"Remember the time I made this for you?" I asked Jeff as he licked the spatula. This was unfair of me. How can anyone be expected to remember the taste of a baked good he had eaten four and a half years ago, based on the raw batter alone?
Jeff had no idea.
"I had known you for twelve days. On the morning of January 3 [first day back at school after winter break, a.k.a. the most depressing day of the year--K], my car wouldn't start and needed lots of repairs. You volunteered to drive me to and from work for as long as it took, and to say thank you I made you coconut bread."
Jeff didn't remember that either. He also didn't remember it after tasting the finished product.
I guess it's that kind of baked good. But I'm telling you, he loved my coconut bread then, and he loved it when I made it again this week. Please note the torn-into nature of the top photo: this is clear evidence of greed. Why the long gap between loaf 1 and loaf 2? I don't know. It's near the front of a cookbook I keep around for a handful of stellar recipes, but it's older and I don't browse through it all that much. Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen, I guess you're that kind of cookbook.
Easy stuff, people. Mix dry things into wet things, pour into loaf pan, bake. And when you bake it, you'll see deep valleys form in its crust, and you will think to yourself, Why yes: I certainly am an accomplished baker. And the loaf is dense--a little goes a long way. We ate about half of it over the course of a couple of days, and then I cut the rest into manageable chunks and froze it.
Tyler Florence recommends that you top this with pineapple butter (8 oz can of drained, crushed pineapple plus two sticks of soft butter), and that's such a Tyler thing to do, isn't it? We didn't have enough butter, and anyway, we don't want to clog our arteries any--well, much--further. We did top it with T.F.'s peach and rosemary spoon fruit from the same book. I'll probably blog about that next.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated <--I kind of prefer this without the zest, but give it a try if you enjoy lemon in everything
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk <--Light coconut milk is fine
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, toasted <--I was lazy and didn't bother toasting it. In fact, I have never toasted it for this recipe. But go for it if you're feeling ambitious and want to impress that adorable man who's driving you to and from work everyday. I'm just saying that he will still ask you to marry him even if it's not toasted.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
In another large bowl, whisk together the melted butter with the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Pour in the coconut milk and whisk together.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold everything together with a spatula until you have a smooth batter. Gently fold in the shredded coconut until evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and set it on a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning.
Note from K: I always take this out at around 50-55 minutes because it totally smells and looks done to me, but the center-top comes out a little raw. But I don't really mind that. We like slightly underbaked goods in this house.
Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes or so; then when cool enough to handle, remove the coconut bread to a cutting board and let it cool completely before slicing.
PS: It's good toasted and good with powdered sugar on top!