One of my favorite quick breads is the coconut bread from bills, a restaurant in Sydney Australia. The bread has a dense and tender crumb, is very moist and has a great coconut flavor. I also like to use it as a jumping off point for other coconut bread recipes because I am a big fan of coconut in general. That bread is served as breakfast, and comes out toasted and topped with butter. This variation on that basic coconut bread is more of a dessert quick bread – although you could still certainly serve it alongside coffee for breakfast or brunch – because it has a ribbon of chocolate running though it that makes it a little sweeter than the original.
The coconut bread uses a generous amount of shredded coconut, which gives it a texture that is almost half way between a coconut macaroon and a pound cake. You can use either unsweetened or sweetened coconut in this recipe, although I generally use sweetened for a little extra sweetness in the finished bread. To boost the coconut flavor even more you can use coconut milk rather than plain milk in the batter. The bread is sweet and tender, with a great blend of chocolate, vanilla and coconut flavors in it. Like the plain version, it can be toasted, but I think that this one is best when simply sliced and served as-is.
The chocolate ribbon is made by adding melted chocolate to a small portion of the batter. Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate is the best choice for the marble layer, because milk chocolate will be a little bit too sweet and a very dark chocolate will have a flavor that is too dominant over the light coconut flavor of the rest of the bread. If you want to increase the chocolate factor even more, you can stir in some chocolate chips to either or both parts of the batter.
Marbled Coconut Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups shredded coconut (Sweetened or unsweetened)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk (lowfat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2-oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in sugar and coconut.
In a medium bowl or a large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla extract until well combined. Whisk in butter.
Pour butter mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and only a few streaks of flour remain. Transfer one cup of batter into a small bowl and stir in melted chocolate.
Pour half of the plain batter into prepared loaf pan, top with a layer of chocolate batter and then pour on remaining plain batter, spreading it into an even layer with a spatula.
Bake for about 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.