(GISELLE BARKLEY / THE STATESMAN)

Trinidadian sweet bread is also called coconut sweet bread. It is one of the few Trinidadian desserts without alcohol. (GISELLE BARKLEY / THE STATESMAN)

There might be a few weeks until Christmas, but it is never too late to start thinking about breaking out old family recipes and baking.

Baking Trinidadian sweet bread is an annual tradition in my family. Simply put, it is a moist type of bread packed with candied fruits and grated coconut.


Ingredients:

1 cup grated coconut (fresh)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ lb butter

1 tsp cinnamon spice

½ tsp grated nutmeg

1 packet of yeast

½ tsp baking powder

1 container of red glazed cherries

1 container of green glazed cherries

1 container of black raisins

1 container of candied orange peel

flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees so the oven can warm while you prepare the recipe.

For this recipe you will need to buy a whole brown coconut. The coconut is ripe if you hear the water moving inside the coconut when it is shaken.

First, add the grated coconut, cinnamon spice and grated nutmeg together. Then add the yeast and baking powder to the mix. You can mix all five of these ingredients at the same time but I find it easier to mix the ingredients in parts.

Then, add the raisins, candied orange peel and the red and green candied cherries to the mixture. Once the ingredients are mixed together, add the sugar, eggs and small amounts of flour and mix until you can roll the dough.

When the dough is ready, put it into a greased bread pan and place it into the oven for 45 minutes. Make sure you check the bread periodically to ensure it does not burn.

After the bread is done cooking take it out of the oven and let it stand before cutting.

Sweet bread is a great treat and it is not just a dessert.

Occasionally, I have had a slice for breakfast because a single slice is very filling.

I find that the sweet bread tastes better when it is warm. To reheat the sweet bread, you can put it in a toaster or toaster oven for a few seconds.

You can spread butter on it  to cut the sweetness or jams on the bread if you desire. Jam will amplify the sweetness but offer  a different texture to the bread.

Regardless, Trinidadian sweet bread is one of my favorite sweet treats during the winter months and it is great with a glass of milk.

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