d o c t o r a n d m a m a

Linda Shiue

Linda Shiue
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
December 31
I am a physician and spend my free time with my husband and kids, reading everything in sight, eating, traveling, and cooking meals inspired by my travels. These days I'm spending more time at my food blog, spiceboxtravels.com. Please visit me there and follow me on Twitter @spiceboxtravels. Disclaimer: Health information presented here is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. © 2010-12 Linda Shiue. All Rights Reserved.

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Editor’s Pick
APRIL 3, 2011 6:50PM

Sweet for the Big Island

Rate: 17 Flag

 Kona Hawaii by Linda Shiue 

What would be your last wish on your final morning in Hawaii? Catch the sunrise? A last minute dip into the Pacific? Or perhaps one last exploration of tide pools, looking for crabs, starfish, and sea turtles?

After a glorious week in the sun, while the rest of us were still asleep to the hypnotic sounds of waves, the breeze gently blowing through palm trees, and the lazy whir of the ceiling fan, my husband woke up quietly to sneak out for his one last wish.  He drove 45 minutes (each way) to get a dozen malasadas.  That's the kind of guy he is.  Malasadas are the yeasty, eggy, sugary donuts that were introduced to the Hawaiian islands by Portuguese immigrants from the Azores generations ago.  Malasadas have since been eagerly incorporated into the cuisine of the Hawaiian islands, and each island has a "best" place to get them.  On the Big Island, that place is Tex Drive In, in Honokaa, near Waimea. 

To the casual observer, the malasada looks like a typical raised doughnut, rolled in granulated sugar.    Stace, one of the kama'aina (locals) I talked to,  shed some light on what makes the malasada special.   Having grown up in Honokaa, he knew a little bit of the history behind Tex's malasadas.  He told me that the first owners, a few malasada generations ago, converted their recipe for pao doce (Portuguese sweet bread) and used it to make their mouthwatering and award-winning malasadas. 

malasadas by Linda Shiue 

My husband arrived back with the box of malasadas just as the rest of us were waking up, and we quickly devoured them.  That's how you can eat on vacation-- eating without consequences.  

Back home, I wanted to make a Sunday brunch to remind us of Hawaii, which we miss too much already, but I don't do much deep-frying in my kitchen.  Thinking back to Stace, Tex's malasadas, and the Portuguese immigrants who brought their sweet bread and malasadas to another heavenly island home, I made a not-too-guilty replacement: Portuguese sweet bread French toast with coconut syrup.  

*    *    *

Portuguese Hawaiian Sweet Bread French Toast

with Coconut Syrup

Hawaiian Sweetbread French toast by Linda Shiue 

Sweet bread makes excellent French toast because of its eggy, light and slightly chewy texture.  I made this version with guava and taro flavored sweet bread we brought back with us from Punalu'u Bake Shop, which by being located 30 minutes South of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Na'alehu is known as the "Southernmost Bakery in the U.S.A."  King's Hawaiian bread or rolls, readily available in all major grocers on the mainland, make a great substitution.  Hawaiian coconut syrup is more difficult to come by, so I've made a recipe you can make from ingredients easily found anywhere.  


1 lb loaf of Hawaiian sweet bread (or rolls), such as King's Hawaiian

5 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

zest of a lemon, lime, or tangerine

butter for griddle or pan 

garnishes: coconut syrup (recipe follows), powdered sugar


1.  Heat griddle or pan to medium-high and grease with a small amount of butter.

2.  Slice sweet bread into desired size slices.

3.  Whisk together eggs, milk, and seasonings.

4.  Dip slices of sweet bread into egg mixture, then cook on griddle for a minute or so on each size, until nicely golden.

5.  Serve with coconut syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar. 

Hawaiian Coconut Syrup


1 can (13 or 14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk 

1 cup simple syrup (made of equal amounts of granulated white sugar and water, boiled together)

pinch of salt 


1.  Whisk together coconut milk, simple syrup and salt in a saucepan, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

2.  The syrup is ready when boiled, but you can reduce to desired thickness by continuing to cook over low heat, stirring frequently. 


© 2011 Linda Shiue, with Aloha 

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welcome home, and i hope the Hawaiian toast helps with the paradisitis. looks very yummy.
This sounds wonderful--everything about your Hawaiian trip does! That coconut syrup sounds different and fun to eat. I'm glad your trip brought you inspiration as well as memories!
Magnificent! The malasadas are new to me, as is the coconut syrup. Glad you had a great trip. Thanks for bringing us back a souvenir!
Hi Linda. Interesting to see a bit of a different take on a favorite. Aloha! :) Rated
This sounds delicious (my kids love King's Hawaiian bread), and I'm envious of your Hawaiian vacation!
Everything looks so scrumptious. Glad you had a great time.
I am glad you shared this tasty treat from the islands and more. You have a great talent for sharing the tastiest treats on earth into tales of wanted food stuff stuffs.
mmm mmmm mmmmm! that citrus zest in the otherwise french toast-like recipe is a nice touch and must try. your husband is quite the guy to wake up to. to sorta answer your question: my first wish would be to have a first morning in hawaii. I'd let the final morning take care of itself!
Malasadas! Love them so much. The French Toast is a new inspiration. I have had them on the North Shore and in Honolulu. But I have not had them at Tex's. I will now send my son to investigate immediately. Wonderful as usual. I love your posts.
They look like jelly filled donuts, Linda. Yummy.

You and hub are fortunate in having each other. A rare couple!
Hawaiian sweet bread... will have to look it up. Your "Hawaiian Toast" looks fab. :)
I have never tried coconut milk. Your trip brings back fond memories for me and your recipe looks divine!
Yum, Linda, and double yum! this is a fantastic adaptation of malasadas! Last chance to say bonne chance!
I love King's Hawaiian bread -- I hadn't ever thought to make something like this with it! Ingenious!
I'm a Honolulu native (lived there from 1968-1996) and LOVE this post.

I just arrived from a short trip home last night, actually. This post just maked me want to get back on the plane. :)
Yummy...sounds like your husband is just as much of a foodie as you are, Linda! :)
If my Neurology course ever lets up, I am going to try making the sweet bread french toast with coconut syrup. Hope you enjoyed yourself thoroughly! Rated.