As for stone cookies, some like 'em hard


POSTED: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Among the Big Island's many gifts to the world is something called the Stone Cookie. It is exactly as advertised — a cookie that's hard as a rock. Not crispy — hard.

Like biscotti and other shatter-proof baked objects, the Stone Cookie is not for everyone. It's generally loved by those who enjoy dunking it in coffee or tea, and when you try one in that context you can appreciate its charms.

For some people, it's true devotion. Kelly Sorenson, for example, wrote: “;I'm a Kona girl lost in Las Vegas. We can find almost all the goodies we crave from home ... but can we find Mountain View Stone Cookies? Not anywhere ...”;

When I got her plea, I remembered that I published a recipe in this column many years ago. Alas, it was not to be found, although I combed our Web site for it, using every search cue I could think of.

But — happy ending — I remembered who gave me the recipe: Susy Kawamoto, one of the most dedicated readers of and contributors to this column. She found her recipe and I've tested it anew, presenting it here to restore the historical record.

The key to this hard cookie is low, slow baking. Baking time is a half-hour or longer, and the quirks of your oven are important. If you find the cookies getting brown when they're still soft in the middle, reduce the oven heat.

Now, Stone Cookies are usually very large and not particularly attractive. I made mine smaller — about 2 inches across — which I strongly suggest for even baking in a home oven. They're easier to eat this way, too.

They're done when they no longer give at all when pressed in the center. If they're the least bit soft, leave them in the oven. I actually took mine out a little too early — I was afraid they were getting too brown — and although they were hard, they weren't rock hard. I consider this a plus, but if you really want that tooth-breaking goodness, push the envelope and bake 'em 'til they're solid.




Big Island-Style Stone Cookies




        1 block (1/2 cup) softened butter
        1-1/2 cups sugar
        2 eggs
        1/3 cup cream
        2 teaspoon baking soda
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        4 cups flour



Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.

Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and cream; mix well. Add baking soda and vanilla; mix well. Add flour; mix well.

Dough may be crumbly. Form by hand into 2-inch balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten.

Bake until very firm and brown, about 35 minutes. Check cookies frequently in the last few minutes to be sure they don't burn. As long as they feel at all soft in the middle, they need more baking time. Cool and store in airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Nutritional information unavailable.