Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Coconut Bread

I feel guilty for how much I've ignored my blog. My dad came to visit from overseas so I was busy spending time with him. My parents taught Jacques, my boyfriend, how to play mahjong (not the computer game) the real deal, using tiles engraved with various shapes and colours. A week later, I went to see Kings of Leon in concert with my girlfriends (featuring Gary Clark Jr., who is frequently on repeat on my Ipod) and spent the following days belting out this song.

I haven’t baked much lately, but I did cook for my family. I made lasagna and layered fresh pasta sheets with white sauce and meat sauce simmered with plenty of wine and topped with mozzarella so that after 30 minutes of oven time, the edges were crispy and just a couple of minutes away from being burnt. It was perfect. The insides were squidgy and the flavours melded together. What a difference fresh pasta makes! Lasagna-epiphany never felt so good!

On another night, I made pavlovas, something I've been meaning to make for a year or so. I folded in dark chocolate chunks into whipped egg whites and sugar and before serving, laid slices of fresh pears and generous scoops of ice cream. We all dived into them, quiet and eager to stuff our faces with crisp and pillowy goodness.

I also went to a Fabulicious lunch. It’s an event where wineries in the Niagara area get to show off their culinary talents with meals at a set price. My mom and Jacques arrived at Peller Estates an hour late but they were thankfully accommodating. 

There was arugula salad with quail, pan-fried salmon with curried butternut squash, wild boar panini, duck confit with truffled fettuccine carbonara and of course, the best part was when we shared our desserts: sticky toffee pudding with oatmeal ice cream, cranberry and apple crumble, and the best one of all: chocolate cream pie with macerated cherries. I wish I had worn my stretchy pants.

As if all that food wasn't enough, I still felt like eating something sweet. I wanted to make something simple, with the preparation done in less than 20 minutes. I had my eye on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen in a while and it looked doable for my lazy mood. You really can't go wrong with the mixture of toasted coconut, sugar, browned butter, just thinking about it makes my mouth water. This bread can be mixed by hand and comes together easily, I reduced the amount of sugar a little and it turned out fine. Like Deb describes, it has a drier crumb than banana bread and is just as good. You can add nuts, grate citrus fruit into the batter, add chocolate chips, whatever suits your fancy. I like it plain, toasted with Speculoos. 

Coconut Bread

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces (140 grams) sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or melted and browned, if desired
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan 

Heat oven to 350⁰F. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.

Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Recipe here!

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