Holiday Treats and Sweets: Monkey Bread

Out of all of the holiday treats that Diane and I made, this Monkey Bread recipe was the most complicated, and the one we had to improvise with the most. I’m a firm believer in you work with what you’ve got in the kitchen, a strategy that usually works out well enough.

Here are the original instructions from Cooking Light, where I found the recipe last month. I halved the recipe because I knew that would be enough for what I needed, and as you’ll see, that ended up being a very good decision.

  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined. With mixer on, slowly add 1 cup milk, juice, honey, and 2 tablespoons butter; mix dough at medium speed 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Instead of doing this, we mixed up the dough in my bread machine. This allowed us to work on other treats while the yeast was making magic. I also don’t drink orange juice and didn’t have any on hand, so I juiced a clementine and we added a bit more milk to make up the liquid difference.
  2.  Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Combine 3 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. So we followed this part. You can’t go wrong with sugar and cinnamon.
  3.  Punch dough down; divide into 8 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll into an 8-inch rope. Cut each dough rope into 8 equal pieces, shaping each piece into a 1-inch ball. Dip each ball in milk mixture, turning to coat, and roll in sugar mixture. Layer balls in a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 7 dough ropes. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until almost doubled in size. Since we’d used the bread machine, we just did this at the end instead of letting it rise again. That meant the dough was a little tougher, but it still worked out.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Done.
  5. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of bread; invert onto plate. Combine powdered sugar, remaining milk, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until warm. Drizzle over bread. This is the part where we deviated the most. I intended to use a bundt pan, but realized the pan I had said “microwave only” on it mere seconds before I intended to put the bread in the oven. Thus, into a bread pan it went. At the end, we again improvised, using simply powdered sugar instead of their entire glaze, due to an absence in cream cheese.

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