HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Are you making a specialty food?

ISO Hawaiian shortbread recipe

bakersdozen Jan 25, 2008 12:07 AM

I was in Hawaii last year and had some great shortbread from the Honolulu Cookie company. It is the one shaped like a pineapple made with finely ground macadamia nuts. I'm normally not a fan of nuts in general, but I thought this cookie was great! Nowhere that I know of to find a similar cookie here on the mainland..so I want to try to make a similar shortbread cookie. Would anyone care to share a shortbread recipe that has a similar taste/texture?

  1. flipperroni Dec 17, 2008 04:24 PM

    I, too, thought these cookies were awesome when I tasted them in Honolulu. I have been trying recipes to see if I can duplicate them. I think I have finally stumbled on to the right combination ( after about 12 tries):

    1 c. unsalted butter
    1/2 c confectioner's sugar
    Mix with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add:
    1 tsp vanilla
    Mix well. Slowly add:
    2 c flour
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4c finely ground macadamia nuts
    Chill dough for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a little flour to prevent sticking, roll dough out to 1/4 inch or a little thicker, depending on your preference. Cut out with a small cookie cutter, Place cookies about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and place in freezer for about 5 minutes to help preserve the shape.

    You can substitute 1 tsp expresso powder for the macadamias for a different flavor.

    Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are nicely brown.

    3 Replies
    1. re: flipperroni
      bakersdozen Jan 26, 2009 10:20 PM

      OMG! Thanks for posting! I posted this topic a year ago and forgot about it. Today I was doing a search and started thinking about this and I looked at the user ID and thought "hey, that's my log in"....DUHHH...I forgot I even posted this! I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. Thank you so much!!!

      1. re: flipperroni
        korif Feb 5, 2013 10:33 AM

        Ok - here's the latest in my quest for total duplication:

        To the recipe for "Punitions" (or sables) on the smittenkitchen.com website, I added 1/2 cup ground macadamias and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Baking, and letting cool overnight, the texture was very, very close to the fabulous sandy texture of the Honolulu Cookie Company macadamia shortbread. Enough to satisfy me for the time being, anyway. If I were to try yet another variation to really try to nail it, I think I'd try to substitute some vegetable shortening (as listed in the Honolulu Cookie ingredient list) for some of the butter - maybe 3 tbs.? Have fun, cookie-loving friends! Karen

        1. re: korif
          sidesfamily Oct 25, 2013 02:03 PM

          thank you!! I am going to try making these this weekend. I, too, miss the wonderful Honolulu Cookie Co pineapple cookies. I am allergic to nuts so I will try some espresso powder if I can figure out where to buy that -just read I can't substitute finely ground coffee beans.

      2. Will Owen Dec 17, 2008 05:29 PM

        I wonder if that might be a secret ingredient in the crust of some of the lilikoi pies I've had? I've figured out that the pastry was basically a shortbread, and suspected that there was some rice flour in there too, but macadamia flour would account for some of the amazing richness. The hard thing would be getting the nuts ground that fine without overheating them.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen
          flipperroni Dec 22, 2008 11:06 AM

          I grind the macadamias with 1/4 cup of the "recipe flour" in my herb grinder. The flour soaks up the oil from the macadamias, prevents them from clumping, and gives you enough volume to let the grinder work on them. I have a Cuisinart food grinder. I did try my VitaMix, but it is way too big to grind small volumes.

          1. re: flipperroni
            somervilleoldtimer Jan 28, 2009 05:27 AM

            I have a nut grinder that my great grandfather made for my great grandmother, more than 100 years ago. It bolts to the table, sort of like a mouli, with a hopper up top for the whole nuts. They grind beautifully, without heating the nuts at all.

        2. chef chicklet Jan 27, 2009 09:14 PM

          I have not had the ( Hawaiian shortbread cookies) cooky you're describing, but are they anything like the super crispy, light and crunchy cookie that Pepperidge Farms makes, the Milano? That cookie has me SO intriqued as well and I'm dying to find a recipe for it as well. In my research I've found that there are some recipes out there that include ground almonds. The cookie is not too sweet and has the most wonderful crispy crunch to it. There is nothing moist about it and they put a little chocolate in the center between two cookies which makes it so wonderfully good! Some of the recipes that I've found thus far, use egg whites and ground almonds.
          Have you ever tried a Milano cookie? Do they taste the same as the Hawaiian shortbread cookie?

          3 Replies
          1. re: chef chicklet
            monku Jan 27, 2009 09:18 PM

            Not even close to a Milano, they're two different cookie types.

            1. re: chef chicklet
              alkapal Jan 28, 2009 03:50 AM

              chef c -- you asked for it! http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/32/MilanoCookies64603.shtml

              1. re: alkapal
                chef chicklet Jan 28, 2009 06:38 AM

                ALLLLRIGHTY NOW!!!
                Hey thankk you dear ap!!

            2. monku Jan 27, 2009 09:21 PM

              Not familiar with Honolulu Cookie company, but people from Hawaii are always giving me the ones from Big Island Candies and I always seem to see other people from the mainland seem to have them too.

              1. k
                korif Jan 19, 2013 06:19 PM

                Hi - I tried your recipe today and, while the result was delicious, the texture was not close enough to the original to suit me. I don't know what needs to change: bake for longer, add more flour, more nuts or some granulated sugar? Not sure, but the quest continues...

                1 Reply
                1. re: korif
                  gmm Jan 24, 2013 05:09 PM

                  I wonder if the nuts need to be ground more finely than can be done in a food processor? I came across this blog about making almond flour:
                  I don't have one of these, but it seems like the inner grating mechanism is similar to the microplane grater that I do have. Would be a PITA if you needed a large amount of nut flour, but for grinding up 1/4 of macadamias it might do the trick.
                  (now I want one of those rotary graters :))

                2. k
                  korif Jan 24, 2013 01:40 PM


                  So the recipe here is not there yet. Not sure whether there's any granulated sugar or just powdered sugar, but clearly their cookie is not all-butter (some kind of shortening is used), plus they use eggs in some small quantity. Back to the drawing board for me. Duplicating that wonderful texture is proving elusive...


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: korif
                    korif Feb 4, 2013 09:09 AM

                    Stumbled across a clue - a recipe for sable cookies described the exact texture I'm after, and the same ingredient list, minus the macadamia nuts. Yes, I'm a trifle obsessed, but I'm going to report the results of this latest variation here despite the seeming lack of interest by forum readers. Stay tuned!

                    1. re: korif
                      greygarious Feb 4, 2013 09:45 AM

                      Cooks Illustrated has a sable cookie recipe that calls for hard-cooking eggs, then using the yolks only as the egg component of the cookie. I think Martha Stewart may have a recipe that uses cooked yolk too. It is supposed to contribute to the smoothe texture.

                      1. re: greygarious
                        korif Feb 4, 2013 09:50 AM

                        The recipe I'm going to be trying is much easier and was found on the smittenkitchen.com website. It calls for raw egg in the dough, and you do the whole thing in a food processor. I'm hopeful about hitting on the sought-after result! Thanks for your tip - smittenkitchen mentions that method in its writeup. A smooth texture is actually what I want to avoid; instead, the cookie I'm trying to duplicate has a very satisfying sandy texture. Karen

                  2. h
                    HillJ Feb 4, 2013 09:59 AM


                    scroll down to the bottom for the full recipe; with or without the chocolate dip.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: HillJ
                      korif Feb 4, 2013 10:08 AM

                      Tried it. Doesn't have the right texture. Thanks, though. Karen

                      1. re: korif
                        HillJ Feb 4, 2013 10:10 AM

                        Bummer, I so wanted your search to hit the right recipe!

                        1. re: HillJ
                          korif Feb 4, 2013 10:22 AM

                          me too! i hold out hope, though. stay tuned!

                          1. re: korif
                            HillJ Feb 4, 2013 10:36 AM

                            You bet I will!

                            1. re: HillJ
                              korif Feb 5, 2013 10:34 AM

                              see above for my reply detailing results of my latest trial...

                              1. re: korif
                                HillJ Feb 5, 2013 01:52 PM

                                good to know, i'll have to give the SK recipe with your additions a good sometime soon. Today I baked ginger cookies.

                                1. re: HillJ
                                  korif Feb 5, 2013 01:58 PM

                                  SK also has a chocolate version. I'm going to try that next! Let me know what you think when you get to it...

                                  1. re: korif
                                    HillJ Feb 5, 2013 01:59 PM

                                    I will. Thanks!

                    2. k
                      korif Jan 17, 2014 10:47 AM

                      Still obsessed! Returned from Hawaii two weeks ago and family has just about consumed all of the 150 Honolulu Cookie Company cookies we brought home with us...

                      We also brought home 3 pounds of roasted, unsalted macadamias, so my next shot at duplicating the HCC recipe is this one (minus the lemon peel), as its ingredient list is the closest I've found to HCC's:


                      Will post again with results!

                      1. k
                        korif Jan 25, 2014 09:13 PM

                        Okay, here's the recipe I've tested that I think comes the closest - http://cooks.com/em3wi76v. I omitted the lemon peel when I made them. Nice, sandy light texture. Yum! Now, to experiment with matching the chocolate flavor!

                        Show Hidden Posts