Monday, November 8, 2010

Monkey Bread and variations

I spied this recipe in the February/March 2010 edition of Taste of Home and knew I had to try it.  I've made it twice this week and it's been declared a new favorite by my kids.  The second time, I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour in place of all purpose flour, as well as adding cinnamon to the sugar the balls are dipped in, and I also diced up an apple and sprinkled it in with the nuts.  I liked the cinnamon and apple additions, but decided that the whole wheat was pretty noticeable.  I subscribe to the theory that if you're going to eat a treat, make it a serious treat.  I don't know that I'll do the whole wheat next time.

I served it at a party warm on a platter with tongs for people to grab chunks of the bread, and it was a big hit.  I suspect it would be good sliced and made in to french toast the second day (that is, if there's any left).  I did modify the recipe a little bit from the original, so I will post it how I made it.  The dough is pleasant to work with because of the butter - nice and rich and easy to knead.  It's kid friendly to make.  Mine enjoyed rolling the dough balls and dipping them in butter and sugar.  It's definitely not diet bread, so save this for a rainy day when you need a pick-me-up and don't mind a few extra calories.

Monkey Bread

2 t. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups warm 2% milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t. salt
5 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 t. vanilla

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 medium apple, peeled and diced (optional)
2/3 cup sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add the milk, butter, sugar, egg and salt and stir until well combined.  Stir in the flour one cup at a time until a dough ball starts to form, then generously dust with more flour and knead for 5-7 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  (I do not have a stand mixer, and therefore knead all of my dough by hand.  I sprinkle on 2-3 T. of flour at a time, work it in until the dough starts sticking to my hand, sprinkle some more, knead and repeat.)  Mist with cooking spray, flip over and mist the other side, then cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

As the dough is nearing double size, prepare your assembly ingredients.  Combine the caramel ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil.  Boil for three minutes then remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mist a 10 cup bundt pan with cooking spray and pour half of the caramel into the bottom.  Sprinkle with half of the nuts and apples.  Divide the dough into chunks the size of a golf ball and roll into balls.  Dip each ball in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar.  Place evenly around the bottom of the bundt pan.  Once you have laid down half the dough balls, drizzle with remaining caramel, sprinkle on remaining nuts and apples, then layer the rest of the dough balls.

Allow to rest for about 10-15 minutes, then bake for 35-40 minutes.  The top will be very golden.  I noticed that one of the batches I made I skimped a little on the baking time, and while the top was golden, the bottom was just barely cooked.  Err on the side of well done.  You may tent foil loosely over the top if it's browning too quickly.

Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.  Serve warm.

1 comment:

Tycksen Family said...

This looks yummy. We make something similar and call it a sugar plum ring...I like that it has whipped cream for the caramel...I will have to try that.