I’m a little amazed that this is my first coconut recipe on the blog, but it’s a fitting first because it’s a tried and true favorite. Coconut is so, well, special. There’s no other flavor like it, and it ramps up everything that it’s in. Some of my favorites include: coconut curry, coconut gelato, pina coladas, and coconut macaroons. I even love that weird fake coconut scent a la tanning lotion from 9th grade. I love putting coconut oil in my hair even though I’m not convinced it’s even doing anything other than staining my leather couch when my pigeon brain forgets that I’m doing a coconut oil treatment. I love eating fresh coconut, and speaking of, how much better does coconut anything taste when you’re on the beach? Take me there!
This coconut bread from Smitten Kitchen is no exception to the rule. It is hearty and dense with great flavor and texture from the sweet coconut—I love the way the outside edge crisps up but the inside stays soft. This bread also holds up remarkably well for a few days after baking, especially if you toast it and butter it the way I prefer to eat it. It could just as easily pass for both breakfast and dessert, which is one of my favorite things about sweet bread recipes. I know I should choose Greek yogurt with acai berries and chia seeds and flax, but I don’t. I choose you, coconut bread, toasted and smeared with soft honey butter, and a big mug of hot coffee. Best part of the day, for sure.
Mostly unchanged from Smitten Kitchen
Butter and flour, or nonstick spray for baking pan
1¼ cups milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups sweetened coconut flakes
6 T unsalted butter, melted
9x5 inch loaf pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (or spray with nonstick spray) a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir again to mix. Make a well in the center of the bowl by pushing all the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a sort of hole in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the well. Then fold all ingredients together until just combined—you really do not want to overmix because that’s what creates a tougher end result. Add butter, and stir until just smooth, again being careful not to overwork it.
Using a spatula, pour/scrape batter into loaf pan and spread to make an even layer. Place on center rack in oven and bake for roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes, checking it first at 1 hour by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf. When the toothpick just comes out cleanly. Let bread cool in the pan for a couple minutes, and then invert it onto a cooling rack. You can then serve it warm, or let it cool completely.
I love it toasted with honey butter, which is just honey and room temperature salted butter mixed together (I use about 1 tsp of honey to 2 T of butter—but you can use any ratio you like).