So in an attempt to make the most of my money, I’ve been making an effort to cook out of my batrillion cookbooks more. Between all the blogs I read, forums I frequent, and shiny magazine covers in the checkout line, I tend to forget about my poor little bound beauties. And way back in the day, before I discovered Amazon, I was spending upward of 30 bucks of my hard earned babysitting money on them. (Well, what wasn’t being spent on Popov and Natty Light, anyway.) My early cookbook collection consists of a lot of celebrity chefs, though I at least had a modicum of sense and was able to bypass the fluff from the Food Network. As a result, I’ve got a lot of Giada, Ina, and Tyler on my shelves. (Who am I kidding, more like stacked in piles next to my bed/reading char. And that reading chair has been a seating area for laundry for far more time than my cute lil tush has ever occupied it. But I digress.) I’ve also got some Rachael Ray, but I swear it was a gift! (Actually, I don’t dislike her, but that’s a story for a different day.)
Anyyyyway, Tyler Florence’s first book, Real Kitchen, has been a heavy hitter in my kitchen for years. While I continue to make the Arroz con Pollo today, I forgot all about the Coconut Bread in it. Reading the intro for what was probably the two dozenth time, I realize that the restaurant it comes from, bills, actually belongs to Australian celebrity-chef Bill Granger. 16 and just starting to get into food at the time, I had no idea.
It’s funny how much you learn without realizing it.
So I remember specifically making this bread once before, but never repeating it. I don’t remember it being horrible, so I decided it deserved an encore. And boy am I glad I did.
I think what my problem with it before was my lack of measuring skills. Back in the day, I pretty much just used to estimate how much baking soda and/or powder I needed. The cupboard with all the baking stuff was down low, and I was (am) lazy and couldn’t be bothered to dig around and find the correct measuring spoon. This bread calls for a full tablespoon of baking powder, and knowing how I used to bake, I probably used about a teaspoon the first time around. This is a large loaf–it bakes in a 9×5 pan, rather than the usual 8×4. A teaspoon certainly didn’t cut it. I also most likely skipped the lemon zest. Don’t.
Once again, it’s funny how much you learn without realizing it.
Second Time ‘Round Coconut Bread
adapted from Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted*
Place a cookie sheet on a rack in the middle of the oven while it preheats to 375. Butter and flour the insides of a 9×5″ loaf pan.
Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla, zest, and coconut milk. Stir in the shredded coconut. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and carefully fold everything together with a spatula. Pour batter into the prepared pan, slide into the oven onto the cookie sheet. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.
*Tyler says you can toast the coconut on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes in an oven at 350. I will burn it that way. I prefer to do my in a dry skillet over medium heat simply because if I can’t see it out on the stove top, I will forget about it. But not everyone is as scatterbrained as I am. (Or rather, not everyone has a toddler at their heels when in the kitchen.)