When most people hear the word “hula,” they picture grass skirts, swaying hips, and fragrant flower leis. An ancient tradition, dancers gracefully illustrate song lyrics with their hands and arms. My family even drives halfway around the island to watch a little girls’ hula show at least once on every vacation we take to Kauai.
But mention the same word to my family, and our minds immediately race to war — full-on battles, defending our territory with sharp knives, and every man for himself.
We get that way when it comes to dessert. 😉
At Keoki’s and Duke’s, their menus offer hula pie: a towering pyramid of macadamia nut ice cream on top of a thick Oreo cookie crust and finished off with whipped cream and hot fudge sauce. (We always ask them to hold the extra nuts and add more of the fudge instead!) Within 5 minutes of the server setting down the plate, we’ve basically licked it clean… And already contemplated ordering a second.
For years, we thought about making our own hula pie at home. It felt nearly impossible to wait for two whole years to satisfy our hula pie cravings… And my mom even purchased the special “hula pie” serving plate from the restaurant!
After our recent trip to Kauai, I finally caved and set out to recreate the iconic dessert once we returned. These mini hula pies were the result!
I updated them a bit based on our preferences, and I also downsized the dessert to individual portions instead. I wanted to reduce the dangers from fighting over the fudge sauce and Oreo crust. (We’ve almost had a few near-stabbing experiences!). By doing so, I ended up setting just spoons on the table. No steak knives necessary for defending our portions of crust anymore! 😉
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE MINI HULA PIES
Let’s quickly go over what you’ll need to make this fun hula pie ice cream dessert at home — but as a lightened-up version!
To make this dessert as quick and easy as possible to whip up for my family, I opted for store-bought ingredients. If you prefer, you can easily substitute homemade versions of everything! I’ve included links to those homemade recipes below.
♡ healthy homemade vanilla ice cream
♡ healthy homemade chocolate cookies (just substitute vanilla in place of the peppermint extract and skip the melted chocolate coating!)
♡ healthy homemade whipped cream (ignore the pie crust and filling parts of the recipe!)
♡ healthy homemade chocolate drizzle (ignore the cake part of the recipe!)
As for the updates, I tried lightening up these homemade hula pies by using nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt for the first batch. They turned out really well and had a great flavor and texture! I also loved the versions made with “slow churned” (aka reduced fat) vanilla ice cream and sugar-free vanilla ice cream. In other words… Use whatever vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt that you enjoy the most. They all taste lovely!
I also opted for plain vanilla frozen yogurt and vanilla ice cream — without macadamia nuts. I’m not a big fan of nuts in my ice cream (or in cookies or brownies, for that matter!). I love snacking on them plain or adding them to salads… But I pick the nuts out of just about every dessert and eat them separately. Hence the regular ol’ vanilla!
Tip: If you’re not nut-averse like I am, and you can’t locate macadamia nut ice cream (it’s not always easy to find outside of Hawai’i!), then you can stir chopped macadamia nuts into the vanilla ice cream or sprinkle them on top of your mini hula pies — or both!
As a super quick shortcut, I used plain Oreo cookies as the crust for my homemade mini hula pies. It turns out that the Oreos have almost the exact same diameter as mini muffin cups, which made it really easy to simply press one into the softened vanilla ice cream and frozen yogurt. No need to crush the cookies into fine crumbs and mix those together with butter, like with a traditional Oreo cookie pie crust!
Tip: Scrape off the cream filling first! This makes it easier for the ice cream or frozen yogurt to stick to the chocolate cookie.
Finally, you’ll need chocolate sauce and whipped cream for topping each little hula pie… And that’s it. Just four ingredients! (Or five, if you’d like to add macadamia nuts too! 😉 )
HOW TO MAKE MINI HULA PIES
Let’s quickly go over how to make hula pie at home — as miniature, single-serving portions!
First, you’ll need a mini muffin pan. After coating it with cooking spray (to make it easier to pop out the hula pies!), press softened vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt into each cavity. Smooth out the top, and then press a plain Oreo cookie (smooth side down!) on top of each. Once you’ve filled the 12 mini muffin cups, pop the whole pan in the freezer.
After they’re fully frozen, you’ll invert them onto plates (so the Oreo is now on the bottom, instead of the top, as the crust!). Top each mini hula pie with as much whipped cream and chocolate syrup as your heart desires — and then dig in!
And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your mini hula pies!
Mini Hula Pies
- 6 Oreo sandwich cookies (gluten free, if needed)
- 2¼ cups nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, slightly softened (see Notes!)
- ¼ cup chocolate syrup, divided
- 6 tbsp whipped cream
- Split each Oreo cookie sandwich in half. Scrape off the cream center with a knife and discard.
- Lightly coat a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray, and press 3 tablespoons of frozen yogurt into each of the 12 cups. Gently push one Oreo cookie on top of the frozen yogurt (with the scraped-off side touching the frozen yogurt). Place the pan in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or until firm.
- Using a knife, pop each mini hula pie out of the pan. Invert onto a plate (so the Oreo is on the bottom). Top each with 1 teaspoon of chocolate syrup and 1½ teaspoons of whipped cream. Serve immediately.
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Tip: If you’d like to try the original, you’re in luck — Kauai isn’t the only island with hula pie! Here are the other restaurants that serve this fun dessert, and there are even a few in California too!
- Duke’s (Waikiki, Oahu)
- Hula Grill (Waikiki, Oahu)
- Duke’s Beach House (Ka’anapali, Maui)
- Kimo’s (Lahaina, Maui)
- Hula Grill (Ka’anapali, Maui)
- Leilani’s (Ka’anapali, Maui)
- Sunnyside (West Lake Tahoe, CA)
- Sandy’s Beach Grill (Huntington Beach, CA)
- Duke’s (Huntington Beach, CA)
- Duke’s (Malibu, CA)
- Jake’s (Del Mar, CA)