’t take long for it to melt). Pour this into the mixing bowl, then mix everything up very well. It will be a thick dough consistency.
- Use some coconut oil or grass fed butter to butter the baking dish. Reserve about 1.5 cups of dough for later, then press the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake this layer for 10 minutes.
- Place the dough that you are reserving into the fridge.
Now, make the “caramel” sauce. (I took this recipe directly from Elena’s Pantry’s Samoas Cookie recipe, and it is terrific.)
1. Place the coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and coconut milk into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often. It will thicken up just slightly before the 10 minutes are done.
Onto the final assembly!
- Take the bottom layer out of the oven.
- Pour the warm caramel sauce over the entire layer, smoothing out with a knife if you need to in order to cover to the edges.
- Take the reserved dough out of the fridge, and drop in small crumbles all over the top of the coconut caramel sauce. This does not need to be neat in any way; just imagine this like a crumble topping you might put on an apple pie; it’s the same idea.
- Take the remaining chocolate chips and sprinkle over the top.
- Take another 1/4 cup or so of shredded coconut and sprinkle over top.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
You can eat this warm with some coconut milk ice cream over it (it tastes like the best cookie dough sundae you’ve ever had), or put it in the fridge to chill, which will allows the layers to form up. Super yummy!!!