It’s Girl Scout cookie season and there’s just something about a box of Girl Scout cookies! Maybe it’s because they only come around once a year, or it’s my adorable clients daughter convincing me I need one of every flavor. It could also be the nostalgia of visiting my dad’s firehouse as a kid and selling ALL the cookies in 10 minutes. Growing up my favorites were always Caramel deLites, the crunchy cookie, gooey caramel, coconut flakes and chocolate drizzle got me every time.

These days, I don’t love the ingredients of these cookies. I mean sugar is the first ingredient, followed by an unknown mix of vegetable oils, gluten, corn syrup, carrageenan and ugh the list goes on. I know there has to be a better way.

So I set out to whip up a copycat and healthier version of the original to satisfy my craving. These cookies are refined sugar free, gluten free, vegan (with some mods) and full of that same crunchy, gooey, coco-nutty, chocolate flavor as the original. I even snuck a veggie in there, just don’t tell the kids!

I mean how could you not want one of these heart shaped cookies?! Click through for the recipe! 

Copycat Caramel deLites

Gluten free, paleo, and (vegan) copycat version of a Girl Scout favorite. 
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie, girl scout cookie, gluten free, paleo, vegan
Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients

Shortbread Cookie

  • 2 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c tapioca starch You can sub equal amounts of arrowroot or corn starch
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter sub 1/3 cup coconut oil for vegan

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 c sweet potato chopped, peeled
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter sub coconut oil for vegan
  • pinch sea salt

Toasted Coconut

  • 1/2 c shredded coconut, unsweetened

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup dairy free, paleo chocolate Hu Kitchen is my fave
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

Shortbread

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment. Set aside 2 additional large sheets of parchment for rolling. 
  • In bowl of stand mixer combine almond flour, tapioca starch and sea salt. Mix to combine. Add maple syrup and mix to combine. Using a box grater, grate cold butter into bowl, or add softened but not melted coconut oil 1 tbsp at a time. Mix until coarse and crumbly. 
  • Turn out mixture onto sheet of parchment and work dough together with your hands. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick between sheets of parchment. Cut dough into circles or shapes as desired. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheets. Rolling and re-rolling as necessary until all dough has been used. Place baking sheets into freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill. Transfer to oven and cook for 10-12 minutes until very lightly browned. Set aside to cool for several minutes. Then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, for easy cleanup. 

Caramel

  • In a small sauce pan combine sweet potato, coconut sugar and water. Cover and cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until sweet potato is very soft. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, food processor or mason jar (if you have an immersion blender). Add 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil and blend/process until very smooth and shiny. You want it very thick, but add a little water if necessary. Set aside. 

Toasted Coconut

  • Spread coconut out on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast in the oven while the cookies are baking for 3-7 minutes, checking often. It will burn quickly! 

Chocolate Drizzle

  • Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 15 second increments, stirring often until chocolate is melted. 

Assembly

  • Frost cooled cookies with caramel. Repeating until all cookies are coated. Sprinkle toasted coconut over caramel, pressing into caramel with clean hands, repeating until all cookies are covered. Drizzle with melted chocolate and dip cookie bottoms in chocolate if desired. Set in fridge to cool for 15-30 minutes. Store in refrigerator or freezer. 

A few notes, these cookies do take a bit of time to put together but they are so worth it! You can make the caramel ahead of time, or prepare it while the cookies are baking and cooling. I tried mixing the coconut into the caramel and frosting it that way, but it didn’t look as pretty and was a pain to spread. The fine flaked coconut would likely work better here. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter, but feel free to use any shape you’d like. You can also use a biscuit cutter, or cut into squares, your baking time may vary depending on the temperature of your oven and size shape of your cookies.

No matter how you slice it, these cookies are tasty and much healthier than the original. Be advised they are still a calorie dense food, and should be eaten sparingly. They’re perfect to share with friends, family, neighbors or classmates!

What’s your favorite girl scout cookie? Leave a comment below and I might create a healthier version of it soon! Please support your local Girl Scout chapter by making a small donation in lieu of buying a box of cookies.

*shortbread adapted from Against All Grain’s Danielle Walker, caramel adapted from Eating Well Magazine. Inspiration from Girl Scout Cookies.