Saturday, May 1, 2010

All to Myself

If I want to have something tasty form my kitchen all to myself, I just have to put coconut in it. Around here, stirring the flaky white stuff is equivalent to the childish action of spitting on food to claim it as your own. With a few exceptions (known as safety coconut) Harry won’t eat it, and that’s that.

And so, when there was part of a can of coconut milk left over from making Pasta with Cauliflower and Cashew Sauce (a safety coconut recipe), I jumped at the opportunity to combine it with some of the secret stash of sweetened flaked coconut I keep in the freezer and make something I wouldn’t have to share. I had a relatively calorie-light muffin recipe with coconut milk and dried cranberries that I had fattened up by adding flaked coconut. I thought I’d try it with frozen cranberries in place of the dried, since I had two packages in the freezer from last fall. I also decided to test the connection between muffins and quick bread loaves by baking the batter in a loaf pan instead of individual muffin cups.

It all worked well and deliciously. The juicy tartness of the cranberries contrasts nicely with the sweet and chewy coconut flakes that fill every bite and the soft, almost cake-like crumb, which is fragrant with coconut milk. The slices are a bit delicate, at least more delicate than a muffin, but I don’t care. No one’s going to see me eat them alongside a nice cup of cocoa (with perhaps a dash of adult beverage for medicinal purposes) on an evening that I have all to myself.

Coconut Cranberry Quick Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light January/February 2005

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup light coconut milk
1 tsp grated lemon rind
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw if frozen)
1 cup coconut

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk until well combined.

2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg with a whisk. Whisk in the melted butter, then add the coconut milk, lemon zest and vanilla and whisk until well combined

3. Make an indentation in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the egg mixture and stir until just moist. Gently stir in the cranberries and coconut.

3. Oil an 8-inch bread pan or spray it well with cooking spray. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake at 400 F for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out without any wet batter clinging to it. Remove bread from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. The bread may stick where cranberries have oozed out and baked to the side. Run a knife along these areas before attempting to remove the bread from the pan.

Makes 1 8-inch loaf

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