Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monkey Bread and other musings

I've come across recipes for monkey bread a million times before. And it always looks so good in photos. And those who know me well know I have the biggest sweet tooth of perhaps anyone I know (which works to my detriment, of course, in the way of cavities...) Well anyway, today I was feeling a bit down, and all I wanted was some buttery, bready, sweet comfort to sink my teeth into to make me smile.
I consulted my favorite virtual wholesome cooks and bakers and settled on a happy medium in ingredient and style between Smitten Kitchen and the Pioneer Woman. 'Cuz you know, as much as I like to study, cook, preserve, eat, buy, and talk about wholesome local, seasonal veggies and fruits, I also fully embrace fats and sugars as essential parts of life that must be celebrated at times!
So here's to celebrating. Hello to delicious whole wheat monkey bread (didn't you just know I had to draw the line somewhere!). See below, let mouth water, and get on with the baking!
Here's what you need:
3 T butter, melted
1 c whole milk (I use Ronnybrook creamline)
1/4 c water
1 packet yeast
4 table spoons sugar
3 c whole wheat flour
pinch salt
Mix butter, milk, water, yeast, sugar in bowl. Place flour and salt in separate large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Pour wet ingredients in, and mix until you can no longer mix with a wooden spoon. Dump out onto floured surface and knead, 10-15 min, until dough is elasticky (I made up this adjective because whole wheat flour does not become smooth and elastic as does its white counterpart. That is ok. Just stop after 15 minutes.) Put kneaded dough into lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic, allow to rise 1-2 hrs, until doubled in size. Pat dough into rectangle and cut into 6 strips one way, 8 another, so that you have 48 little pieces of dough. Ball each individually and then put the balls in a large bowl. Then:

1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
3 T freshly ground (or not) cinnamon
Pour melted butter over the pieces of dough. Put sugar and cinnamon into a plastic bag. Toss buttered dough pieces into plastic bag, trying to separate into individual pieces that will coat with the cinsugar.
Then put into a buttered cake pan (or bundt- I just didn't have one). Cover with plastic wrap again and let rise 45 minutes in a warm place. Uncover, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. While it is baking, make glaze by whisking:

1/2 stick butter, melted
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c maple syrup (optional)

When monkey bread is done, put a plate over the pan and invert it to get the monkey bread out. Pour glaze on top. Serve warm. OMG OMG OMG!

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