These Vegan, Gluten-Free Cookies from Maui Are Every Snacker’s Dream
A Maui entrepreneur’s pandemic pivot turns a sweet hobby into a success.
Photos: Courtesy of Stacy Maui Cookies
Despite all the craziness of the pandemic, there are bright spots: new businesses that emerge out of necessity—and thrive. Stacy Maui Cookies is one of them.
Stacy Small is no stranger to the uncomfortable process of forced evolution. A travel writer and magazine editor for her first 15 years out of journalism school, she started selling travel to … well, to make money. After losing both her parents to cancer, Small moved to Maui to find peace and learned to “thrive and stay calm amidst the chaos.” Long story short, she became a master reiki healer and spiritual coach while continuing her luxury travel business.
Small is a celiac with all kinds of food allergies—including dairy, eggs and wheat—but she loves cookies and was hard-pressed to find a treat that was delicious and safe for her to eat. Anyone who has had gluten-free baked goods knows that they’re often dry or tasteless. But she managed to concoct a cookie recipe that she enjoyed, using a combination of almond, tapioca and coconut flours with chocolate chips, coconut and sea salt.
Fast forward to 2020. The pandemic hit and Small’s travel business dried up. With her newfound spare time, she started baking her cookies as gifts for quarantined friends around Maui, including chefs and restaurant owners; they liked them enough to encourage her to start a business. And just like that, Stacy Maui Cookies was born. “The best gluten-free, grain-free, vegan chocolate chip cookies on the planet,” her website promised. “Reiki-infused and baked with aloha.”
I tried her original chocolate chip cookie and was surprised to find it moist, sweet and chocolatey. But more importantly, I shared them with Frolic managing editor Mari Taketa—who has the same allergies to gluten, dairy and eggs—and she was impressed. “They look like the oat cake pucks you see at health food checkout counters,” she said, “so I wasn’t expecting much. But I bit in and it was indulgent. Not dry, not tasteless, with coconut aromas, creamy chocolate and a good chew. I had to do a doubletake. Indulgent vegan, gluten-free chocolate chips cookies are an oxymoron. These, I had to limit myself to two at a time.”
Stacy Maui cookies are also available with macadamia nuts, and Small is launching new cinnamon walnut chocolate chip and double chocolate chip coconut flavors. She recently added thin cookies for ice cream sandwiches.
Cookies are $24 for a dozen and can be purchased on Small’s website. If you’re a Maui local, you can access some special deals and delivery; if you’re shipping to the mainland, there’s a 20% discount.