Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Have You Tried?...Cinnamon Caramel Monkey Bread

After hearing about the amazing flavors of one of our newest mixes, Cinnamon Caramel Monkey Bread, I decided to test it at home. And I must say, it is fantastic.

Since this mix requires using yeast, you must allow enough time for the dough to rise to give it a nice texture. If you are planning to bake this bread as a breakfast treat, you should probably, either make it the night before and warm it up in the oven in the morning, or save it for brunch or dessert. Overall this Monkey Bread mix took me about two and a half hours to three hours to create but - I am being totally honest here - it was completely worth it.

The first thing you have to do is purchase our Stonewall Kitchen Cinnamon Caramel Monkey Bread Mix which can be found at any of our nine East Coast Company Stores or on our website here.

On the back of the box there is a list of the ingredients you will need as well as step-by-step directions. Here is a combined list of ingredients you should grab from the store or your pantry before you start.

Unsalted butter (2 sticks)
Egg (you will only need 1)
Half & Half (for the caramel, milk works just fine as well)

You will find three packets inside the box; the bread mix, the cinnamon sugar mix, and a packet of yeast.

To start we will make the bread. You will need:

¼ cup lukewarm water
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ cup lukewarm milk

Pour the yeast it into a small bowl of lukewarm water. Stir to combine, set aside and let stand for 5 minutes.

Pour the bread mix into a stand mixer bowl (or a regular mixing bowl if you do not have a stand mixer). A waft of nutmeg will dazzle your senses as the mix falls into the bowl. The scent reminded me of a fresh glass of egg nog.

Add the yeast/water mixture, egg, melted butter and lukewarm milk to the bread mix.

Take a spoon and mix by hand to combine the ingredients.

Attach a dough hook to your mixer and knead on medium speed until the dough forms into a ball, then continue for 3 more minutes. However, if you are like me and do not own a stand mixer, you can knead by hand for about ten minutes.

Now place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a draft- free warm place for an hour. I keep my apartment pretty chilly so I turned my oven on to its lowest setting (170°F) let it warm up, then turned it off and let my dough set for an hour. It really helps because yeast needs to be warm (about 100°F to activate) so you can achieve perfect textured breads and pastries.

After putting your dough away to set, grease and flour a 10" Bundt pan. If you do not own a bundt pan (like me) you can get a pack of two aluminum ones at your local supermarket.

After about an hour it is onto the coating! For this part of the recipe you only need:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Pour ¼ cup of the cinnamon sugar topping into a small bowl. Take your dough and roll it out onto a lightly floured board, into a ½" round.

Next cut your dough into quarters.

Take each quarter and roll it into a tube shape, about 1" in diameter. Then cut each into twelve equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball and coat in the cinnamon sugar you set aside.

After coating each piece layer them into the Bundt pan.

Then slowly pour the cooled, melted butter over the dough balls, so each one is covered. Follow this by placing the Bundt pan back into that warm, draft free space for an hour or until the balls have doubled in size.

Now for the oozy, gooey, sticky, luscious, yummy, cinnamon caramel. For this you will need:

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp. water
¼ cup milk or half & half

To start preheat your oven to 350°F. Then place the remaining cinnamon sugar into a small sauce pan. Add butter and water. Cook over medium heat until butter and dry mix melt together.

Now add the milk or half & half and continue to heat until the mixture boils.

Remove from heat and slowly pour over the cinnamon caramel over the monkey bread. If you have extra caramel put it into a container and put it in your fridge. It tastes fabulous warm over vanilla ice cream.

Time to bake! Place your bundt pan into the oven and bake for 30-33 minutes. If you are using a aluminum bundt pan I would highly recommend putting a cake pan or tray below it just to support the pan.

After baking, remove and let bread sit in pan for five minutes.

After five minutes remove bread from pan and flip onto a plate or serving platter. Beware though, there is hot melting, lovely caramel at the bottom of the pan, so as you are removing the monkey bread make sure all the caramel is out of the bottom. It is after all, what makes it a monkey bread.

There it is, your beautifully delicious Monkey Bread. I would let it sit for another five minutes before you dig in since the interior will still be hot.

Cinnamon sugar fills each bite, followed by a surge of nutmeg and other spices. The texture is fluffy but chewy with a nice caramel accent. And speaking of the caramel, you would think with the amount drizzled onto the bread, it would be overpowering, but it is not. It is the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. I would recommend this mix for your Easter or Mother's Day brunch.

Until next time. Enjoy!

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