WARNING: You may want to have a napkin nearby as we review these mouthwatering sweets.
If you like sweets, you’ll find some onolicious ones in Hawaii! From easy to find to off the beaten path, here’s my list of Hawaii’s tastiest sweet treats:
1. Coco Puffs from Liliha Bakery in Honolulu, Oahu
When I took my first bite of a Coco Puff, instinctively I said, “Mmmmmm…..mmmmm!” This puffed pastry treat is filled with a buttery, creamy chocolate pudding and topped off with a coconut and vanilla topping. How good are Liliha’s Coco Puffs? Well, here’s what one reader wrote in the comments of my Liliha Coco Puff post.
All I can say is WOW – stumbled across this post before going to spend a week in Oahu and it was more than worth the $50 round trip cab ride from Waikiki just to taste one of those amazing coco puffs!! Of course, I couldn’t just stop at one and after buying a box to go I was left licking the wrappers after the last one was eaten. Thank you so much for this recommendation!!
2. Maui Gold Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Pineapple Grill on Maui
Pineapple from Hawaii is delicious, but Pineapple Grill in Kapalua takes this fruit to a whole new level in their signature dessert. As if the cake wasn’t delicious enough, they top it with Roselani macadamia nut ice cream, toasted coconut and a caramel sauce.
3. Shave Ice
If you need to cool down after a day at the beach or a hike, a Hawaiian shave ice will refresh you. Shave ice is similar to a snow cone but with ice that’s very finely shaved making it soft and smooth. You then have a choice of flavorings that add the sweetness. You can find shave ice all over Hawaii. A few of our favorite shave ice joints are:
- Matsumoto in Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore – This shave ice place is the most famous.
- Waiola Bakery & Shave Ice on Kapahulu Avenue by Waikiki on Oahu.
- Aloha Island Shave Ice on the Hana Highway in Paia on Maui
Portuguese immigrants introduced this doughnut-like pastry to Hawaii. Malasadas are filled with a variety of creamy fruit-flavored centers, as well as chocolate and vanilla fillings. The best way to have a malasada is to purchase it while it’s still warm and eat it right away. You can find malasadas in most Hawaii bakeries. Freshly made malasadas are also popular at Hawaii’s farmers markets. Three of the more famous places to try a malasada are:
- Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Avenue by Waikiki on Oahu
- T. Komoda Store & Bakery on Baldwin Avenue in Makawao on Maui
- Tex Drive-In off Highway 19 near Honokaa on Hawaii’s Big Island
5. Happy Cakes on Oahu
As I said in my Happy Cakes post, this cake lives up to its name. This golden moist cake bursts with the iconic flavors of Hawaii – pineapple, macadamia nuts and coconut. Need I say more? There’s a chocolate version, too. You can pick up a Happy Cake at a variety of locations that I describe in my Happy Cakes post or you can order them online.
6. Hula Pie
If you go into any of the TS Hawaii Restaurants (for example, any of the Duke’s restaurants) save room a slice of Hula Pie. This generously-sized (e.g. sharable) pie is made of macadamia nut ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and more macadamia nuts.
7. Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie from Ted’s Bakery on Oahu’s North Shore
I must thank a Go Visit Hawaii reader, Janet Rivera, for telling me about Ted’s Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie. I had been to Ted’s Bakery a number of times for breakfast or lunch, but somehow missed that chocolaty, coconuty, creamy goodness up until last year. If you’re stopping into Ted’s with a large group, purchase an entire pie to share, otherwise I recommend purchasing the a slice that’s individually packaged.
How does one describe mochi? It’s a soft Japanese rice cake usually filled with ice cream. I realize that description doesn’t exactly sound delicious, but you’ve got to trust me on this one. You can find mochi in grocery stores and bakeries around Hawaii.
9. Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts
No list of Hawaii’s best sweet treats be complete without chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Though they’re not too difficult to find on the US Mainland, you certainly can’t find the variety that Hawaii offers. See my post on where to find macadamia nut farms in Hawaii. Most farms have a shop where you can sample all sorts of macadamia goodness. My favorite kind is the milk chocolate toffee covered macadamia nut. They’re delish!
Did your favorite sweet treat make the list? What’s your favorite sweet snack or dessert in Hawaii? Where did you try it?