comscore 8 dessert and comfort food recipes to make when you are stuck at home | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

8 dessert and comfort food recipes to make when you are stuck at home

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2019
                                Learn how to make this tasty treat inspired by Guava Smoked’s guava bars.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2019

    Learn how to make this tasty treat inspired by Guava Smoked’s guava bars.

Stuck at home due to the safer-at-home mandate? Here are recipes for cooking at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you have a sweet tooth or want to try to pick up a new hobby — we’ve got you!


This tasty treat was inspired by Guava Smoked’s guava bars. Although the Kalihi takeout spot didn’t want to give up all of its secrets, Crave editor Betty Shimabukuro came up a version inspired by Guava Smoke’s dessert.


>> 1 (12-ounce) can frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed

>> 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

>> 1 tablespoon cornstarch

>> 1 teaspoon baking powder


>> 1/2 pound (1 cup or two sticks) butter, softened

>> 1/2 cup sugar

>> 2 cups flour

>> 1/4 teaspoon salt

>> 1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment.

>> To make crust: Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour and salt until well incorporated (mixture will be dry). Add nuts (1/2 cup will make a firm crust; the more nuts, the more crumbly it will be).

Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, until crust is just starting to brown around edges.

Let crust cool slightly while preparing fruit layer: Whisk juice concentrate with condensed milk until thoroughly combined. Sift cornstarch and baking powder into mixture; whisk until incorporated. Pour over baked crust. Smooth top and tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake 30 minutes.

Let cool. Lift edge of parchment and slide contents onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Sift powdered sugar over top just before serving, if desired. Makes about 20 bars.


Kaneohe resident Yok Heong “Billie” Ching decided to make her own version of almond cookies after she tried a recipe that she didn’t quite like.


>> 3 cups all-purpose flour

>> 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

>> 1/4 teaspoon salt

>> 1 cup sugar

>> 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening (preferably Crisco), at room temperature

>> 1 teaspoon almond extract

>> 1 large egg, slightly beaten

>> Red food coloring


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, add sugar to Crisco; mix well with a spatula. Add almond extract; mix. Add beaten egg; mix. Gradually mix in dry ingredients in 3 batches. Slightly knead into a big ball.

Split dough into 5 logs for easier handling. Break into small pieces about the size of walnuts. Form each cookie by rolling dough into a ball in your palm, then lightly press flat on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Cover the bottom of a glass with a clean cloth. Use the glass to very gently press each cookie to a uniform thickness of 1/4 inch.

Dip round tip of a chopstick in food coloring and mark the center of each cookie with 3 red dots. Bake 14-15 minutes. Check at 14 minutes, as cookies should be pale, not brown. Cool on a cookie rack.


This recipe from Sandi Kato-Klutke is a fusion of Japanese mochi and Filipino sticky rice cake. This dessert was one her specialities when she had a popular food booth at the farmers market at Kauai Community College.


Biko layer:

>> 2-1/2 cups mochi rice (sweet rice)

>> Water to soak and cook rice

>> 1-1/2 cups unpacked dark brown sugar

>> 3/4 cup coconut milk

Butter mochi layer:

>> 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) softened butter

>> 1 cup white sugar

>> 3 large eggs

>> 1 teaspoon baking powder

>> 1-1/2 cups mochiko (Koda brand preferred)

>> 1 cup coconut milk

>> 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To make biko layer:

Wash rice 3 times, then soak in water at least an hour; drain well.

Cook rice in rice cooker or on stovetop following directions on bag, but adjust the amount of water: Cover rice with 2-1/2 cups water, then remove 2 tablespoons. Rice may also be cooked in a microwave: Combine with water in an 8-cup microwave-safe measuring cup and cook on high 18-20 minutes.

Let cooked rice cool 10 minutes.

Combine brown sugar with coconut milk. Pour over rice and mix well, breaking up any lumps of sugar. Let sit another 10 minutes.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread rice mixture over bottom of pan; smooth surface. Let cool 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

To make butter mochi layer:

Cream butter with sugar, then add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add baking powder and 1/2 the mochiko, mix well. Add 1/2 of coconut milk and vanilla; mix well. Mix in remaining mochiko and coconut milk. Pour batter over biko layer in pan; smooth surface. Bake 60-70 minutes, until center is well set.

Cool slightly; slice. Delicious when warm, but also good at room temperature. After 1 day, leftovers should be refrigerated. Microwave individual pieces about 5 seconds on high and they’ll turn warm and bouncy again.

NOTE: For a double batch using 2 baking pans, use 5 extra-large eggs. You will conveniently use up a full 16-ounce box of mochiko, a 16-ounce box of brown sugar and 2 (13.5-ounce) cans of coconut milk.


Oahu butcher Bryan Mayer uses ground beef to make an easy chorizo. “Everybody loves ground beef … It’s super versatile, you can do so many different things with it,” he said.


>> 2 pounds ground beef (30% fat preferred but 20% will do)

>> 2-3/4 teaspoons salt

>> 1/2 teaspoon paprika

>> 3/4 teaspoon cayenne

>> 1-1/4 teaspoons ancho chili powder

>> 1/2 teaspoon pepper

>> 3/4 teaspoon cumin

>> 1/4 teaspoon EACH garlic powder, ground allspice, cloves and cinnamon

>> 1/4 cup beer (lager or pilsner; stay away from stouts and wheat beers)


In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing thoroughly until you start to feel the sausage bind, about 1 minute (you’ll notice a definite change in texture as the meat becomes denser).

Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium to high; cook mixture until browned. Make sure to scoop out and save the fat that accumulates in the pan — use it to add flavor to other dishes. For example, use the fat to cook eggs to serve with the chorizo. Serves 4.


Waipahu resident Denise Torres shares her family recipe commonly known as Puerto Rican rice. “I love to cook and it keeps me busy,” Torres said. “I like to keep the Puerto Rican food traditions alive, and I like to make people happy.”


>> 1 pound belly pork, cut into 1/4-by-1-inch strips

>> 1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)

>> 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

>> 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)

>> 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

>> 1 (15-ounce) can gandules (pigeon peas), liquid reserved

>> 3 (0.17-ounce) packets Goya brand Sazon Con Culantro y Achiote seasoning

>> 1 (1/3-ounce) package achiote powder (annatto)

>> 1 (6-ounce) can large black olives, drained

>> 2 tablespoons soy sauce

>> 6 rice-cooker cups uncooked medium-grain rice

>> 4 cups water

>> 1 tablespoon garlic salt

>> 1 tablespoon pepper


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet or pot that can go in the oven, brown pork about 6 to 8 minutes over medium-high heat. Add green onions, cilantro and bell pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add tomato sauce and enough water to fill the can, beans with liquid, Goya seasoning, achiote powder, olives and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.

While mixture is simmering, wash rice and drain. Add rice to meat mixture with water. Mix thoroughly.

If the pot you use cannot go in the oven, transfer rice to a large casserole dish or pan. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, cover and cook another 20 minutes. Stir again and check rice. Continue cooking until rice is done. Add garlic salt and pepper, then taste and adjust seasonings. Serves about 12 as a main dish, more as a side dish.

Tip: For easier slicing, put pork belly in freezer for 15 minutes before slicing.


Pumpkie pie lovers may enjoy this creation by retired chef Norman Asao. His father Norman Hideo’s recipe is from the original Bakery Kapiolani. Get some baking tips from a pro.



>> 2-1/2 heaping cups pastry flour, plus more for rolling out dough

>> 6 tablespoons shortening

>> 8-1/2 teaspoons sugar

>> 1-1/4 teaspoons salt

>> 1/2 cup water

>> 4-1/2 teaspoons powdered milk

Spice mix:

>> 2 tablespoons cinnamon

>> 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg (or 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1 teaspoon mace)

>> 3/4 teaspoon ginger (substitute 3-3/4 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice)

>> 1-1/2 teaspoons salt

>> 1/4 cup cornstarch


>> 1 (29-ounce) can pure pumpkin (Libby’s brand preferred)

>> 1-1/2 cups sugar

>> 6 large egg yolks

>> 3 whole large eggs

>> 2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk

>> 4 teaspoons corn syrup


>> To make dough: In a large bowl, mix flour and shortening by hand until shortening is thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, salt, water and powdered milk. Add this mixture into the shortening and flour mixture. Mix by hand — do not over mix.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Roll out each portion with a rolling pin and place each in a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Form a crust around the edges. Set aside. (Crust does not need to be baked separately.)

>> To make filling: In large bowl, combine pumpkin and spice mix ingredients.

In separate bowl, combine sugar, eggs, milk and syrup. Combine with pumpkin mix. Pour filling into crusts. Bake pies uncovered for 60 to 65 minutes, until filling is set.

Cool 2 hours before cutting and serving. Makes two 9-inch pies.


Puto Maya is a traditional Filipino dessert typically served during Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the purple rice treat during your home quarantine. Chaminade University teacher Eva Rose Washburn-Repollo shares a recipe for her favorite childhood treat normally wrapped in banana leaves and served to family and friends.


>> 1/2 cup raw black rice (also called purple rice, sold in Chinatown or Thai and Filipino markets)

>> 1 -1/2 cups raw sweet rice (mochi rice)

>> 1/2 cup sugar

>> 1/2 cup coconut milk

>> 1/4 cup roughly grated ginger

>> 1-1/2 teaspoons salt

>> 10 to 12 banana leaves, cut into 4-by-7-inch strips


Soak black rice in water 3 hours. Soak sweet rice in water 2 hours. Drain both types of rice and mix together.

Set up a double boiler or steamer and bring water to boil in bottom half. Place rice in top half and steam 20-25 minutes, until cooked. Stir regularly so rice cooks evenly.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut milk, ginger and salt. Mix in cooked rice. Return mixture to steamer and cook another 17 to 20 minutes.

Form banana leaf strips into cones. Fill each cone with rice mixture. Fold the end of the strip to cover the bottom of the cone. Serve warm if possible, unwrapping each cone to produce a triangular rice cake. Good served with sliced mangoes. Serves 10 to 12.


This creamy curry is packed with spices to make a bright meal.


>> 2 cups canola oil

>> 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

>> 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

>> 1/2 cup curry paste (see recipe below)

>> 4 pounds skinless chicken thighs or drumsticks, bone-in or boneless (if boneless, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks)

>> 6 lemon grass stems (not green tops), pounded

>> 2 cups coconut milk (Mae Ploy brand preferred)

>> 1/3 cup sugar

>> 2 teaspoons salt

>> 8 teaspoons fish sauce

>> 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder

>> 6 cups hot water

>> 2 onions, cut into wedges

>> Curry paste:

>> 1 tablespoon cinnamon sticks, broken or smashed into thin shards

>> 15 cloves

>> 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

>> 1 teaspoon white peppercorns

>> 2 star anise

>> 1/2 teaspoon annatto seeds

>> 8 bay leaves

>> 10 kaffir lime leaves

>> 2 tablespoons paprika

>>1/2 teaspoon olive oil

>> 10 large garlic cloves, peeled

>> 4 shallots, peeled and cut into wedges

>> 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more if needed

>> 1-inch piece galangal, peeled and thinly sliced

>> 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and thinly sliced


Make curry paste: Roast spices in a large saucepan or skillet on medium. Heat until dried out, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves. Continue cooking until crispy, about 3 to 4 more minutes.

Transfer to a large mortar and pestle. Add paprika and grind spices until very fine. Using a fine strainer, strain out large pieces. Grind those pieces again until they can pass through the strainer.

In the same skillet over medium, heat 1/2 teaspoon oil over medium. Add garlic and shallots; cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Place in blender with 1/3 cup oil. Add ground spices, galangal and turmeric; blend until smooth, about 5 minutes on high. Stop blender and dislodge any hard ingredients. Add additional oil if needed to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

Make curry: In a deep stock pot, heat canola oil on high. Add sweet potatoes and potatoes in batches; cook until slightly browned and halfway cooked, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In another pot, heat curry paste on medium-high. Add chicken and stir continuously 5 minutes. Add lemon grass, coconut milk, sugar, salt, fish sauce, chicken powder and hot water. Cook until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes. Five minutes before dish is cooked, add potatoes and onions.

Serve hot over steamed rice, with slices of French bread or over thin noodles (rice vermicelli or Japanese somen) and raw vegetables such as sliced red cabbage, sliced cucumber, chopped long beans or Thai purple basil. Serves about 20.

The receipes in this story were previously featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Crave.

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