The moment you arrive in a new place is pure magic—you’re full of excitement and anticipation. Discovering something a little extra special can make it even more meaningful. As an avid traveler, starting a trip off with the right frame of mind is so important to be able to fully appreciate these new things. That can happen as easily as discovering something unexpected—say a note, a book, or a gift—that inspires and invigorates you while you travel, and I want to start doing some of that for others.
This idea of passing a gift along to the next traveler comes from an experience I had the first time I traveled alone. I was on a train in Czech Republic, the summer after college. Unexpected train trouble literally stopped us (well, the train) in our tracks. After a lot of sign language, I understood I needed to hop on a local bus to make my connection. I had thought it was just me and a bunch of locals rambling through the hills (a few chickens in cages as well).
However, there was also a fellow English-speaking traveler who had just spent months going from Europe to India and back again tracing the travels of his favorite beatnik writers. He spoke of all he saw, the people he met, and kept me captivated for the hours it took to drive across the country. And as soon as we pulled into the train station, he was off, but not before ripping out a section of the book he had. He shoved it into my hands and encouraged me to read it.
That section of book was a collection of short stories by writers like Ginsberg and Kerouac; it sparked my interest in travel. But, even more so, it left me inspired. This person came into my life for a brief moment, but left me with a memory that in part lead me to my current career.
Ever since that adventure en route to Prague, I’ve hung onto the idea of paying it forward when traveling. Of doing a little something to make someone’s travels better. We don’t know if we’re all going to inspire someone that much with each note, book or treat we leave, but it’s worth a try, right?
To me, providing the next traveler their own travel inspiration is in the little things. Say, in doing something simple but thoughtful, like leaving behind a token —a book, a recipe, a note—to be discovered. Or course, since I’m all about food inspired by where I travel, I’m partial to great books that have bookmarks tucked into them with a locally inspired recipe.
On my latest trip to Hawaii, I had incredible mango bread, but I wasn’t able to coax the baker into giving me the recipe. So, I spent days recreating it for you. I made it as close to the original as my memory permits, but added a little flavor and a little fun to create this Coconut Brown Butter Mango Bread. It’s a seriously easy recipe, but I made it that much more special by adding in coconut flakes, brown butter, and lots of fresh mango.
If I were back on that trip to Hawaii, we’d help inspire the next traveler by leaving behind a vintage book about Hawaii, the recipe for this delicious Coconut Brown Butter Mango Bread written on a bookmark, and a freshly baked loaf!
So, we’re challenging you on your next trip to do something good. A little can change it all. Check the recipe and get inspired to pay it forward!
plus a few slices for garnish
room temperature and lightly beaten
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Meanwhile, place 1 cup (2 sticks) of the LAND O LAKES® Unsalted Butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat, cook until melted and begins to brown and smell nutty (about 8 minutes). Immediately remove from heat, pour in a heatproof bowl, and set-aside until ready to use.
Wipe out the medium pan and return it to the stove over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the LAND O LAKES® Unsalted Butter along with the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, the diced mango, and the pinch of salt. Stir and cook until the mixture bubbles and the mango begins to soften. Stir in rum then cook until the alcohol smell is cooked off, (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and set-aside until ready to use.
Sift together the remaining salt, cake flour, cinnamon, and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the brown butter, remaining brown and granulated sugars, vanilla bean paste or extract, eggs, and 1 cup of coconut. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly moistened. Add the mango with the sauce and stir until just combined.
Divide the mixture among 3 well greased (6-inch by 2.5-inch) metal or paper loaf liners. Top each loaf with 3 slices of mango and a pinch of coconut. Bake until the loaves are well-risen, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside 10 minutes before serving.
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