Coconut M&M's, Haupia Cookies and Coconut Taffy Cookies

Today we’re going “Crazy for Coconuts”, starting things off with MARS new Coconut M&M’s. Genius! Well sort of. Except as soon as I seen the caption beneath COCONUT that says “Artificial Flavor”, I became a bit skeptical.

I was hoping there would be real grated coconut beneath the candy-coated shell, but it turns out what MARS decided on for the recipe was to add artificial flavoring (chemicals) to give these M&M’s chocolate center its coconut flavor.

Which lead me to do some “Google Fu” online research, where come to find out Hershey’s has come out with a candy-coated “pieces” version of Peter Paul’s Almond Joy, aptly named ‘Almond Joy Pieces‘.  While I haven’t tried or took notice to it in the stores yet, I am SO THERE, as I love Mounds and Almond Joy!  Shoots, I love most foods that feature coconut.

Apparently Coconut M&M’s aren’t really “new”, as according to the official Coconut M&M’s webpage, “Everyone’s favorite flavor is back”, indicating it was previously on the market, although I couldn’t find any more information than that.

Let’s check out what’s in the bag…

Of course there’s more than just four pieces in the bag, but these are good examples of the bunch.

Diggin’ how they provide white and brown colored candies to resemble the flesh and shell of a real coconut. If you checked out that link I provided earlier to, you’ll see the author’s sample was a “Limited Edition” Coconut M&M’s, where it included white, brown and green colored candies, with the green meant to resemble the coconut tree leaves. The edition I have here without the “Limited Edition” stamp didn’t include any green candy-coated morsels, regardless of the label depicting a Green “Wahine” M&M. Unless this was a defective batch. Dunno’.

Notice on the brown colored M&M’s that there’s two different graphical icons: one is a coconut tree and the other is an umbrella, suggesting its tropical theme. Which has me thinkin’ the folks at Hormel should get together with the folks at MARS and create a special Hawaii edition SPAM M&M’s! lol

As for their size, they’re about the same diameter as regular (non-peanut) M&M’s, but these Coconut M&M’s are considerably thicker.

Here’s how they look in cross-cut view, where they look like regular ol’ M&M’s on the inside, with the white colored shell the only indicator these are something different.

So how do they taste? Ono! Dig it! The best and simplest way to describe these Coconut M&M’s is if you were to take Mounds and M&M’s and put the two together, that’s almost exactly how these taste. The only thing missing is the texture and more authentic flavor of the real grated coconut used in Mounds. Something Hershey got right with their Almond Joy Pieces. And the author of, as well as many who commented proclaimed Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces are even better than MARS’ Coconut M&M’s.

Still, I think these Coconut M&M’s taste great. Hopefully they’ll come out with the peanut version of Coconut M&M’s, as I much prefer Peanut M&M’s over regular M&M’s. I think the coconut flavor along with the peanuts, chocolate and candy coating would rock!

What? Coconut M&M’s
Who makes it? MARS Snackfood US, LLC in Hackettstown, New Jersey
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Aloha Gas Station mini mart, Waikiki on Kalakaua avenue. 89¢ per 1.5 oz. bag
Big Shaka to: Really ono and addicting! Although it’s artificially flavored, it’s still convincing enough to you have think it’s real coconut. Has just enough coconut flavoring to know it’s there without overpowering M&M’s already excellent chocolate candy filling. Tastes just like a hybrid Mounds-meets-M&M’s candy. Sweet candy coating really brings out the flavor of the coconut-chocolate candy filling, while it’s hard finish offers a nice crunch as you chew on it. Coconut tree and umbrella icons printed on candy is a cool touch. Great label design fits right in with a tropical Hawaiian theme.
No Shaka to: Artificially flavored, so it misses the authenticity that comes with having real grated coconut in it. Doesn’t have the green-colored Coconut M&M’s like the limited edition version.
SPAM Musubi rating: 4
**Read what says about Coconut M&M’s here and Almond Joy Pieces here.

Moving on to the next “Crazy for Coconuts” product, we have Menehune Mac’s Haupia Cookies…

The “skinny” on it…

Unpacking it, we find them in a sealed plastic tray to keep ’em fresh and crispy…

A closer look…

Let’s try it…

While it doesn’t say they’re shortbread cookies, that’s pretty much what they taste like. Which is fine by me, as I love that style of cookie. Flour, sugar and butter are best friends, and good friends of mine too. lol As for the “Haupia” part, that would be the real grated coconut flakes mixed into the dough, which provides a subtle coconut flavor, where like the Coconut M&M’s, it’s not overbearing, allowing the buttery goodness of the crispy, perfectly sweetened and salted shortbread cookie itself to lend a hand to the wonderful marriage of the two. Overall, fantastic. I really dig ’em. In fact, I wish I had a glass of cold milk to dip ’em in, which would add that “creamy” element like the real Haupia dessert.

The only thing I’m a little disappointed is that being made by a Macadamia Nut company, I was hoping it would have little chunks of Macadamia Nut in it to add life to the party, but this doesn’t have any to speak of, as is indicated by the ingredients listing. Perhaps they tried it and the Mac’ Nuts either didn’t match (which would be hard to believe), or changed the flavor too much of the coconut flakes mixed in it.

Anyhow, “Big Shaka” to Menehune Mac’s Haupia Cookies!

What? Haupia Cookies
Who makes it? Menehune Mac in Honolulu (Wai, Hawaii
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Omiyage (it was given as a gift, so don’t ask me where or how much. lol)
Big Shaka to: “Coconutty” ‘n buttery ono! Crispy and fresh tasting. Real grated coconut flakes give it an authentic flavor and texture. Balance of coconut flavor to butter, sugar and salt in shortbread cookie dough is perfect. Elegant and classy packing design. Made in Hawaii. The generous person who shared them with us (mahalo!).
No Shaka to: No Macadamia nuts in or on it.
SPAM Musubi rating: 4

Finally for our “Crazy for Coconuts” binge, we have Diamond Bakery’s Coconut Taffy Hawaiian Cookies…

The “skinny”…

Check ’em out..

So how is it? Well to be honest, eating them during the same cookie-eating session (because that’s what it is) alongside Menehune Mac’s EXCELLENT Haupia Cookies, these really pale in comparison.

While I don’t know the exact retail price paid for each one, I’m going to assume (even though I shouldn’t) the Diamond Bakery Coconut Taffy Hawaiian Cookies are much cheaper per ounce than the more “gourmet” Menehune Mac Haupia Cookies. The packaging alone tells you the Menehune Mac Haupia Cookies are likely sold at a premium price and geared towards specialty retailers, while the Diamond Bakery Coconut Taffy Cookies have a more mass-produced (cheaper) look and feel to it.

Anyhow, price notwithstanding, taste-wise, compared to the rich and buttery shortbread style Haupia Cookies, these Coconut Taffy cookies are somewhat more “dough-ee”, along with a texture that’s more like a graham cracker. Or perhaps Diamond Bakery’s own Creme Cracker. By-the-way, I’m a huge fan of Diamond Bakery’s Soda Crackers and Saltine Soda Crackers.

As for the coconut part, like the Coconut M&M’s, these are also artificially flavored, so no real grated coconut going on here to give that authentic flavor and texture. With that, the coconut flavor in these taste very, very subtle. For me, not enough. It needs more. You can SMELL coconut when you open the bag, but when you bite into the cookie itself, it’s barely there.

Kids will probably like it, but adults may find it just that: a cookie for kids. At least I thought so.

What? Coconut Taffy Hawaiian Cookies
Who makes it? Diamond Bakery in Honolulu Hawaii
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Omiyage
Big Shaka to: Crispy and fresh-tasting. Made in Hawaii.
No Shaka to: Tastes “dough-ee”. Not enough (artificial) coconut flavor. Lacking real grated coconut flakes.
SPAM Musubi rating: 1


15 thoughts on “Coconut M&M's, Haupia Cookies and Coconut Taffy Cookies

  1. Have you had the haupia brownie at Yama’s Fish Market? Surprisingly tasty. I’d regret it later, but I could probably eat the whole pan by myself.

  2. We first discovered the Coconut M&M’s at an ABC Store in March, while we were in town for a wedding. We really liked them and checked out several Long’s and ABC Stores, looking for more, but could only find empty cartons. Practically spent an entire evening on the quest for the Coconut M&M’s. Finally found (and bought) an entire box at Don Quijote. By the way, have you tried the cookies from Cookie Lady Hawaii? Because they’re handmade, you can only get them from the “factory” in Waipahu. Definitely worth the drive.

  3. Kyle, wow you folks liked it that much that you went on a hunt for it? And bought an entire box? Sounds like you need to go on another hunt for the Almond Joy Pieces!
    Next time I’m out in Waipahu I’ll pick up some Cookie Lady Hawaii cookies. Thanks for the tip! Have you ever tried Mikey’s Cornflake Cookies? Awesome! You also gotta’ try Kona Chips’ Petroglyphs in Paradise’ Ugly Cookies. Also awesome!
    Spotty, no I haven’t tried Yama’s Haupia Brownie, but thanks for the tip. I’ll be sure to get some next time I go there!
    Amy, great idea on using the coconut tatty cookies to make a pie crust. I’m guessing you thought of that based on me saying it had the texture of Graham Crackers. Coconut Cream Pie sounds great! I also love Banana Cream Pie! How about a Pina Colada Cream Pie? Or Lava Flow Pie!

  4. Wuz gonna tell you the story of my Stateside bro (it’s like Kyle & Paul go to White Castle) but he already relayed the tale… BTW the Mrs’ co-worker gave us a bag… and it only has whites & greens… no browns. Does have a good balance of chocolate to coconut but I dunno about artificial flavor… mebbe I’ll sprout hair again…

  5. You like banana cream pie? Haven’t been there in years, but Monarch Seafoods in Kalihi used to have a really good one–and I don’t even particularly *like* banana cream pie.

  6. Pomai, is there a recipe for Lava Flow Pie? Where do they sell this pie so I could try it. I make own coconut shortbread cookies different from ready made one.

  7. Now I want to try this Lava Flow Pie been checking web and unable to find recipe. Where did you had this pie ?

  8. Pomai, my friends said in San Francisco Walgreens carry it but not a popular item due to not many people coconut candies. I also interested in that pie called Lava Flow Pie. Is it like Molted Lave Cake which is chocolate? Where did you had it?

  9. Patty, Michael and Erica, this “Lava Flow Pie” was just a suggestion, and something I have yet to see and try. However, Amy eMailed me a link to a Pina Colada Pie recipe by Sandra Lee of the Food Network.
    A Lava Flow tropical cocktail drink is essentially a Pina Colada with the addition of strawberry puree swirled-in to create a “lava flow” effect on the edge of the glass.  Of course the strawberries add that extra dimension of flavor as well.
    So I figure you could follow Sandra lee’s Pina Colada Pie recipe (which sounds fab’), and simply modify it by swirling-in strawberry puree to create that “lava flow effect” in it. Perhaps I’ll try it myself and feature it in a future post!
    Spotty, I’ve been meaning to check out Monarch Seafoods, but never got around to it yet. When I go there, I’ll be sure to look out for their Banana Cream Pie! Thanks for the tip!
    Ryan, that’s really weird. White and green ones, but no brown? MARS must be sending the Hawaii retailers all the rejects! How dare!
    My hair does look a little thicker and my bald spot disappearing, now that you mention it. lol

  10. Whoever keeps eMailing me recipes and links using MY eMail address and name as your ID, please STOP IT!  It’s downright CREEPY and may also be illegal, or at least violates terms of service. If you’re going to send me stuff (which I do appreciate if done the legitimate way), please use YOUR eMail address and name as the sender, not mine! Thank you.

  11. Pomai, I know how you feel. I had an aol email some time ago and someone use to mass email to lot strangers and wrote swearing things on it and reply back to me and I got blame for it. AOL trace some little goy in Ohio got my email and did to me. No different than my mom got strange phone call saying that she was fooling around with this wierd woman husband which she did not at all.

  12. I LOVE Almond Joy Pieces. In fact I bought a bag last night and promptly devoured half the bag in about ten seconds flat. I can’t wait to try the M&Ms! I am addicted to the dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. I like to eat them until my jaws hurt, lol

  13. Coconut has to be my favorite flavor! Have you ever tried the candy bar “Bounty”. It’s like a “Mounds”, but with milk chocolate AND theirs is 3 pieces instead of 2!!! I can only find it in B.C. Canada…but only a 3 hour drive away.

    I haven’t seen the coconut M&Ms yet. I must not be looking hard enough. 🙂

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