Samoa Bars

TIMEDecember 5, 2021

In the UK, we’re not lucky enough to have access to American Girl Scout cookies, and that’s a big problem, at least for me. My yearly cravings for thin mint and Samoa cookies remains unfulfilled. Thankfully, both are relatively easy to replicate at home. These simple bars are my vegan take on the classic Samoa cookie, made with shortbread, coconut milk caramel, lots of toasted coconut, and generous drizzles of dark chocolate.

Makes 15

  • 2/3 cup (5 1/4 ounces/145 grams) unrefined coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 ounces/350 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounce/40 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons (2 3/4 ounces/75 milliliters) maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) dark chocolate, melted, 
for decorating

For the Coconut Caramel

  • 2 cups (5 1/2 ounces/150 grams) desiccated coconut
  • 3 tablespoons (1 3/4 ounces/45 milliliters) unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 11-ounce can condensed coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces/55 grams) light brown sugar

Lightly grease your 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line 
with a large single sheet of parchment paper that fully covers both base and sides.

Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Put the coconut oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan and heat until the oil has fully melted. Make a well in the bowl of dry ingredients and pour in the oil mixture. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until a dough forms. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press into a flat, even layer. Dock the surface with a fork, then refrigerate for 
30 minutes, or until the base is firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the coconut in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden. Tip into a bowl and set aside for the moment.

Once the chilled base is firm, bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and the edges are a touch darker. Set aside.

For the caramel, place the coconut oil, condensed coconut milk, golden syrup, and sugar in a saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the color 
deepens a little and the mixture slightly thickens. (If you’ve ever made a traditional [non-vegan] condensed milk caramel, it’s worth noting that this version won’t thicken or darken in quite the same way.) If you want to guarantee it is cooked enough, heat the caramel until it reaches 234 degrees F on an instant-read or sugar thermometer.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the toasted coconut, then immediately spread the mixture over the shortbread. Set aside to cool at room temperature.

To finish, use the parchment paper to carefully lift the bars from the tin, then drizzle over the melted chocolate, using a spoon or a piping bag. Use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into pieces.

Stored in a sealed container, these will keep for 4 days.

Recipe reprinted with permission from “One Tin Bakes Easy” by Edd Kimber, Kyle Books.

Edd Kimber