Gluten Free Layered Choco-Coco-Nut Bars

I’m one of those mommies.  You know, the “mean” ones.  The ones that won’t buy girl scout cookies on principle.  I don’t like that most of their flavors include funky chemical ingredients. And I’m not a fan of the fact that their pushers don’t make much of a profit in the process.  I’d rather just make a donation to the troop, go home, and eat cookies whose ingredients I recognize (or bake my own).

Homemade alternative to Girl Scout Cookies

Homemade Gluten-free layered cookie bars

My daughter is a huge fan of Samoas – the girl scout cookies that are layered with caramel, chocolate and coconut.  When I saw a recipe for layered cookie bars in this month’s issue of Everyday Food, I thought of her.  I could make our own treat and they would resemble the cookies (that my father buys but hides from my mom).

layered gluten-free cookie bars


Gluten Free Layered Choco-Coco-Nut Bars
What’s Cooking with Kids ~

3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup gluten free baking mix or gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 (14 oz) can of organic sweetened condensed milk
2 cups unsweetened coconut ribbons or shredded coconut

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment, with the paper overhanging the edges
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces.  Be sure it is very cold.
  4. Measure the following ingredients and pour them into the food processor: butter, gluten-free flour, powdered (confectioner’s) sugar and salt.
  5. Pulse until it resembles course sand.
  6. Measure and add the oats to the mixture and pulse again until combined.
  7. Press the dough mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, and press so that it is flat and is an even thickness throughout.
  8. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the cookie with chocolate chips.
  10. Top with walnuts and dried cherries or cranberries.
  11. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the toppings and then top it off with an even coating of shredded coconut.
  12. Bake again until the coconut is golden brown, about 20 minutes more.
  13. Allow the layered bars to cool in the pan completely before removing to cut.
  14. Cut the bars into 2-inch squares and store in an airtight container.

Call the Kids:

  • Line the baking pan with parchment.
  • Measure all of the dry ingredients.
  • Press the pulse button on the food processor.
  • Press the dough into the pan.
  • Measure and sprinkle the toppings onto the pre-baked cookie (being careful they don’t touch the hot pan.)
  • Get out the glasses for the milk you’ll be needing to drink with these beauties!


ps.  While I won’t buy girl scout cookies,  I don’t stress if my kids eat them occasionally (at their friend’s house, for example) – I am teaching them to read ingredients and make good choices most of the time.  It’s the best most of us can do :-)

What’s your take on girl scout cookies?

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5 Responses to Gluten Free Layered Choco-Coco-Nut Bars

  1. Kris says:

    I happen to love them but steer clear because I will eat the entire box. If I make a treat I know I am spending my calorie intake in a knowledgeable way. Store bought cookies are just empty calories.

  2. Sara says:

    I like that you offer gluten-free recipes, as I know several families that need this, but since our family does not, could you also show how to make this NOT gluten-free? I assume I could use regular flour, but I may need baking powder or soda? THANKS!

    • Michelle Stern says:

      Great question – simply replace the GF baking mix with all-purpose flour (or a mix of all purpose and whole wheat). Hope this helps!

  3. Angie Halten says:

    I think I’ll be taking this recipe to my next pot luck. This will certainly be the hit of the party. Thanks!
    Angie :)

  4. Becki Noles says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome gluten free recipe. I always seem to find it extremely difficult to find gluten free recipes that taste good. I am so glad that I found your site!

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