Jamaican Dessert Recipes

Toto and Blue Drawers - two Jamaican dessert recipes that have stood the test of time.

These Jamaican desserts are associated with real, old-time Jamaica, the days of wood fires and kerosene lamps.

Blue Drawers is one of our more colourful (no pun intended) food names. It's also known as Tie-a-Leaf orDuckunoo.

Traditionally, Blue Drawers is made by wrapping cornmeal and other ingredients in a piece of banana leaf, and tying with a piece of banana bark before cooking.

The banana leaf gives a blue tinge to the final product, and the shape of the parcel resembles someof the more modest underwear on the market!

Now that aluminium foil is available, you can substitute a piece of foil and a bit of string for the banana parts. Of course, if you have a banana tree handy, it would be a lot more authentic and fun to use the banana leaf and bark.

If you decide to use the banana leaf, cut the leaf off the centre vein. Heat the leaf over an open flame to make it softer and easier to handle.

Toto (pronounced toeto) is a lot simpler - no trees of any sort involved! It's a heavy, delicious coconut cake.

I hope you enjoy these traditional Jamaican dessert recipes.

Blue Drawers

2 cups cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup grated coconut
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla

banana leaves/aluminium foil
banana bark/string

Mix all dry ingredients and grated coconut together. Add coconut milk and vanilla, and mix well.Place about 1/2 cup of mixture unto the banana leaf or foil. Fold up the sides to make a secure parcel.Tie with banana bark or string.

Drop into boiling water. There should be enough water to cover the parcels. Simmer for about an hour.

Remove banana leaves (and foil, of course) before eating.


1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups grated coconut
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 lb margarine or butter
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
grated rind of 1/2 lime
a few drops of browning

Cream butter and sugar.

Sift together flour, baking powder, cinammon and nutmeg in a deep bowl. Add lime rind and grated coconut and mix well, until coconut is evenly distributed through the mixture.

Add to creamed butter and sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla and browning. Add milk slowly, until mixture makes a fairly stiff dough.

Bake in a greased pan at 350F for 1/2 hour. Cut into squares or slices and serve.

Either of these Jamaican desserts will establish your reputation as a bonafide Jamaican cook. No one will dare question your knowledge of traditional Jamaican dishes! How many people do you think have any idea how to make blue drawers without a needle and thread?

If you're interested in Jamaican dessert recipes, you may also like to try
Jamaican Rum Cake (Fruit Cake) Recipe 
Jamaican Bread Pudding, Jamaican Banana Bread Recipes 
Jamaican Easter Bun Recipe 
Sweet Potato Pone 

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