My cousins call me “Cookie Monster” for good reason. Moist, soft, chewy cookies are my kryptonite. I can never pass one up, whether it’s at a dessert bar, potluck or bakery.
Since today is National Chocolate Chip Day, there’s no better time to dish up a roundup of the island’s best cookies. Criteria included overall taste (a given), addictiveness (would I get it again?), amount of chocolatiness and cookie texture.
In no particular order, here’s a bite of Oahu’s best chewy chocolate chip cookies.
Stage Cafe: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookie
I’m always happy to see this cookie, and it’s literally always happy to see me.
Stage Café’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies area available daily (unless they run out). They’re made with larger-than-life, perfectly round dark chocolate morsels.
Seven chunks of chocolate may not sound like much, but when you look at the chocolate chips in proportion to the entire cookie, you see that Stage doesn’t skimp on that cocoa. The oatmeal is a good flavor balance and grainy texture it adds is a nice contrast to the chocolate. I don’t often eat oatmeal cereal, but I absolutely love it in these cookies.
Stage Cafe • 1250 Kapiolani Blvd. • Ala Moana • 237-5491
Kalapawai Cafe: Salted chocolate chip cookie
As much as I love super-sweet treats, I’m never one to turn down a phenomenal salty-sweet hybrid. That’s where Kalapawai Café’s salted chocolate chip cookie ($3) comes in.
Slightly crispy on the outside and perfectly chewy inside, these cookies are studded generously with chocolate chips. But the best part is the sprinkling of salt crystals on top, producing a lingering sweet-and-salty blend in each bite.
I never leave Kalapawai without at least one cookie for later … if it even survives the ride home.
Kalapawai Café • 750 Kailua Rd. • Kailua • 262-3354
Nico’s Pier 38: Chocolate chunk cookie
This chocolate chunk cookie ($2.75) attracts my attention not only because of its size, but also because it contains a plethora of chocolate chips. Now, sometimes when I go to Nico’s, I don’t even order seafood — I just head straight for the bakery case.
My timing is impeccable on one such visit. I get my hands on one of these suckers straight outta the oven, while it’s still warm. Melted chocolate chips ooze out with every bite, and the cookie is broke da mout. Days later, I still can’t get that molten chocolatiness out of my mind.
Nico’s Pier 38 • 1131 N. Nimitz Hwy. • Iwilei • 540-1377
Aloha Bakehouse & Café: Double chocolate scone
Okay, so it’s not a chocolate chip cookie, but these scones from Aloha Bakehouse are worth trying. Scones have a bad rap for being bland. Yes, these are slightly drier than a cookie, but that’s just the nature of scones. They’re similar to a biscuit in texture.
Aloha Bakehouse models their scones after Japanese pastries, which aren’t overly sweet. The matcha features a subtle green hue and flavor, while the double chocolate scone is notably darker than the rest. But the highlight of both are the huge milk chocolate chips scattered prominently throughout; you get a mouthful in every bite. The bakery gets the chocolate from Waialua — way to support local.
Aloha Bakehouse & Café • 1001 Waimanu St. • Kakaako
Coffee Gallery: Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie
Located in the North Shore Marketplace, Coffee Gallery is the perfect little oasis if you’re looking for a quiet place to get work done. This cozy coffee shop is known for its extensive coffee menu, but their pastry selection equally excellent.
Appearances can be deceiving — I didn’t have high expectations before sinking my teeth into one of tiny treats. But this goes to show that low price point doesn’t mean low quality. They’re on the smaller side, soft and chewy and full of tiny chocolate chips — just like mama used to make. I’m partial to the peanut butter chocolate. Unlike crunchy peanut butter cookies, these are chewy and packed with strong peanut butter punch.
Coffee Gallery’s in the middle of nowhere, but definitely worth visiting at least once.
Coffee Gallery • 66-250 Kam. Hwy. • Haleiwa
Sweet Marie’s Hawaii: Chocolate chip cookies
Straight from Lihue, Sweet Marie’s just opened in the heart of industrial Kalihi a few months ago. The island’s first gluten-free and allergen-friendly café is home to some of the chewiest, freshest chocolate chip cookies you’ll find.
I’m not allergic to gluten, but these cookies are among my favorites. While they’re baked fresh daily and come with generous chocolate chips, the winning factor is the cookie dough. Even though it’s chewy, this cookie at the same time is pillowy and fluffy. It’s almost a cookie-cake hybrid.
Marie bakes a variety of treats every day, so just call beforehand to make sure the chocolate chip cookies are available (they should be, since they’re a popular order).
Sweet Marie’s Hawaii • 237 Kalihi St. • Kalihi • 823-0227
Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop: Compost cookie
Unfortunately, these Compost cookies don’t count as part of the Bake Shop’s Early Bird Special ($5 for a pastry and coffee) during the week. But you’ll still want to come early to the Chinatown spot to get your hands on them — they often sell out quickly and aren’t available during the afternoon.
The Compost cookie is thin and saucer-like, with a crispy-brittle exterior and a chewy, sticky interior. They really do have everything but the kitchen sink, and each bite presents different textures and flavors: chewy oats, salty bacon and potato chips, sweet chocolate and butterscotch chips.
Good thing each order comes with two cookies ($3): one for me, and one to share with my dining partner.
Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop • 1030 Smith St. • Chinatown • 536-1669
Burgers and Things: Campfire cookie
Burgers and Things’ Campfire cookie ($3) is a less-messy version of the classic s’mores, but with dark chocolate chips, marshmallows, graham crackers, macadamia nuts and chunks of milk chocolate, it’s no less delicious.
While the gooey marshmallow is the star of the show, the medley of large milk chocolate chunks interspersed with dark chocolate is spot on. The graham cracker crumbles and crunchy mac nuts add the right amount crunch.
Tip: If you’re getting these to go, microwave them for 20 seconds before consuming to recreate your own personal campfire experience.
Burgers and Things • 1991 Pauoa Rd. • Pauoa • 971-1946
The Girls Who Bake Next Door: Chocolate chip mac nut
The Girls Who Bake Next Door deliver if you’re looking for petite treats with homemade appeal. Go for the four for $5 deal. You’ll get a great sampler without having to choose between flavors like peanut butter toffee and oatmeal craisin.
These cookies are the cheapest in our roundup. Even though they’re small, they have an addictiveness that makes it impossible to stop at just one. There’s a melt-in-your-mouth quality and you can taste each mix-in, whether you’re indulging in traditional chocolate chip or savoring the crunch of any of the mac nut cookies.
Can’t make it to the storefront? Check the company’s Instagram to find the blue truck’s location and the day’s featured baked goods.
The Girls Who Bake Next Door • 210 Iolani Ave. • Punchbowl • 983-9989
Piggy Smalls: Salted chocolate cookie
Slushies and pho may be all the rage at Piggy Smalls, but one bite of this cookie ($3) will probably make you pho-get about everything else on the menu.
At first bite, the melted dark chocolate chunks seep out of every crevice. It’s dark chocolate, so the moist, crumbly cookie isn’t overly sweet. The crowning glory is the slightly salty aftertaste — which can only be washed down with Papa Le’s famous Vietnamese iced coffee, of course.
Piggy Smalls • Ward Centre • 1200 Ala Moana Blvd. • Kakaako • 777-3589
CC Cookies & Cream: Chocolate chunk cookie
If you’re craving a traditional, home-baked type of chocolate chip cookie, CC Cookies & Cream is the spot. And it’s the cheapest option that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
These cookies are small but liberally studded with chocolate chips (especially if you go for Chocolate chunk extreme). They’re similar to the cookies from The Girls Who Bake Next Door in consistency and texture — thinner, yet chewy — but they’re a bit softer and a bit more crumbly.
If you’re a cookie monster, be on the lookout for the “Day Old Dozen Mix” that sells for $10 a bag. It’s a steal, since these cookies aren’t even really old — just a few hours, tops.
CC Cookies & Cream • 609 Kailua Rd. • Kailua • 262-7726
Cookie Corner: Double chocolate chip with walnuts
No chocolate chip cookie roundup is complete without The Cookie Corner. I’ve tasted many good cookies in my life, but the smorgasbord from The Cookie Corner always holds a special place in my heart.
While these cookies have shrunk in size over the years, their taste and flavor have remained consistent. The traditional chocolate chip is crumbly and incredibly chewy, with Ghirardelli chocolate chips that are large and in charge. The double chocolate chip is more indulgent — walnuts provide a crunchier texture to offset the smooth, rich cookie dough.
A single cookie costs around $1.70, depending on its weight. I always hope for a slightly bigger cookie in the batch; it’s always worth the few cents extra.
To all those who prefer crunchy cookies — sorry. This is just the way the cookie crumbles.
The Cookie Corner • Various locations