Whole Food Vegan Samoa Brownies


(Note: this post was originally published on March 11, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Samoa Love!

I'm very happily celebrating Girl Scout Cookie season with these brownies. Inspired by Samoas (or Caramel Delites, depending on who you ask), these brownies are unbelievably decadent yet also incredibly nourishing for the body. Actually, I'm pretty sure they're magic.

I really can't describe in words the immense love I feel for these brownies. A rich, fudgy brownie gets topped with a delightfully sticky caramel coconut layer and then finished off with a drizzle of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt. If there's a more fun, nostalgic dessert out there, I haven't found it.

These bars are inspired by Samoas, which are the ring-shaped Girl Scout cookies with the chocolate bottom and coconut caramel top. I love how Samoas are a bit sticky, a bit chewy, and have lots of different flavors. Plus I just adore coconut, so they're definitely my favorite Girl Scout cookies. My version stays completely faithful to the flavors in Samoas; there's no need to mess with a good thing! The coconut caramel layer on the top is also remarkably like the texture of Samoas; sort of chewy and gooey. The coconut layer sits on top of the most delightful, fudgy brownie, which in my opinion is a major upgrade from the cookies.

Whole Food Vegan Samoa Brownies with chocolate drizzle

Nourishing Ingredients

Despite their decadence, these brownies are essentially just fruit and nuts. They're entirely fruit-sweetened except for the chocolate drizzle and entirely flourless. The fat comes from nuts. The concept for these brownies is based on my Whole Food Vegan Snickers Brownies, which you all went crazy for this past fall.

The brownies themselves are just dates, peanut butter, nut milk, flax seed meal, cocoa powder, and leaveners. Miraculous, right?? The dates give them sweetness and the most delightful fudgy texture, while the peanut butter provides richness. In all seriousness, these are some of the most incredible brownies I've ever had.

The coconut layer is a date-based "caramel" (yes, dates again, they're amazing!) and toasted coconut. So, like the brownie layer, it's all just fruit and nuts.

Whole Food Vegan Samoa Brownies from above

Tips and Tricks

These brownies require a few different steps, but nothing challenging. You'll make the brownie batter in the food processor and bake it. Meanwhile, you'll make the date caramel, toast some coconut, and mix up the second layer. Let the brownies cool partially, add the coconut layer, drizzle with chocolate, and chill. They're well-worth the extra effort.

This is quite a sticky dough, so make sure to oil your pan very well! Or, to be extra safe, line the pan with parchment paper. Date-based brownies are delightfully fudgy and decadent, but those sticky dates make the batter a little tricky to work with.


These brownies definitely need to be chilled before you cut them, which makes them the perfect make-ahead treat! They can happily sit in the fridge for a day or two. If you're pressed for time, you can even make them over a couple different days, adding each subsequent layer whenever you have a spare moment. If you want to go that route, I suggest making the brownies and keeping them in the fridge, then adding the coconut layer and chocolate drizzle the next day, then eating them on the third day!

Whole Food Vegan Samoa Brownies close-up

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Dates. Dates are the magic behind these brownies! You'll use them in both the brownie layer and the coconut layer to provide sweetness and binding power.
  • Peanut butter. Or feel free to use any other nut or seed butter.
  • Milk. I usually bake with unsweetened soy milk since it has such lovely richness, but whatever you have on-hand is fine.
  • Cocoa powder
  • Flax seed meal
  • Apple cider vinegar. I know this sounds bizarre, but trust me! You can't taste it at all and it reacts with the baking soda to give these fudgy brownies some loft.
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Coconut oil. You'll use this both to bind the coconut together and to thin out your chocolate drizzle.
  • Dark chocolate chips

Whole Food Vegan Samoa Brownies with toasted coconut

Closing Thoughts

These brownies are a celebration of Samoas in all their glory. Dave and I are smitten with these and have been absolutely cherishing every bite of them. I'm so thrilled with this recipe, I really can't wait for you to try it! These brownies are such perfect proof that indulgent food can also be good for the body. They're made with only whole-food ingredients and are fruit-sweetened, yet they taste like the most decadent over-the-top treat.

Given the ingredients in these bars, we've actually been bringing them for lunch! They're filling and protein-rich thanks to the peanut butter and coconut, and nutritionally they're actually way better for you than most packaged protein bars. And, nothing against Samoas, but this homemade version is so much more nourishing than the boxed version.

Happy baking! I'll definitely be making these again and again all throughout Girl Scout cookie season and beyond.

Whole Food Vegan Samoa Brownie with a bite mark

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Whole Food Vegan Samoa Brownies

These decadent brownies, which are secretly loaded with good-for-the-body ingredients like nuts and dates, are a celebration of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies: samoas! Can you believe they're vegan, flourless, and fruit-sweetened??



For the Brownies

  • 2 c dates, pitted
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 c milk of choice
  • 0.25 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp salt

For the Coconut Caramel Layer

  • 1 c dates
  • 0.5 c water
  • 0.25 tsp vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1.5 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

For the Drizzle

  • 0.25 c dark chocolate chips
  • Tiny dash of coconut oil
  • Few pinches of flaky sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and thoroughly oil an 8x8 baking dish. Note that this is a sticky dough, so oiling is critical! Conversely, you can line the bottom of the baking dish with parchment paper, which is fail-proof.
  2. Measure all of the brownie ingredients into a food processor. Process until you have a thick, sticky dough that's homogeneous throughout.
  3. Spread the dough into the prepared baking dish with a spatula; it may need some persuasion. Try to create a layer of even thickness that goes all the way into the corners.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes until just barely cooked through in the center. Remove the brownies from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before trying to add the next layer. If the brownie layer has puffed up at all during baking, gently press the top down while they're still warm; the next layer will go on much more easily if you have a flat surface.
  5. To make the next layer, combine the dates, water, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and simmer for about ten minutes until the dates are very soft and falling apart. Then blend it into a thick, rich "caramel" using a high-power blender.
  6. Lay the coconut out on a large sheet tray and toast it under the broiler until golden, keeping a very close eye on it. This happens very quickly and will only take a few minutes.
  7. Add the toasted coconut and coconut oil to the still-warm date caramel and stir to create a homogeneous, sticky mixture.
  8. Spoon the coconut caramel over the brownies and gently spread into an even layer, all the way to the edges of the baking dish.
  9. Finally, make the chocolate drizzle. In a saucepan over very low heat, combine the chocolate chips and just enough coconut oil to get a shiny, thin consistency that can easily be drizzled. Drizzle it across the top of your bars.
  10. Sprinkle the top with a few pinches of flaky sea salt.
  11. Cool the bars completely, then cover the baking dish and put the whole thing in the fridge. Chill for at least a few hours before slicing.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

Thanks for contributing to our community! Your comment will appear shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
April 12, 2022
Bookmarked!! Can't wait to try!
April 2, 2022
These are delicious!!! Wow! So decadent… yet also just made from fruit and nuts! We were amazed!!
April 2, 2021
I made these with almond butter and omg totally dreamy!! We loved the fudgey texture.
June 16, 2021
What's the difference between this coconut and whats in the baking aisle at the store?
June 19, 2021
JJ- Great question, thanks for asking. Usually, the bagged stuff in the typical grocery store baking aisle is (very) sweetened. It also has a much higher moisture content, so it won't behave the same way. I imagine (???) this recipe might work semi-okay with it, but I haven't tried it; I'd worry that the extra moisture would cause the coconut layer to not set up as well. Most artisan grocery stores and natural food stores will have unsweetened shredded coconut, which should only have one ingredient: coconut! It has a much drier texture.