ALOHA FROM JENNIE: There's no end to the array of local delicious desserts enjoyed by all of us with a sweet tooth. Hawaii's resources such as guava, lilikoi, coconut, and coffee go into creating mouth watering delicacies. Here's just a partial list to tempt you.
- Hawaiian shave ice – When President Obama comes to town, one of his favorite spots is Kailua’s Island Snow shave ice shop. Hawaiian shave ice include local flavorings such as guava, pineapple, coconut, passion fruit, li hing mui, lychee, kiwi fruit, and mango. For a different spin, one can add vanilla ice cream, fresh fruit or sweet azuki bean paste to the finely shaved ice cone.
- Portugese malasadas – These no-hole fried donuts are golden brown on the outside and light and chewy on the inside. They can either be coated with plain or cinnamon sugar, or contain fillings. Leonard’s Bakery in Hawaii sells malasadas coated with sugar or li hing powder, or filled sweet custard, chocolate dobash or coconut haupia, and are even more wonderful when eaten warm from the fryer.
- Japanese mochi and manju – Visits to Maui and Kauai are even more special when you can bring back boxes of manju, a buttery golden flaky pastry containing apple, coconut, sweet potato or azuki bean fillings. Mochi is made with rice pounded into paste and molded into shapes, such as unfilled pastel colored slices or balls filled with haupia, peanut butter, strawberry, or azuki beans. A popular local version is butter mochi, which is denser and rich with butter and coconut flavors.
- Hawaiian macadamia nut chocolate candies and shortbread cookies – Chocolate candies containing with macadamia nut inserts are a popular gift item. Dark, milk, or white chocolates flavored with pineapple, orange or strawberry crème, or green tea are a hit, and shortbread cookies dipped in these flavors are divine. Menehune Mac offers Saturday morning candy making tours of its Honolulu factory, reservations needed.
- Hawaiian cream pies are available in market outlets, but a colorful spot to visit on the North Shore of Oahu is Ted’s Bakery, featuring cakes and its popular cream pies in chocolate, macadamia nut, haupia, blueberry, strawberry, guava, lilikoi, lemon, pineapple, chocolate peanut butter, banana, pumpkin and many more flavors.
- Hawaiian ice cream is rich and creamy, and one of our premier local brands is Roselani Tropics Ice Cream, with its many local flavors including Hawaiian vanilla bean, Kona coffee, macadamia nut, coconut pineapple, mango ‘n cream, and matcha green tea. all blended in butterfat cream.
- Hawaiian pastries and breads are local favorites. For example, Honolulu’s Liliha Bakery sells 4,800 to 7,200 ‘coco puffs’ each day, so these puff pastries filled with chocolate or green tea cream are a definite hit. Hawaiian King sweetbreads and rolls are used to make delicious French toast and sandwich/burger sliders. Another favorite bread dessert is Hawaiian bread pudding, especially when served warm with custard or ice cream toppings.
If there are other Hawaiian desserts that you’ve enjoyed, please chime in and add to the list!