Coconut buns were probably one of my favorite treats growing up. See, I used to live minutes away from the beach in Honduras and this was something very common to find anywhere in the city. There is an African community called Garifunas which is where this bread comes from.
I had the opportunity to see the process and let me tell you how amazing it was to see these women crafting these breads from scratch with such passion, getting dried coconuts right from the tree, extracting the milk and creating these fantastic treats that all locals know and love. The smell alone, makes it hard to resist. In New York, as you can imagine it’s hard to find coconuts so I used canned coconut milk. The flavor of coconut is not as strong as the original but they came out so good, I was very pleased with the result. I leave you with the recipe, enjoy them for breakfast or in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 cup coconut milk, a little warm
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoons salt
Egg wash to brush the buns
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add all the ingredients and mix for five minutes (starting the mixer in low then increasing to medium), mix until the dough is smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with plastic film and let it ferment for an hour. Divide the dough in 12 pieces (about 80 g per pieces), shape each piece into a round, place it in a lightly oiled baking pan and brush it with the egg wash. Cover it and let the buns rise for 1 hour more. Half an hour before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 ˚F. Right before baking them, brush them again with egg wash. Bake them for 18-22 minutes or until golden. Let them cool but serve them just a little warm. Note: In the last batch I made, I added ½ cup shredded coconut (mix it for a minute at the end when you are making the dough with the mixer on low speed) for a stronger coconut flavor. Using milk coconut from actual coconuts will give you a stronger flavor.