Edible Holiday Gifts: Samoas Bark

This year let’s bypass truffles and caramel popcorn for gifting and move into something way more fun — candy bark. Well, at least we think so, and since we a have a handful of fuss-free, no-bake candy bark recipes to share, ee’ll be sharing one new recipe a week until the end of December.

Ringing in the Holiday Bark series is a Samoas Bark. We’ve taken that Girl Scout cookie favorite and simplified it to a something you can make in about 20 minutes. They are perfect when combined with other edible Christmas gifts.

We’re also pretty sure you may find this damn hard to part with once you take a bite. See that soft caramel center getting all cozy and gooey with some crushed shortbread? Well that’s just the beginning. Nudging its way into that is a layer of toasted coconuts with more gooey goodness in the form of a caramel and chocolate drizzle…yeah, go ahead, take your heavenly bite and then put it down, wrap it up and give it up because tis the season for giving.

Samoas Bark

Makes 1 8×8 pan | Preparation: Line pan with parchment or wax paper with a one-inch overhang on each side.

  • 1 11.5oz dark chocolate ( or Ghirardelli semi-sweet)
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed shortbread
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • ¾ cup caramel sauce (recipe follows)


  1. Place coconut on a parchment lined bakesheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes or until coconut starts to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Make caramel sauce and set aside to cool. Portion out 2 tablespoons for topping.
  2. Place chocolate in double boiler or a heat-proof bowl over simmering water and gently stir until chocolate is melted. Portion out 2 tablespoons for topping.
  3. Pour half of chocolate into prepared pan, and, using an offset icing spatula smooth out chocolate until an even layer is achieved. Sprinkle coarsely crushed shortbread on top and gently press it into the chocolate. Transfer pan to the freezer for 5 minutes or until chocolate becomes slightly hardened.
  4. Remove pan from freezer and pour caramel sauce on top, then, using an offset icing spatula spread caramel until an even layer is achieved. Transfer pan to the freezer for 5 minutes or until caramel becomes slightly hardened. Remove pan from freezer and pour other half of chocolate on the caramel layer. To finish, sprinkle coconut on top and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate and caramel on top of coconut. Transfer pan to refrigerator for about 5-10 or until bark is set.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Caramel Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 7 tablespoon heavy cream


  1. Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and heavy cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.


  • For the shortbread, we used Walker Shortbread .
  • You may have more caramel then you need, so keep the leftover in a jar to use in or on another dessert.
  • To keep a nice sharp edge while cutting the bark: (1) Use a really sharp knife and press the blade’s tip into the bark and then bring the remainder of the blade down into the bark. Depending on the kind of knife you use, most blades are shaped at an angle, so don’t bring the knife down in one push, the uneven pressure will crack the bark. (2) After the bark has set in the refrigerator bring it to room temperature before cutting. This will soften the chocolate and make for easy cutting. If the bark starts to split or start to chip off as you cut, the bark is still too cold to cut.

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  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. December 2, 2011  

    love this one

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen December 2, 2011  

    One of my favorite Girl Scout cookies in bark form?! Yes Please!

  • Roarke December 2, 2011  

    Hi. Thanks for this! I have a hard time with caramel just going by time or color. Could you post the temperatures to use for the sauce (when to add things, etc.)? Thanks in advance if you can.

  • Jessica December 3, 2011  

    Can this recipe be frozen so I can make a couple weeks before Christmas?

  • Shirley @ gfe December 3, 2011  

    I recently made grain-free, dairy-free vegan Samoa-style cookies that were a big hit in my house and among my blogger friends. Now I’m going to have to make a gluten-free version of this amazing Samoa bark. Thanks for this recipe for a starting point! Such divine looking treats!


  • Kristi Rimkus December 4, 2011  

    This is on my holiday baking list! Wonderful!

  • bakersroyale December 4, 2011  

    Hi Jessica-You should be fine to do so. I would recommend keeping the bark uncut to freeze and then thawing it in the refrigerator prior to cutting. Keep in mind I have not tried freezing this bark, so I cannot guarantee the results, but please come back and let me know how it goes if you do freeze yours..

  • bakersroyale December 4, 2011  

    Hi Roarke-I don’t. The caramel starts to turn light to medium to dark too fast for an accurate temperature reading. However, stay tuned as I’ll be posting a step-by-step picture tutorial with a color guideline for light, medium and dark amber that may help.

  • Simply Tia December 5, 2011  

    Ingenious! And they look sooo delicious too. Great job!

  • Andrea (questfordelish) December 5, 2011  

    Those are my favorite cookies. I must try them.

  • Rachel @ Bakerita December 5, 2011  

    You’re an evil genius.
    This looks TOO good.
    I’m not sure I would be able to part with it! And I highly doubt it would get past my family, haha!

  • Nicole@The Galley Gourmet December 5, 2011  

    Whoa– big huge yum! I don’t need a holiday reason to make this recipe:)

  • Natalie December 5, 2011  

    Wow these look super delicious!

  • ala December 6, 2011  

    you say to refrigerate until serving… if they are left out will the caramel lose it’s shape? I’m just trying to figure how practical they are for gift giving…. otherwise i’ll just have to keep them all. 🙂

  • bakersroyale December 6, 2011  

    Hi Ala- If left out, it will not lose its shape. I left one batch out overnight and it was fine for two days afterwards. Keeping the bark in the refrigerator will just help to keep it fresher longer.

  • Dina December 7, 2011  

    oh wow…this sounds like my kind of sweet…

  • Katie December 14, 2011  

    Just finished putting this together! It looks amazing and I can’t wait to eat it!

  • K Pender December 20, 2011  

    Is the chocolate you used semi-sweet?

  • Amanda December 20, 2011  

    I tried the caramel twice and both times it was a bust. Is it really only 2 tablespoons water for an entire cup of sugar? The sugar can’t really dissolve in such little water.

  • bakersroyale December 21, 2011  

    Hi Amanda-Yes, 2 tablespoons of water does work. I know it doesn’t seem like enough, but it is – in fact, there is a method of making caramel sauce that does not use any water to dissolve the sugar known as the dry method. The method mentioned in this recipe is a wet method and easier to work with. I would suggest increasing the water from 2 to 4 tablespoons of water to dissolve the sugar if you are having difficulty. The increase in water will not effect on the end result.

    Lastly stay tuned, I will be posting step-by-step tutorial to making caramel sauce 12/20/2011.

  • bakersroyale December 21, 2011  

    Hi K Pender – Yes, that’s semi-sweet chocolate.

  • Lize December 21, 2011  

    A little bitter. Too much chocolate?
    Anyone else think so?

  • Jan Powers December 21, 2011  

    These are delicious. I suggest one change that will make them much easier, once you have cooled the shortbread/coconut and cut it. Follow the chocolate melting instructions then spread the chocolate on a fresh piece of parchment. Place the cut Samoas on the soft chocolate and let cool COMPLETELY (until it the chocolate is hard). The completely cooled bars then easily pop off the parchment with a sharp knife with a nice layer of chocolate on the bottom.

  • Jennifer December 22, 2011  

    Do you have to make the Caramel or can you buy premade sauce

  • bakersroyale December 23, 2011  

    Jennifer-Yes, you can use store bought caramel, but I don’t reccomend the syrup or Hershey Caramel Sauce both are too thin and overly sweet. If you do store bought, try using Marzetti’s Caramel Dip it is thicker in consistency.

  • Momof3 December 24, 2011  

    This has got to be the HARDEST Caramel sauce I have ever made…I’m on my 4th batch and it messes up for some reason. Do your self a favor ladies and by some store bought caramel.

  • Kristi December 25, 2011  

    This recipe is great-tasting & everyone has loved it. I used Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking chips (for the first time with this recipe), which I discovered I like better than Ghiradelli.

    But… My difficulty with the caramel sauce (I had to make the sauce three times) was that it would harden too quickly before everything was fully incorporated. I found that the best method was to:
    Use COLD Cream & Butter
    Measure out the Cream & Butter before beginning the sauce
    Quickly whisk in the Cream before adding the Butter as the butter causes the sugar mixture to harden almost instantly

  • Stephanie December 29, 2011  

    sprinkle some sea salt on top. you will be very happy that you did!

    (I used some pepperidge farm shortbread cookies that were on sale and my bark turned out great! I also made the caramel following the directions and had no issues at all)

  • Marilyn January 18, 2012  

    I’m in my teens &nd have been wanting to try this recipe out for my mom. I have no clue how to cook anything that doesn’t come out of a box or bag. Do you have any other tips before i fail miserably? I’m most concerned about getting the proper color for the caramel sauce/filling.

  • Sara November 21, 2013  

    Can I double the caramel sauce recipe? I want to double the whole recipe and spread it in a 9×13. Instead if the 9×13, should I use a sheet pan?

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