Gluten free Tagalongs cookies are a simple shortbread cookie topped with peanut butter and covered in chocolate. The Girl Scouts may make a few gluten free cookies, but they don’t make these!
Why bother making your own Girl Scout Cookies?
There are a few steps to making these cookies. First, you have to make the shortbread cookies. There are so few ingredients and they roll out very easily. But it’s a step, no doubt. If there are store-bought gluten free shortbread cookies you’d prefer to use, go for it!
Next, you have to make the filling—and it’s more than just peanut butter. If you were to dollop plain peanut butter on top of the cookies, it would never stay put. You know what it’s like when you spread peanut butter on a slice of bread, top it with another and then slice it in half? It’s like that.
Finally, you have to dip them in chocolate. I mean, you don’t have to, but if you want to experience tagalongs, that’s how you make it happen.
To be honest, you may not want to bother. I can only tell you why I bother and why readers over the years have told me that they do the same.
I bother making my own Girl Scout Cookies because I have a gluten free son. He’s 14 now, but especially when he was younger, Girl Scout Cookies would make their rounds for sale and then delivery in the middle of each winter, and he was left out.
It’s as simple as that. He has two sisters, and for the most part, they can eat whatever they like. When I make him Girl Scout Cookies of his own, he feels “normal.” So much of what I do in gluten free baking is to help him feel “normal,” and you and your family feel the same.
And over the years, I’ve gotten the best emails telling me the same. My daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies and my gluten free son can’t eat them. There was a party in school and my gluten free daughter couldn’t eat her own cookies.
My son is different in this way. He can’t go out to the local pizza place with friends and grab a quick slice. And the older he gets, the less I can help him work that out. No teenager wants Mommy showing up with a foil-wrapped slice.
But for as long as I can, in as many situations as I can, I have and will continue to make things as normal as possible.
So, call them Tagalongs or call them Peanut Butter Patties (I think we all know who won the name game in that one), they’re not gluten free until you make them gluten free. And the gluten free varieties that the Girl Scouts themselves sell? Well, they’re not Tagalongs. Or Thin Mints.
Let’s be clear that I’m not blaming the Girl Scouts for being unable to make gluten free cookies that are clones of their most famous conventional cookies. And if you want to support the girls and buy their GF varieties, I think that’s great. But I’m not going to eat a sad little cookie and call it good. Or ask my son to, either.
Ingredients and substitutions
There are 3 components to these Tagalongs, but there are surprisingly few ingredients. That makes the substitution game a bit simpler, if not actually easier. They’re already gloriously egg free. I’ve made them dairy-free, but I haven’t made them nut-free. Here are my best-educated substitution guesses, as usual:
Dairy-free: If you use a dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate for the coating, the only dairy in these cookies is the butter. You can easily replace the butter in the filling with virgin coconut oil (I did that, and it worked well), but the butter in the cookies is trickier.
I tried replacing the butter in the cookies with virgin coconut oil, and the dough was rather difficult to work with. It was either too soft at room temperature, or too hard once chilled. I think nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening would work better. I don’t recommend Earth Balance as it has way too much moisture and the cookies will likely spread.
Peanut-free: You can use no-stir almond butter in place of peanut butter for sure, but a nut-free butter (like sunflower seed butter) will be difficult to work with as it’s already so soft. You’ll have to play with it a bit to get the filling to the proper consistency. If the filling is too soft, it won’t stay in place when you dip the cookies in chocolate.
Watch this 1 minute GF Tagalongs Video
Click play and watch me make these cookies from start to finish. Then make your own for the gluten free ones you love!