These coconut buns bring about a nostalgic feeling during this time of year. Mom got this recipe from her neighbor, Shanti and she has been making it for us ever since. You see, around the holidays when we have family visiting from out of town, my mom would make a few trays of these buns. It signified unity, laughs, and togetherness. As they came out of the oven we would grab one and enjoy them hot. My dad loved to put his in a bowl of warm milk and eat it with a spoon after it soaked and sapped up the milk. I enjoyed mine with hot tea for breakfast or before bed. While my aunt Mala loved hers with cream soda. We'd all sit on the living room floor and chit chat, make jokes and just enjoy each others company.
Mom would even make another batch to parcel off for everyone so they could enjoy at the airport or on the plane as they headed back home. It's such a sweet memory to me. Life is different now, though. Many of my cousins have kids and aren't able to travel as easily. While others don't get as much time off from work. We all live in different locations across the country as well which tends to complicate travel. That's why recipes like this one are important to me. It evokes a positive and happy feeling and reminds me of an innocent and less stressful time in our lives.
Guyanese Coconut Buns
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- ½ lemon peel
- 2 ½ cups freshly grated coconut (can also be found in freezer aisle)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
- 1 tsp mixed essence or 1 tsp vanilla + ½ tsp almond extract
- ¾ cup evaporated milk
- Sift flour, baking powder, and spices. Rub butter into flour mixture.
- Add lemon peel, coconut, sugar to the mixture. Combine well.
- Add essence to milk. Pour milk into the mixture and mix to form a sticky dough. Add in raisins.
- Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
Be sure to purchase unsweetened freshly grated coconut. This is different than the sweetened coconut flakes found in the baking aisle of your grocery store. If you'd like to use sweetened coconut flakes, pulse in a food processor to make it fine.
The dough should be very thick and should stand on its own when dropped by the spoonful, similar to a chocolate chip cookie dough.