Sunday, August 18, 2013

sprouted kitchen's coconut loaf

Sunday, August 18, 2013

We recently returned from a very busy, very HOT few days in Texas and I decided to take the kitchen by storm. Somehow, there is nothing more motivating than having been away from the comfort and familiarity of one's own kitchen.  I made several meals based on what I had in my pantry and freezer alone, than got totally on top of the grocery shopping, so much so that I won't need to return for at least another week.  The refrigerator is full to the brim (partially because of the ridiculous amounts of fruit that we go through for my little guy), and I have plenty of protein in the freezer.

Instead of resting on my proverbial laurels, I have decided to tackle a few baking recipes that have long been on my to-do list.  One of them is this coconut loaf, from Sara Forte's The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook.  I love everything I've made from her blog and cookbook, which are dedicated to clean eating and focused on whole foods.  One of the things I appreciate most about Sara's food is that it's remarkably accessible-I don't feel intimidated about the kinds of flours or grains I have on hand, and while I have been trying to experiment with a few new, more healthful products, Sara writes in such a way as to make one feel virtuous just for small efforts at change.

In my adult life, I've come to really love coconut, particularly as it's become relatively easy to find unsweetened and lowfat coconut products.  I'm not trying to be particularly saintly about my disdain for the sweetened version-it's really just too much for me, reminding me of cakes I encountered in childhood that were showered with the super-sweet flakes, when all I really wanted at the time was something chocolate.  I'm obsessed with these big flakes, which I use for one of my favorite dishes, and a can of lowfat coconut milk is a part of every curry recipe in my limited repertoire.  I love the inherent creaminess of coconut, which is somehow exotic and homey all at once.

From the moment I came across the coconut loaf recipe in Sara's book, I knew it needed to be tried.  I love having a mildly sweet loaf of bread around, something like a dessert but also light enough for breakfast.  It turned out exactly like I hoped, delicious and just barely sweet (even with the light powdered sugar glaze).  We ate it in the morning and at snack time, when little A joyfully begged for "more coconut cake!" I only wish that I had made it for a specific occasion and could have shared it with more people. I'm pretty sure they would have thanked me.

Coconut Loaf, adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen, by Sara Forte

1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted, plus more for the pan
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup organic powdered sugar, or more as needed

*Note: Sara (of Sprouted Kitchen) is not the first cook/blogger that has recommended whole wheat pastry flour.  It's apparently quite a bit lighter and less coarse than whole wheat all-purpose flour.  I can attest that the loaf had a lovely light crumble, probably in no small part to the flour.  This was my first foray into coconut oil, and it was quite simple.  I just measured out what I needed and melted it in the microwave in a Pyrex mixing cup.

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease an 8 1/2 loaf pan with a thin coat of coconut oil.
2. Spread the shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until just golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Watch it carefully, as it can burn very quickly.  Set aside 1/2 cup for topping the loaf.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the toasted coconut and the turbinado sugar.  Sift in the flours, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir to combine.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs together, then whisk in 1 cup of the coconut milk, the coconut oil, and the vanilla.  Gently stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 45-50 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
4. While the loaf is cooling, combine 1/4 cup of the remaining coconut milk and the powdered sugar in the bowl and whisk until there are no lumps.  Add more sugar or coconut milk to taste, depending on the consistence you prefer (You won't use the whole can of coconut milk).  Pour the glaze over the cold cake and sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut on top.

-I just used the "sugar in the raw" I had on hand, which is pretty close to turbinado.  I didn't have a hard time finding unsweetened coconut, but if you do, Sara suggests scaling back the sugar by about 2 tablespoons.  She also notes that the bread can be made a day ahead and kept covered until serving.  It really gets a bit dry after two days, even tightly wrapped.

No comments: