Putting The Hip In Hippie Cafe

Hollan Hamid with her freshly baked Hippie Cafe doughnuts at Cafe Coco

It was just five months ago when I wrote about Hollan Hamid. As new owners of Caffe Coco, she and her husband put a heap of energy into updating the old cafe. Since then, there have been more improvements, including white linen tablecloths and a charming and rustic indoor dining area.

Chef Peter Zimmer a man who has won more than 30 honors and awards, including five James Beard Honorary Member Awards for restaurant design, menu and concept development is providing consultation services. Hamid flew to Honolulu last October to audition for the Food Network’s reality show Next Food Network Star. And, more recently, she released a line of gluten-free vegan baked goods called Hippie Cafe.

Chocolate brownies

“The name offends some people,” says Hamid, “but I’m a girl who loves shopping, colors her hair, and gets pedicures and manicures. I also love trees, I love nature and I’d rather have natural foods.

“That’s why I’m putting the hip in hippie,” she adds, and points to her slender hips, “but not these hips. I’m keeping these hips out of it by eating pastries from Hippie Cafe!”

Hamid went to pastry school because she loves sweets, and her inner hippie inspired the California Culinary Academy graduate to handcraft an organic line with wellness in mind.

“It’s got silken tofu and brown rice,” says Hamid about her chewy chocolate chip cookies. “It’s a cookie you can feel better about eating.” The cookie also includes evaporated cane sugar, a healthy alternative to highly processed refined sugar.

Hippie Cafe’s prepared brownie mix comes with 2 ounces of dark chocolate chunks from Hawaiian Chocolate Company and they’re a snap to make. Just add oil and water, or as the directions suggest, use applesauce for a lowfat version.

Banana bread is made with apple bananas

I whipped up a batch and popped it into the oven. Twenty minutes later, the fragrance of chocolate filled the house. I suggest lining your baking pan with parchment paper, because these babies are delicate. Hamid says gluten-free mixes are tricky, and always do better when the batter is refrigerated overnight, then bake according to package directions.

For me, the brownie mix is a blank slate, and I couldn’t help but add a half cup of macadamia nuts I got from the farmers market, and 1 teaspoon of the jalapeno flakes I had in the pantry. The moist brownies are not teeth-achingly sweet like traditional ones, and the clean chocolate flavor makes them addictive.

“I want to create vegan and gluten-free pastries that taste like pastries,” Hamid says. “The most important thing is that they taste good.”

Gluten-free, vegan doughnuts made with aloha. Daniel Lane photo

Hippie Cafe can be purchased at Caffe Coco, Papaya’s Natural Foods, Hoku Natural Foods, Kukui’ula Market and Living Foods Market. Hamid also is working with Papalani Gelato to create gluten-free ice cream sandwiches.

Hippie Cafe 990-4687 hippiecafekauai.com