Archive for DESSERTS

Grilled Plantains with a Brown Sugar Butter Glaze

I bought some plantains a little over a week ago and finally got around to making something with it today.

Unless you grow plantains in your back yard (which I don’t), you will usually buy them from the grocery store when they are still green and unripe.  There are lots of great ways to cook green plantains, but I prefer to eat them when they are sweet and ripe.

This is what they looked like when I first bought them.  Notice how green most of them are.




The photo below shows what they look like several days later.  Plantains are ripe when the skins are a dull yellow and there are several dark brown (even black) spots on them.  The plantains below were sweet, but if I let them sit for a few more days (when there will be even more black spots), they’d be at the peak of ripeness.  I didn’t want to wait that long, however, especially since I’d planned on grilling them — I needed the plantains to be sweet but still firm enough to hold up to the heat without turning to mush.




At this stage of ripeness, the plantains are perfect for grilling, making golai åppan aga’ (cooked with coconut milk and sugar), or making madoya (battered, fried bananas)

I’m making madoya tomorrow for breakfast (be looking out for my recipe) with a couple of the plantains.  I’m going to make golai åppan aga’ later this week with any remaining plantains.

But for tonight’s dessert, I decided on grilling them, then topping them with a brown sugar, butter and honey glaze (oh, so delicious!).

This is such a simple recipe to make.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it.  🙂





  • 2 ripe plantains
  • Vegetable oil (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (this brings out the sweetness, believe it or not!)


1.  Slice the ends off the plantains then cut each plantain into thirds.  Slice each third in half, lengthwise, then remove the peels.

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2.  Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a grill pan over medium heat.  Place the plantains in an even layer on the heated grill.


3.  While the bottom of the plantains are grilling, brush the tops with the remaining vegetable oil.  Grill for about 3 minutes, or until nice grill marks form (you can peek to check).  Flip the plantains over and grill the other side for another 3 minutes.



4.  Meanwhile, melt the butter and honey in a microwave-safe bowl.  Stir in the brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. Top each plantain with the brown sugar-butter mixture.  Remove from the heat when the brown sugar-butter mixture starts to melt and drip down the sides of the plantains.



5.  Serve while warm.  Top with vanilla ice cream (optional).  ENJOY!


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Guyuria (pronounced gu-ju-ree-ah) is another traditional Chamorro cookie (Rosketti is another).  Some of my friends call them jawbreakers because of their rock-hard texture.

This cookie is not baked, however, it is DEEP FRIED and glazed in a thick sugar syrup that hardens when dry.

Wait…I had you at DEEP FRIED, didn’t I?   🙂


These cookies keep for a long time, if stored properly.  Keep them sealed in a ziplock bag or a resealable container.

My recipe can be easily doubled, but since they are so easy to make, you don’t have to.  Just make up a fresh batch every time the craving hits you–which will be often, once you try these cookies.  Trust me.  Fry up a batch today.  You’ll be glad you did.






  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (use 3 tablespoons for a softer cookie)
  • 1 3/4 cups coconut milk


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup Water


  • Oil, for frying


1.  Make the dough:  Mix the flour, salt, and teaspoon of sugar together. Cut the butter into the flour mixture (as if you are making pie dough).

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2.  Add in the coconut milk and knead until a dough forms.

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3.  Roll the cookies:  Pinch off small pieces of dough, the size of a small marble. Press the dough onto the back of a fork; slowly roll it off the fork, shaping it into the traditional guyuria shape. OR: roll out the dough and cut into small pieces.  Set the formed cookies aside for a few minutes to dry slightly.  I find this helps when frying the cookies.

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4.  Heat the oil to about 350 degrees.  Here is a tip on how you can tell if the oil is hot enough.  Dip the tip of a wooden spoon (I use a wooden chopstick) into the oil.  If little bubbles start to form around the wood, then the oil is hot and ready.  Make sure the wood is clean and dry first; you don’t want hot oil to splatter and burn you.

This is a short video clip I made that describes what I stated above. You can see all of the little bubbles form around the tip of the wooden chopstick. This tells you that the oil is hot and ready for frying.

Fry the cookies until golden brown; drain well on paper towels or in a colander.   For crispier cookies, fry until the cookies are a dark golden brown.

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5.  When all the guyuria is fried and cooled slightly, place them in a large bowl.  


6.  Prepare the sugar syrup glaze.  Place the cup of sugar in a small sauce pan.  Add the water to the sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and a syrup forms. Remove syrup from the heat; allow to cool to thicken slightly.

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7.  Pour the sugar syrup over the guyuria, tossing gently to coat all the cookies.

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8.  Let the sugar syrup thicken then pour out the cookies onto a baking pan (pour any excess syrup over the cookies). Spread the cookies out in an even layer; let them sit for a few minutes to allow the glaze to harden.  Ensure the glaze is completely dry and hard before storing the guyuria in a ziplock bag or resealable container.

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Strawberries & Cream Dream Cake

I asked my kids what to name this dessert.   Strawberry shortcake seemed too simple a name for it.  They asked, “why NOT just plain old Strawberry Shortcake?”  “No,” I answered.  “This dessert is…well…dreamy.”  And there you have the story behind the name.

It’s super simple to make, but you can tell your friends you slaved in your kitchen all day long.  😉

There are very few store-bought products I buy that I don’t say to myself, “Why did I buy this?  Homemade is so much better.”  Sara Lee Pound Cake is one of those products–I love Sara Lee pound cake, as a base for Latiya, eaten by itself, or in a heavenly, dreamy, strawberry delight.  I have an awesome recipe for homemade pound cake, but why bother when you can buy one that tastes delicious?  I take that back…my homemade version is worth the effort, but when you’re pressed for time and want to quickly prepare something this yummy, there is no need to make one from scratch.

I do indulge a bit with this recipe by using heavy whipping cream in addition to Cool Whip. You most certainly can use regular milk instead of heavy cream, but your cream filling won’t turn out as thick.  I like the addition of Cool Whip  because I can lighten this recipe by using Cool Whip’s lightened or lower calorie versions instead of using nothing but heavy whipping cream.  While an all-whipping cream version is so delicious, my waistline won’t be as dreamy.  You can also lighten this further by using a sugar-free and fat-free instant pudding mix (see, you CAN have your cake and eat it too, and not feel guilty about it either).

Here’s my recipe…don’t just dream about it.  Make it.  Enjoy it.  🙂

Strawberries & Cream Dream Cake


1.  Pour the whipping cream in a mixing bowl.  Add the instant pudding mix.  Using an electric mixer, mix on the highest setting (I use setting #6, the highest setting for my handheld mixer).  The mixture will thicken quickly.



2.  Once the whipped cream mixture develops stiff peaks, add in half of the Cool Whip.  Mix on low speed until the Cool Whip is combined.  Mix in the rest of the Cool Whip.


3. Slice the pound cake into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices in half.  The resulting pieces should look like what’s in the photo below.  Layer half of the pieces of cake on the bottom of a shallow pan (a 9×13 pan works well).


4.  Spread half of the whipped cream mixture on top of the cake pieces.


5.  Spread half of the sliced strawberries over the layer of the whipped cream mixture.


6.  Add another layer of cake on top of the strawberries, using up the remaining pieces of cake.



7.  Spread the remaining whipped cream mixture on top of the cake.


8.  Spread the remaining strawberry slices on top of the whipped cream mixture.


Ta daaaaa!!!!  Chill, or serve immediately.




Strawberries & Cream Dream Cake
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 small box (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 16 ounces Extra Creamy Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 1 small tub fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 family size (16 oz.) Sara Lee pound cake
  1. Pour the whipping cream in a mixing bowl.  Add the instant pudding mix.  Using an electric mixer, mix on the highest setting until the mixture thickens.
  2. Add in half of the Cool Whip.  Mix on low speed until the Cool Whip is combined.  Mix in the rest of the Cool Whip.
  3. Slice the pound cake into ¼-inch slices, then cut the slices in half. Layer half of the pieces of cake on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  4. Spread half of the whipped cream mixture on top of the cake pieces.
  5. Spread half of the sliced strawberries over the layer of the whipped cream mixture.
  6. Add another layer of cake on top of the strawberries, using up the remaining pieces of cake.
  7. Spread the remaining whipped cream mixture on top of the cake.
  8. Spread the remaining strawberry slices on top of the whipped cream mixture.
  9. Chill, or serve immediately.



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Apigigi’ or Sweet Tamales

Apigigi’ is a Chamorro dessert that takes quite a bit of time to make, if prepared the traditional way.

It calls for grated cassava or tapioca, coconut milk, young coconut meat or månha, and sugar.  Mix it all together, grill (or steam for sweet tamåles), and a few hours later you have a delicious dessert that is savored all the more for all the effort it took to make it.


I still remember when I was little; we’d make this mixture the old fashioned way.  First, my mom would dig up some tapioca roots, peel them, then we’d grind them in that old fashioned grinder that you had to clamp to a table and rotate a hand-crank.

Then came the task of making coconut milk.  First you husk the coconut (shake it first to make sure there was liquid in it; that meant it was still good).  Then you grate the coconut using a kåmyu.  Lastly, add a little bit of water and squeeze the heck out of the meat to get thick, delicious coconut milk.

Then there was the task of getting månha.  As much as I did not care for grinding the cassava, I really didn’t like this part of the job (I only liked drinking the månha juice), only because in order to get a couple of cups of sweet månha, we had to cut open about a dozen månha then carefully scrape out the meat, being careful not to scrape out the husk with it.  Of course, I always got a lot of the husk with the meat–I think this is why I hated this task most of all.  I had to go back and pull off all the husk off the meat before we could use it.

But thankfully modern conveniences make this process a WHOLE LOT easier!  You can buy canned coconut milk, grated cassava, and even young coconut meat, all packaged nicely, ready for you to make some apigigi’ or sweet tamales.  Yay!  🙂

Grilled for apigigi’ or steamed for sweet tamales, this recipe is another family favorite.  Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of this post for my twist to this Chamorro favorite.

Apigigi’ or Sweet Tamales

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  • 1 bag (1 pound) grated cassava
  • 2 cups månha (if you buy frozen månha, make sure it’s thawed and drained)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (use 1/2 cup if you like it less sweet)
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • Banana leaves (for making apigigi, cut into 6×4-inch pieces)

1.  Chop the manha, then mix it with the cassava, sugar and coconut milk.






2.  Spread a thin layer down the center (lengthwise) of the banana leaf.  Fold each side in, over the batter.

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3.  Grill over hot coals or on a stove-top grill pan, about 10 minutes on each side.  Let cool then serve.

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4.  If making sweet tamales instead of apigigi’, fill snack-sized ziplock bags with about 4 tablespoons of batter.  Wrap the bag with foil then steam the foil packets for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool then serve warm.  You can also chill the tamales and serve cold.

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*NOTE:  I also like to serve the steamed tamales unwrapped, placed in a shallow baking dish, then topped with a thick, sweet coconut topping.  Here is my version of the topping:

Sweet Coconut Topping for Tamales

  • 1 1/2 cans coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar

1.  Dissolve the cornstarch and sugar in the coconut milk.  Pour into a small sauce pan then bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened.

2.  Pour the sauce over the steamed tamales.  Serve while still warm.



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Easy Shortcut Chamorro Cake

This is an absolutely delicious cake, a favorite on Guam.  This is absolutely fantastic served without any frosting; however, it’s also delicious served with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or as a base for Latiya.

This is my shortcut version, but be checking back for my “regular” Chamorro Cake recipe, which I’ll post soon!


Chamorro Cake Cupcake with a
Marshmallow Plumeria Topping
(Marshmallow Plumeria design
by Arlene Sablan Aguon)


  • 1 box butter (yellow) cake mix
  • 1 8-oz container sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (use 1 teaspoon for a stronger lemon flavor)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Mix all ingredients together; pour the batter into a 13×9 pan.

3.  Bake for 25 minutes (check at 20 minutes). A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out with a few crumbs sticking to it.


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