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Coconut Bread

I have a special connection to Australia. I get inspiration from the top Australian chefs and I’ve had clients that have called me Danya W-like Donna Hay- the food photography guru. (For those who don’t know about Donna Hay- check out her website at www.donnahay.com.au [1]).

The first time I came in contact with an Australian cookbook (from which the post on sticky date pudding was taken) was when my dear family from Sydney gave me Bill Granger’s (the Australian equivalent of Jamie Oliver) “Sydney Food” as a present.

That book turned out to be one of the most useful cookbooks in my kitchen, mostly when I want to make really special breakfasts. The photographs are amazing, the styling really clean, which is just my taste and the recipes are right on point. When I visited Sydney in 2005, the first thing I did was go to eat breakfast at Granger’s restaurant, called “Bill’s”.

This is the first recipe I’m sharing from his book, but definitely not the last. Bill calls this recipe Coconut Bread, but I think it’s really on the cusp between bread and cake. I usually make double the amount, slice, and freeze. That way I’m assured to have something nice and sweet next to my morning coffee. I highly recommend heating up a slice of this bread in the toaster oven or on a cast iron grill pan before serving- it definitely spruces up this bread- and if you want to go all out, spread some soft butter on each slice… yum.

Makes 8-10 servings

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour ,plus more for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups coconut flakes
¾ stick (3 oz.) butter, melted
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture. Gradually mix with dry ingredients, until just combined. Add melted butter, and stir until smooth. Do not overmix.
3. Oil and flour an 8 1/2-by-4-inch loaf pan. Pour batter into pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, remove bread from pan, and finish cooling on a rack.

Playing Around: Add one smashed ripe banana during step one.