(Note: this post was originally published on March 11, 2021. It has since been updated with a few tweaks.)
The Absolute BEST Samoa Brownies
I'm celebrating Girl Scout Cookie season with these decadent-yet-healthy vegan and grain-free brownies. Inspired by Samoas (or Caramel Delites, depending on who you ask), these brownies are indulgent yet also made with nourishing ingredients. A rich, fudgy date brownie gets topped with a delightfully sticky coconut caramel layer and then finished off with a drizzle of dark chocolate. They're absolute perfection.
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. My Samoa brownies have all those same flavors but in a luscious brownie form so they're bigger, chewier, and all around even better than the cookies. These vegan Samoa bars have stolen my heart and I'm so excited for you to try them!
How to Make Healthy + Vegan Samoas
Unlike the classic cookies, these vegan samoa brownies are loaded with good-for-the-body ingredients. In fact, they're basically just fruit and nuts. You'll start by making decadent date brownies that are flourless, get their fat from peanut butter, and are entirely fruit-sweetened. The dates give them the most delightful fudgy texture; you'll be amazed by these grain-free brownies. Next, the coconut layer is a date-based "caramel" that gets loaded up with delicious toasted coconut. Finally, you'll top them off with a simple chocolate drizzle.
In case you're keeping track, this means that these vegan samoas are grain-free, high in protein, and made from nourishing whole food ingredients. The date brownies and coconut topping are fruit-sweetened, and you can keep the entire recipe fruit-sweetened if you use no-sugar-added chocolate for the drizzle.
Timing + Make-Ahead Tips
These vegan samoa brownies require a few different steps, but nothing challenging. You'll make the date brownie batter in the food processor and bake it. Meanwhile, you'll make the date caramel, toast some coconut, and combine them to make the second layer. Let the brownies cool partially, add the coconut layer, drizzle with chocolate, and chill. They're well-worth the extra effort. These chewy samoa brownies definitely need to be chilled before you cut them though, which makes them the perfect make-ahead treat.
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. In that case, I suggest making the grain-free 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.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you'll need for this grain-free brownie recipe and the decadent samoa coconut topping, 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, of course, the star of these date 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.
Nut milk. I usually bake with unsweetened soy milk since it has such lovely richness, but whatever you have on-hand is fine.
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 vegan brownies some loft.
Unsweetened shredded coconut
Coconut oil. You'll use this both to bind the coconut together and to thin out the chocolate drizzle.
Dark chocolate chips. Remember to choose dairy-free if needed. If you want to keep these healthy samoas entirely fruit-sweetened, opt for chocolate with no sugar added.
These brownies are a celebration of Samoas in all their glory. The combination of the delightfully-fudgy date brownies with the sticky coconut layer and a dark chocolate drizzle is absolute perfection.
I think these samoa remakes are such 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 and 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.
Happy baking! I'll definitely be making these again and again all throughout Girl Scout cookie season and beyond.
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.
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Vegan Samoa Brownies (Grain-Free and Made From Dates)
These decadent samoa brownies, which are secretly loaded with healthy ingredients like nuts and dates, are a celebration of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies. Can you believe they're vegan, grain-free, and fruit-sweetened?
Preheat the oven to 350 and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
Measure all of the brownie ingredients into a food processor. Process until you have a thick, sticky dough that's homogeneous throughout.
Spread the dough into the prepared baking dish with a spatula to create a layer of even thickness that goes all the way into the corners.
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 adding the next layer. If the brownie layer has puffed up during baking, gently press the top down while they're still warm to create a flat surface.
To make the coconut layer, combine the dates, water, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and simmer for about ten minutes until the dates are very soft. Transfer it to a blender and blend to create a thick, rich date caramel.
Lay the coconut out on a large sheet tray and toast it under the broiler until golden, keeping a very close eye on it.
Add the toasted coconut and coconut oil to the still-warm date caramel and stir to create a homogeneous, sticky mixture.
Spoon the coconut caramel over the brownies and gently spread into an even layer, all the way to the edges of the baking dish.
Finally, make the chocolate drizzle. In a saucepan over very low heat, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together. Drizzle it across the top of the coconut layer.
Cool the bars completely, then cover the baking dish and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for at least a few hours before slicing.
Store the brownies in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.