Monkey bread

20121204-130813.jpgSo I’m supposed to be frazzled. Sleepless nights, crying jags that never end, irritation with an unhelpful spouse. That’s what being a new mother is all about, right? Somehow, I’m not frazzled, I’m getting more sleep then I ever did while pregnant, and my husband is the most amazing partner and father I could hope for. Truthfully, I am happier then I have ever been before, and wonder how I waited so long to do this. Sometimes I wonder if my expectations are different, if learning to be a mother in the hospital helped, and changed how I look at this. Would it feel this easy, this natural if we had a normal birth and a healthy baby? Does the day to day seem so simple to me only because we started out in such a terrifying place? Or am I just blessed with an easy babe and the mothering gene?

Don’t misunderstand, I still sometimes skip lunch, my house is messier then I prefer to keep it, my cooking and baking are neglected, as are my dogs. But it’s not because I’m worn down. I would rather spend the few nap time hours snuggling this girl then accomplishing tasks most days. She’s growing insanely fast and I want to be as present as possible for every moment.

20121204-132204.jpgThere are those wonderful times in the evening, where even though she’s fussy, my husband takes her and I spend a little time with some butter, sugar and my oven. Last night I decided to make monkey bread. It’s like making cinnamon rolls only much less precise. Balls of dough get coated in buttery cinnamon goodness, lumped together and baked. It’s so quick and easy, and will serve as my breakfast for the remainder of the week.

Monkey bread is perfect in its simplicity. Little nuggets of yeasty dough, meant to be pulled apart and coat your hands with sticky cinnamon sugar. I was too impatient to wait for rising so I used my quick cook pizza dough recipe for the dough. To make these even more magical, allow the dough to rise for 2 hours after mixing, and another hour after assembling the bread. The addition of maple syrup to the butter could also be quite fantastic. I would suggest a quarter cup.


Monkey Bread


For the dough:

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the filling:

4 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter

For the icing:

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk


1. Make the dough: Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add yeast and sugar to water, let sit for 10 minutes until yeast is foamy. Add vegetable oil. Using a dough hook, pour yeast mixture into flour and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Dough should pull away from the sides and be slightly sticky. Here’s where you decide if you’re impatient and either let the dough rise for 2 hours or begin working with it. With your hands flatten the dough to about a half inch thick. With a serrated knife cut the dough into approximately 1 inch balls.

2. Make the filling: Melt the butter, if you’re adding maple syrup do it here. Combine sugars and cinnamon. Assemble your loafs. I used a mini loaf pan with 8 loafs. You could also use a muffin tin, or a regular loaf pan and just adjust the baking time. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease your pan. Dip the dough nuggets in the butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar. Divide evenly in pan. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and deep golden.

3. Make the icing: Combine confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk. Drizzle over loaves.

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