Lucky Comestible 4 (2): Cuckoo for Coconut (GF Mini Loaves or Cupcakes)

October 9, 2008


[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I’ll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I’ve recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days.  For this fourth entry, I’m focusing on Coconut. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the second entry on coconut.]

First:  thank you all, most sincerely, for all your kind words regarding The Girls and the Ordeal of the Raisins. Both dogs are fine (my bank account, on the other hand, will suffer for some time–but that’s my penance, I reckon).  And I’m also glad that the post seems to have provided some new information to some of you, who may not have been aware that raisins are often poisonous to the canines in our lives. 

In fact, I was so rattled the other day that I neglected to mention something really great:  I won a contest!  And this time, folks, I truly felt the love! The eloquent, clever and enormously crafty Shellyfish of Musings from the Fishbowl recently conducted a contest to win one of her handcrafted felt change purses, and my comment was (randomly) chosen to win!  Whoo-hoo!  I am utterly thrilled and cannot wait to receive my prize in the mail.  I will, of course, blog all about it when it arrives. 🙂 Thanks, Shellyfish!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled Lucky Comestible!

You know how some people are just so eccentric, so outré, so larger-than-life that they may as well be a caricature of themselves? Think Jack Palance at the Oscars.  Think Richard Simmons.  Think my mother’s old friend Ms. Gabor.

Say what? 

Ms. Gabor (a pseudonym, bien sûr) was one of my mother’s regular Mah Jong ladies who came to our house Thursday afternoons. Long before the era of elective plastic surgery, Ms. G managed to appear entirely plastic most of the time, all on her own. Likely in her 50s back then, she balanced under a towering, shellacked and elaborately braided beehive hairdo, pinned in place with a network of rhinestone-studded hair clips. She wore eyeliner too heavy, décolletage too revealing, and an attitude far too abrasive.  But what I remember most about Ms. G was how she coped with summer.  Because in the summer, our house–lacking any air conditioning–was not just hot; it was “feels-like-Vesuvius” hot; “the-smoke-detector-is-shrieking” hot; “someone-call-Denis-Leary-to-Rescue-Me” hot. 

On those blistering summer days when my mom and her friends played “Maj,” we kids would return home from school to a tableau of four women, reposing in a haze of smoke (everyone except my mom smoked cigarettes) and humidity, most of them dripping sweat and fanning themselves with handkerchiefs or napkins. And Ms. G, elbows on the table, calmly studying her tiles and wearing a black bra.  Yes, you read that correctly; it was not her black bra as seen through a sheer blouse; no, no; it was her black bra as seen on her torso because she had taken off her blouse and placed it on the back of her chair

Dahlink, vould you be so kind as to get me a glass of soda?” she’d inquire in her heavy Hungarian accent, as soon as I entered the room.  Then I’d be forced to march to the fridge, pour the club soda, and hand her the glass while pretending that I didn’t notice she was wearing nothing more than a bra!  Seeing this vision on a weekly basis may have, I suspect, traumatized me just as much as did seeing The Girls eating raisins the other day.

Well, my mother regularly made a dessert for the ladies that was her one coconut-based specialty.  She called it “Roly Poly,” and it was basically a layer of oily, dense dough rolled out to a rectangle, topped with (in this order) a thick slather of strawberry jam; sprinkles of toasted walnuts; a smattering of raisins; randomly scattered chunks of chopped Turkish Delight, and a final light shower of shredded coconut.  The entire monstrocity was rolled up jelly-roll style, sliced into pinwheels and baked.  It’s possible that the Turkish Delight, with its vaguely floral, vaguely alcoholic smell, is what pushed the roly poly over the edge from the “yucky parental dessert” category to the “makes me want to vomit” category, but I have an inkling it was more closely connected to the image of Ms. G munching mindlessly on a slice, crumbs floating gently into the cleavage on her black lace bra.

I did, eventually, get over my coconut aversion, once I met the HH and found he adored the stuff. But the inspiration for today’s recipe was neither Roly Poly nor the HH; it was two of the recipe testers for my upcoming cookbook. (By the way, have I mentioned lately that I ADORE my cookbook testers??)

Since these two women are gluten intolerant, I assumed they’d attempt the GF recipes exclusively (about 30% of the recipes will be gluten free).  What I’ve found, instead, is that these two have willingly adapted some of the original recipes to render them gluten-free!  I’ve been amazed at and inspired by their ingenuity, and decided I had to dive in and finally start creating more gluten-free goods myself. This coconut series seemed the perfect place to start out; I already had a recipe in mind that met my NAG requirements, so converting it to gluten-free was the next logical step.

Originally given to me by a friend in university, this recipe was titled, simply, “Coconut Loaf,” and called for eggs, butter, white sugar and white flour.  Using gluten-free flours and finally trying out some xanthan gum as a binder, I came up with this combination.  I’m happy to say that the resultant loaves were just as light as–if not lighter than–the original, with a tender, delicate crumb and ethereal coconut flavor. The HH pronounced this a hit as he bit into his second loaf, remarking, “The texture is so light, it reminds me of a Twinkie.”  (To the HH, this is the highest praise one can confer on a cake.)

I, too, was very pleased with the result, and would certainly make these again, gluten free or not. Even if you are able to eat gluten, you might want to try these out as an alternative to your usual cupcakes; the preponderance of legume flour (from the beans and chickpeas) makes these an abundant source of both protein and fiber, more so than most other baked goods. I’m sure the Maj ladies would approve.

I’m also contributing this post to the Living With Food Allergies blog carnival that takes place every month and is hosted by Rational Jenn.

Finally, if you’ve recently posted any coconut recipes you’d like me to share, just leave the link here in the comments or send it via email, and I’ll add it to the list below!

Gluten Free Coconut Mini Loaves or Cupcakes


These are light and not too sweet, with a pronounced coconut flavor.  For fancier loaves, drizzle with your favorite glaze.




25 Responses to “Lucky Comestible 4 (2): Cuckoo for Coconut (GF Mini Loaves or Cupcakes)”

  1. bee Says:

    another brilliant recipe. will get some xanthan gum and be sure to take my shirt off when i eat. it 😀

  2. Celine Says:


  3. Yum yum yum! Send me some! (Gosh, that rhymes!)

  4. Barbara Says:

    i think i am in coconut heaven…
    thank you for this delicious post…

  5. VeggieGirl Says:

    Hooray for The Girls being okay, winning Shel’s contest, and GLUTEN-FREE COCONUT GOODNESS!!! 😀

  6. aTxVegn Says:

    Not only am I gluten free, but I am crazy for coconut. Thank you for this recipe!

  7. shellyfish Says:

    I just love your creative non-fiction (this is how I just explained it to M. Fish who once again caught me laughing out loud at the image of Zaza in her black bra, cigarette dangling from her mouth, crumbs dusting her clevage – perfect! And I loved the Palance & Simmions references – very clear images indeed!
    I love that you felt the love – my psychic faxes are reaching southern Ontario!

  8. shellyfish Says:

    I just love your creative non-fiction -this is how I just explained it to M. Fish who once again caught me laughing out loud at the image of Zaza in her black bra, cigarette dangling from her mouth, crumbs dusting her clevage – perfect! And I loved the Palance & Simmions references – very clear images indeed!
    I love that you felt the love – my psychic faxes are reaching southern Ontario!

  9. Vegetation Says:

    Mmmm what else can I say but YUM!

  10. holler Says:

    Those look tasty and I bet the house smelled divine, while they were cooking!

    What a trauma indeed! Although I do enjoy mah jong. I will have some new and unwanted images stuck in my brain as I listen to the click of the tiles now! Aarrrgh!

    Glad the girls are ok! Give them a hug from me 🙂

  11. Ricki Says:

    I’m so sorry! Of course I only thought of my own trauma, not that of my readers–oops!

  12. Hi Ricki–
    these look totally delish, thanks for a gf option.
    I have a few coconut recipes up, which I’ll email you.

  13. Johanna Says:

    the image of Mrs G eating roly poly is indeed traumatic but am glad the HH has rescued you from your coconut aversion so you could enjoy this far superior coconut loaf – amd also pleased to hear that you have some gluten free recipes in your cookbook – and your cookbook testers sound great!

  14. ttfn300 Says:

    ummm, thanks for that visual of Mrs. G… ew. And great testers you have 🙂 That coconut loaf looks great!

  15. Ugggh…roly poly sounds like something from a 60’s home economics book.

    I am curious about your statement about plagiarizing. Have you found your content on other sites?

  16. Ricki Says:

    Unfortunately, yes, I’ve found my content elsewhere without attribution. Sometimes, I’ve even seen an entire blog post, complete with photos, with another author’s name at the top–and the blog has disallowed comments, so I can’t even complain. Apparently, this is a huge issue in the world of blogging, and I’m just not tech-savvy enough at present to ensure that these entries aren’t stolen. I took my cue from Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen and added the disclaimer at the end.

  17. Hmmm. Makes me want to Google some of my content.

    I forget sometimes that bloggers aren’t all good peeps.

  18. usha Says:

    Looks wonderful 🙂

  19. Tofufreak Says:

    Hooray for the dogs being okay!

    those coconut loaves look so scrumptious!!!! very exciting 😀

  20. giz Says:

    Oh Rikki – your mom and her maj game with the heavy smoke and the Ms. G and my parents with the “check to the aces”, billowing smoke in the basement, roly poly on the table. These memories come from the anals of “give me the shivers and I don’t want to go there again”. I did have to laugh at the visual. I could have fixed Ms. G up with the one who had the smelly feet at my parents’ place – a match made in heaven.

  21. bex Says:

    the mini loaves!
    glad the dogs are fine.

  22. This is just perfect! I try my best to eat only whole wheat bread but my taste buds are beginning to give me signs that they want something different.

    This coconut loaves or cupcakes recipe could certainly sprinkle some much needed variety in my “bread diet.”

    Your Drugstore in a Bottle

  23. Lizzie Says:

    Gluten-free coconut loaves!!! You rock Ricki 🙂 That made my day.

  24. […] “These are light with a cakelike texture and subtle coconut flavor. They’d be great frosted as cupcakes!” says Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs of her gluten-free coconut treat. If you want the recipe (and to read a funny story from Ricki’s childhood!), go read Lucky Comestible 4 (2): Cuckoo for Coconut (GF Mini Loaves or Cupcakes) […]

  25. Hetta Says:

    I tried making these as cupcakes. I frosted them with vanilla frosting from Cherrybrook Kitchen (www.cherrybrookkitchen) and they were yummy. Even my finicky daughter approved.

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