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In the Kitchen With: Lara Ferroni’s Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cookies

by Kristina Gill

If there were a way to put the title of this week’s recipe in flashing neon capital letters, I would have. I am always excited about the recipes we feature on the column, but every so often, I am so excited that I just want to run around knocking on everybody’s door to say, “Don’t miss Friday’s recipe!!!” Photographer Lara Ferroni is the author of one of my favorite cookbooks, Doughnuts, an itty-bitty book that punches far above its size in value and quality. When I received the press release for her new book, Real Snacks, I knew there would be something great in it to share. I don’t want to discourage you from buying cookies from your favorite Girl Scout, but you might be sorely tempted after you see Lara’s recipe for Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cookies. — Kristina

About Lara: Lara Ferroni is a food geek who can’t quite decide what she wants to do: write about, style or photograph food. But as long as she gets to eat it in the end, she stays pretty happy. Lara is author of two cookbooks, Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home and Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats without All the Junk, as well as a photography book, Food Photography: Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting and Shooting. She shoots regularly for Epicurious.com, Gourmet Live, Imbibe Magazine and Portland Monthly’s Bride & Groom, among others. You can see more of Lara’s work on her blog, laraferroni.com. Her previous recipes on ITKW are here and here.

See Lara’s recipe after the jump!

Not a coconut fan? Make the same cookies, skip the coconut and drizzle with the chocolate (and maybe some caramel) for delicious Fudge Stripe Cookies!

Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cookies
Makes about 14 large cookies

This recipe calls for a caramel sauce like the one in the pantry section of Real Snacks, which is buttery and sweet and free of corn syrup. You can substitute any caramel sauce, but I definitely recommend one that has a hint of salt.


  • 1 cup (120 grams) spelt or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) oat or cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) Sucanat or cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, tempered or melted



1. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

2. Sift the white spelt flour, oat flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute. If the mixture is too crumbly, mix in the other tablespoon of milk.

4. Place the dough between two 18″ x 18″ squares of parchment paper, and roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick (if it is a little sticky, feel free to refrigerate it for a bit). Use a cookie cutter to punch out cookies to your desired shape.  Place the cut cookies on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between each cookie.

5. Bake until golden on the edges, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Cool on a wire rack.

6. While the cookies are cooling, make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the coconut, caramel sauce and salt. If the caramel is too thick to stir, heat it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Top each cooled cookie with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the topping. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and allow the cookies to set before serving.

For added indulgence, dip the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate before topping.

Why Lara Loves This Recipe

When it comes to Girl Scout cookies, there are Samoa® people and non-Samoa® people. I was always in the latter camp, but when I asked around for favorite junk-food suggestions, it was clear that I was in the minority. So I knew it was important to create a homemade Samoa recipe, and as it turns out, this is a cookie I love. Made with the Real Snacks caramel sauce, unsweetened coconut and whole grain flours, they are rich and buttery without being cloying. Unfortunately, to get all the photos I wanted in the book, we had to cut a few recipes, and the Real Snacks Thin Mints won out by a narrow margin. (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a Thin Mint!) So I’m thrilled to share this recipe with you here!

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  • Oh my! These look soo good. Funny enough, I can’t stand shredded coconut but I’m crazy about Samoas! I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a try. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • I tried to skip this post as quickly as I could, but then I made the mistake of coming back. if I gain weight this holiday season, it is all your fault! Mmmmm….

  • I am one of the Samoa® people, and my mouth is watering after reading this post and looking at the yummy photos. I am so going to make these cookies myself- thank you for the recipe!

  • Can’t wait to try this recipe as it looks super yummy! Never mind that Samoa® are one of my very favorite cookies! Is there a way we can get the recipe for the Caramel Sauce?

  • Hi Karen – The caramel sauce recipe is in the book (Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without the Junk), but also, you can use any caramel sauce you like on these for a delicious cookie. -L

  • Hi Lara, I was just wondering is this your recipe? I ask because this exact same recipe was used in a cookie contest in Iceland and actually won.

    • eva

      can you provide a link to the recipe? we spoke with lara and she isn’t familiar with that recipe, but without a source and link we can’t examine it.


  • Does the caramel sauce make these cookies sticky ? The cookies look delicious , and yes they are like the girl scout cookie that is my favorite !

  • Hi Eva – The recipe is my recreation of a classic Girl Scout cookie. There are many recipes out there for similar cookies since the Girl Scout cookie is so popular, but none to my knowledge with the combination of spelt and oat flour and sucanat that I use.

    Nancy – It will really depend a lot on the caramel sauce you use. The caramel sauce in the book will firm up, so it’s a little sticky but not in an unmanageable way. -L

    • eva

      our site policy is that if accusations or comments are made about a source publicly, the discussion continues that way. please share your source here.


  • I’d love to be able to pin this on pinterest so I remember to make it, but I keep getting a website error. :(

  • Grace, Unfortunately pinterest told me it is something to do with a coding error on this website. Oh well! C’est la vie.

  • Unfortunately, pinterest told me it is due to a coding error on your website. Oh well. C’est la vie.

    • Shannon- we haven’t coded anything for Pinterest so there can’t be any coding error on our end. People have been pinning from DS since Pinterest opened and we haven’t changed anything so I promise the issue isn’t on our end.

  • These were always my favorite Girl Scout cookie from childhood until I became old enough to read ingredient lists – I don’t feel one bit guilty about making my own! Girl Scouts needs to reformulate their recipes – it’s not like they need all those artificial ingredients to retain shelf life as we all know they are eaten as soon as they’re bought! Or, in the case of Thin Mints, they go straight to the freezer, where they last for about 5 mins and then are also gone!

  • Gee thanks i find this recipe the day i start a new diet. Oh well ill start it next year. Lol

  • I made these cookies using your recipe for a recent Christmas party. They were AWESOME!!! I made my own caramel sauce, and used spelt and oat flour (which I made by grinding old fashioned oatmeal in my food processor). I loved the texture and crunch. They were buttery and rich. My husband loved them. Not difficult, but they were time-consuming to make. However , they were very much worth the effort and will probably replace my potato chip cookies and a family favorite.