Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I spent far too many years of my young life unnecessarily overlooking, heck, even borderline disliking coconut. And this oversight of my youth, to me it’s just sad. Almost as sad as the amount of time I spent wearing drawstring waist cargo pants in the mid to late 1990s, but not quite that distressing. I have no earthly idea why it took me until my adult years (like the real adult years not 18-26) to come around to what is arguably now (alongside standbys peanut and chocolate) my favorite sweet flavor ever.
One of the best things about coconut to me is the power of its smell to trigger sense memory. One whiff of that warm nutty scent transports me to afternoons lathered up in sun tanning oil on Humarock beach with my girlfriends getting our leather on. This was, of course, before we all knew better and realized that in addition to potentially getting skin cancer we were also essentially ironing wrinkles into our future faces with this flagrant abuse of our skin. But regardless, the scent of coconut brings me to a deep state of relaxation and a time in my life when the only things I had to worry about was what to get on my turkey sub at lunch (why pickles and mayo of course) and what time my shift at Dribbles started.
So last week, when I happened across this recipe for a quick loaf of coconut bread, I promptly put the computer down, marched to my kitchen and whipped it together in about 10 minutes. Then, for the next hour, my whole house was progressively filled with the luxurious scent of warm, toasty coconut. It was much needed aromatherapy to the tenth degree on a day in late March where I had awoken at 5:30 a.m. to six inches of snow, which later turned to rain, then to hail, then to rain again. Inside the comfort of my kitchen, despite the disgusting weather outside, life was just beachy.
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
Approx. 1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Nonstick cooking spray or butter for pan
Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla and milk. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sugar and coconut and stir together to mix. Make a well in the center and pour the egg mixture in, stir together gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add the melted butter and stir together again until just smooth. Be careful not to overmix. This bread is fairly dense as is and if overmixed, methinks would turn into a total coconut brick.
Butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Spread batter in and bake until a skewer or knife inserted in comes out clean. Between 1 and 1 ¼ hours. Mine took an hour and ten minutes exactly. My oven runs just slightly cool. Set the timer for an hour and if it’s still wet in the middle check it every five minutes or so until cooked. Let cool before serving.
This bread is not overly sweet by any means and mine was even less so due to the fact that I used un-sweetened flaked coconut because that’s all I had on hand. The serving suggestion on SK, to serve toasted with a bit of butter and a dusting of powdered sugar is straight heaven. I ate it every day for breakfast last week with a small bowl of yogurt (for good measure). Just a little touch of salty butter and a light dusting of sweet sugar makes this already yummy bread a totally transcendent breakfast treat.
This bread would be a killer addition to a brunch spread or would make an amazing base for a coconut almond sundae. Top a warm slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, chopped almonds and hot fudge. Heck, you could even have that for breakfast. You won’t find anyone to judge you for doing that here.