Pumpkin Coconut Bread

I've had these two little pumpkins hanging around since early October. I only bought them because they looked cute at the store, and used them as photo props with Ian. Then, they sat outside as Halloween decoration on the porch. Then, they came inside to sit on the kitchen window sill for the next 2 months. I've never had pumpkins survive so long in my care.

Finally, I've mustered the motivation to put them to use. This extra-cold week was a good time to have the oven on to roast them, giving off additional heat to the room. Ian played in kitchen while I chopped and seeded the small pumpkins. I put them in the oven, and took Ian downstairs to play. Later, after he ate his dinner and played before bedtime, I puréed the pumpkin flesh and snacked on seeds. The good little sport tried some pumpkin, but one bite was enough, it was not for him. Nor is any vegetable, lately.

I ended up with 3-1/2 C of puree from the two little pumpkins. This means more than one experiment would be in order. The first cup went into gnocchi for dinner, the second into a quick-bread, today. I wanted some bread around for easy breakfast for me, I freaking hate breakfast food and have been bored lately. I am also trying anything to get fruits or vegetables into Ian, and he loves bread. The coconut I added with him in mind. It is not only for extra moisture, but very good fat for the growing boy. Coconut is one of the best foods you can feed a kid.

Quick bread is easy to throw together during Ian's nap. Now that we have made the transition to 1 nap a day, I get a long stretch. As soon as he fell asleep at noon, I started pulling ingredients out and stacking them on counter. You never know how long he'll sleep, so I worked in kind of a rush - slopping wet ingredients together, messily tossing the dry, folding them together and tossing random handfuls of pantry items in for texture. I dumped everything in a pan and threw it in the oven. Success!

Here we were at 30 minutes post-go-to-sleep-time - I typed a bunch of rough notes in the blogger. 45 minutes pgtst... I had at least another 45 to prioritize showering, cleaning up the baking mess, walking to dog, vacuuming, eating lunch. As if! I'd just be happy with shower, everything else is frosting.

And here I am at 2:45 and he still sleeps. Holy crap, this is the best day ever! I showered, folded laundry, called to rectify yet more insurance f-ups, enjoyed this f'ing amazing pumpkin bread, took pictures of it, and blogged about it! This is insane! I actually did all this, without interruption AND actually created something original from scratch that came out delicious.

Ok, so Ian woke up by 3... but he's being very good today. He ate an entire piece of the bread as fast as he could - including nuts and cranberries. It really was perfectly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.

Pumpkin Coconut Bread
yields 1 loaf

1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C sugar
1/2 C dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C unsweetened coconut milk 
1 C pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (not pie mix)

1/3 C finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 C pecans, chopped
1/3 C dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a loaf pan (8"x3" or 9"x4").

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, salt and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Add sugars, vanilla, coconut milk and pumpkin and stir together well. 

3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until combined but still lumpy. Fold in the coconut, nuts and cranberries. 

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes. Bread should be browned and a toothpick should insert easily and come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.


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