Real Life Paleo

Samoa Brownies

You know our good friend and illustrator, Amanda Gates, right?

She’s been a tremendous help to us both on the website and as the artistic half of the Eat Like a Dinosaur design team (with Stacy). So when she asked for the Samoa Cake Balls from ELaD for her birthday, we really wanted to make them for her.

Only one problem: cake balls are an incredibly long and involved process that we simply didn’t have the time for. So, we decided to try something else.

A brownie version!

Would you like a Samoa Brownie that may, in fact, have less sweetener but taste just as good?


Samoa Brownies



  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup and oil
  2. Add eggs and beat together
  3. In a separate bowl, mix almond flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until batter forms
  5. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips
  6. Pour batter into greased 11 x 7 pan
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes
  8. Meanwhile, make our Caramel Sauce (*ingredients included above)
  9. In a small skillet, toast coconut over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly browned, about five minutes
  10. Let caramel and brownies sit and cool a few minutes (a tough one, we know)
  11. Pour HALF the caramel sauce over 1 batch of cooked brownies and top with toasted coconut
  12. Save the other half of caramel for our other recipes, or for topping on coconut milk ice cream!


These brownies may not be the same as the cake balls, nor as fancy, but they were much easier and just as delicious! They were a huge hit everywhere we brought them (including for non-Paleo folk at Amanda & Stacy’s work and at Shirley from Gluten Free Easily‘s picnic on Sunday)! The macadamia nuts aren’t necessary and can be substituted (we’d recommend walnuts), but they offer the illusion of shortbread flavor and texture.

They’re a perfect potluck food – we just recommend you double the batch (why we make a whole caramel batch in the recipe) because they’ll be gone in no time! If for some insane reason you do have leftovers, probably best to keep them chilled.

Most important: Amanda accepted them as a worthy birthday treat!


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  • Angela Sommers

    Because of this recipe, I just ordered your book!  🙂  I also can’t wait to make your cake pops!

    • Aw, thanks! This recipe isn’t in there, but Samoa and German Chocolate Cake Balls (among many other yummy treats) are 🙂

  •, do these look delicious or what? Adding to my list of things to make in the very near future. 🙂 

  • All I have is raw cacao powder. Will that work?

  • Shirley Braden

    You already know that I love this recipe! I–and my whole support group plus a few gf bloggers who were hanging out at my house–can vouch for it! 😉 Pinned and shared as much as possible. It’s a happy day when one can enjoy one of these treats. 🙂


    •  Thanks Shirley – for your ever supportive and positive encouragement!

  • These look perfect! Fantastic recipe, I am so hungry now!

  • Amy G

    Didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, but I made the brownie part, sans choco chips, and it was *still* wonderful!  Can’t wait to get the rest of the ingredients and make the whole thing!

  • Teri

    I was at the Gluten free meeting and the brownies were great! (notice it’s plural!) I had more than one! Thank you for coming to our neck of the woods. Oh, I made the fool’s gold chicken nuggets last night. They were tasty! Even my husband and 20 year old son thought they were great!

    •  Awesome, so glad you’re enjoying the book!

  • i was just getting ready to post a recipe for coconut macademia brownies! my husband made them for my birthday last night, what an awesome combo! our recipe is similar to yours, but on a much smaller scale (it’s just the 2 of us!)
    looks awesome!!

  • I am so glad you guys brought these to the picnic!  I was never able to tolerate the famous cookie in my gluten eating days because it was way too sweet and would make me sick.  These brownies were perfect!  They even intrigued my husband when I sent him a picture of them.  Can’t wait to make them for him!

  • Stacey

    I made these as an anniversary treat for my sugar addicted non-paleo husband… and he devoured them. I think he was surprised at how much he liked the paleo dessert and is slowly considering giving it a shot (blasted soda is keeping him from fully committing)…

    •  Soda Stream, stevia and flavor extracts can solve that!

  • Lisa

    Hey! Just made these and swapped the maple syrup in the cake part for 6 soaked medjool dates because I wanted a more Paleo-ish cake. Worked wonderfully (to my delight, was a bit nervous there about making the switch) I’m bringing them to a midsummer party I’m going to tommorrow. I’m on the Paleo diet so I wanted there to be a treat also I could enjoy at the party and hopefully noone will ever know they don’t contain any sugar, gluten or grains! =) Also didn’t have chips so I just broke up a bar of good 85%dark belgian chocolate and folded that in. Maybe went a bit brave on that part since they do give quite a bitter flavor, but I liked them…could have eaten the whole pan!
    Thanks for a great recipe,
    Best – Lisa from Sweden

  • Jenny

    I made these for the “goody” for our fourth of July party and they were the biggest hit!!  First of all I’m the ONLY person who has to eat this way due to gluten intolerance (even though the full path to paleo was my choice).  The funny thing was that I didn’t tell anyone that they were gluten free or paleo until after they tried them.  I was getting compliments on how these were the best brownies I had ever made!  You rock my fellow paleo baker 🙂

  • Plassphoto

    The brownies were delicious, but I obviously did something wrong with the caramel sauce because it was so sticky, and impossible to pour or spread over the brownies, and what I did get on the brownies was so hard, I couldn’t cut through. I think I need t find a chocolate sauce for these, because I am not a caramel maker. Otherwise, a definite thumbs up, I have NO problem eating brownies without caramel sauce, believe me! Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  • Yogatoes76

    i love all the recipes in the cook book.
    madelyn hedstrom age 9

    • That’s awesome, Madelyn! So happy to hear that you’re roaring like a dinosaur!

  • Sue

    Trying to cut out as much sugar as possible – could I use stevia instead of maple syrup? I always worry about substituting mainly wondering if losing the liquid will be a problem.


    • It might work, but I’m unsure. You’ll want to play with it to get it right.

  • Any chance this might work with coconut flour?

  • Better the next day! They kind of fell apart when I first made them and the caramel was a bit too firm (I may have over cooked it a bit). Everything pulled together perfectly overnight. I would not suspect they were Paleo.

  • Cassidy Stauffer

    I’ve been looking for honey sweetened grain free brownie!!!! Thanks you so much, I can’t wait to make these 🙂

  • could we use coconut flour? I would love to make these but my kiddo is nut free and LOVES brownies…

    • Coconut flour usually makes for a drier result, but I’ve never made it that way. If you try it and have success, let us know! Ground sunflower seeds and usually be replaced 1 for 1 for almond flour if you want to try that.

  • Kristi Stanley-Minter

    Can you sub the almond flour for another GF flour?

    • We only have experience with ground sunflower seeds as a replacement. That works as a one-to-one replacement.

  • Kim

    Just had to tell you that although I royally screwed up the caramel portion, the brownies by themselves without the coconut were AMAZING. Thank you soooo much for a fabulous treat recipe!

  • Laurie

    Do you think these would still taste yummy if I used coconut flour instead of almond flour?? I new to Paleo and I have a mild almond allergy

    • Hi Laurie!

      Yes, I think these would taste excellent with coconut flour. However, will require some trial and error as coconut flour is not 1:1 with almond flour.

      Good luck with the testing!

  • lizard

    Looks so good! but i don’t have an 11 x 7 pan – i have bigger (13×11) and smaller (8×8)… would it be better to go smaller or bigger… i have a tarte tatin pan? i really want to try them – pls help.

  • Lori

    These were unbelievably delicious! I didn’t add nuts, and instead of making the caramel, I melted a caramel-filled chocolate bar and drizzled it over the top before sprinkling the coconut on top.

  • nilezua

    I was about to be upset, I don’t have macadamia nuts – then I was happy to read they’re not necessary! So making these today!

  • Nicole

    Do you just stir the ingredients together for the caramel sauce or do you have to heat it? You say to let the caramel sauce cool, yet nowhere in the instructions does it say to heat it. Thank you!

    • epb

      I’m trying to figure this out too — don’t see anywhere how to make the caramel!

    • Hi Nicole! We recently updated this recipe with a new app that allows you to print it, and I forgot to re-link the Caramel Sauce Recipe when I updated it! So sorry! I have fixed it above, but here is the direct link to the caramel sauce recipe:

      • Nicole

        Thanks so much! I noticed in this recipe you listed 1 tsp baking soda for the caramel sauce, but in the link you have 1/2 tsp baking soda listed. Which is better? Thanks!

        • It must have been a typo, use 1/2 tsp in the sauce. Just edited it now 🙂

  • Stephanie Whittemore

    Wow wow WOW just made a batch of these- SO worth the effort! I was looking for a fun, creative treat to bring to a party next week and tested a batch today and I am in Heaven! So so so good 🙂

  • lexee

    how many does this recipe serve? excited to try them!