A sort-of Monkey Bread

by Ms. Joy

slice of monkey bread
The end of a long week has passed. The children were both home from their respective schools because of all the snow that had fallen for the two days prior. At one point it was as if the clouds were through clumps of the snow at us for mocking our so far disparate winter. We mock no longer; in some places I’m locked in the snow up to my knees and the weather was so angry it did something to our building’s furnace to make it quit, to run away from its duties. Miss N and her minion were stuck inside the first day since the swirling snow made it difficult to see further than a few inches in front of you and it is plain mean to send small children into the fray. Thursday was a marginally calmer day, in fact the “snow day” was only necessary because the school and all the roads were still buried.

By the end of the week, with all its impromptu movie dates and sledding, cups of warm hot cocoa and the general excitement of 5 days whirring by in quick succession the children were tired and I was exhausted. Friday brings about our movie night. Each week someone gets to pick a movie and no matter if we like it – the phrase, “We love Bubs, that is why we watch Thomas”, is often repeated on his night; we snuggle up with a treat. Last night, however, we watched Coraline and while that little claymation firecracker fought off her foe I put the finishing touches on what may or may not be Monkey Bread.

I read a few different posts from food bloggers over the last couple of weeks that piqued my attention but I suppose I didn’t pay close enough attention because I only have a small inkling of the true nature of Monkey Bread. I was somewhat mystified that it did not appear to include bananas or peanut butter so that certainly could lend itself to my ignorance. Or, it could just be that I am just about incapable of following a recipe. It is my understanding that it is balls of yeast dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked together in one pan. Whatever the case may be, I am, in an off-hand way pleased with my creation. The whole wheat and almond flour give it a great texture but I’m not terribly impressed with the weight of it; I blame the whole wheat flour. A dollop of peanut butter icing makes it divine but because of the low sugar content and the whole wheat aspect I didn’t feel bad giving it to the kids the next morning as part of breakfast.

So, can it be? A treat that does double duty as a hearty bread? Perhaps we shouldn’t think about it too much and just enjoy the thing that may or may not be Monkey Bread.

I ground the brown sugar and hazelnuts together in the coffee grinder to get them to a very fine texture, particularly since the brown sugar was fairly lumpy. This crumb mix is to sprinkle in between the two layers of dough balls and once again on top. Feel free to leave it out, or even better, add vanilla to it. I was only partially impressed with it but I feel it should be included in the recipe for brevity’s sake.

The cocoa is not mixed in with any of the dry ingredients so as to achieve a marbling effect. If this is not something you want, feel free to mix it with the dry ingredients.

The Pre-bake Line: Monkey Bread

The Monkey Bread

one teaspoon demera sugar

¼ cup lukewarm water (100º)

one tablespoon active dry yeast (or one packet)

2 cups lukewarm water (100º)

2 cups almond flour

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

one tablespoon cocoa

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons ground hazelnuts

3-4 tablespoons cocoa

  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar in the ¼ cup of lukewarm water. Stir it around if it is being stubborn. Once dissolved, sprinkle the yeast on top and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Once the yeast is foamy, break it up with a fork and add the remaining 2 cups of water.
  3. With the mixer on “mix” (this is a slow setting) and the dough hook(s) attached, add the whole wheat flour one ½ cup at a time. At this point, add the almond flour.
  4. Check the consistency, if it looks too dry, add a thin drizzle of lukewarm water.
  5. Add both the cocoa and the all purpose flour.
  6. Once the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl and into a ball,transfer to a floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes.
  7. Place in a greased bowl and turn to coat, leave to rest in a warm place until doubled in size which should be about an hour to an hour and a half.
  8. Remove from bowl to a lightly floured surface and pinch off a small piece and cut with a serrated knife. Shape into a ball, dip the top into cocoa and place clean side down (that without cocoa) into a high-sided, oven proof dish that has been greased. Cover the bottom and sprinkle with the brown sugar and hazelnut mix. Prepare another layer using the same process. Finish with a sprinkling of the brown sugar hazelnut mix.
  9. Leave to rise while the oven heats to 375º. Bake for 45 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when you tap on the top, to double-check the inside I highly suggest gently pulling one piece up a bit.

Serve with peanut butter icing. Enjoy

Peanut Butter Icing

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

3-4 cups icing sugar

one teaspoon vanilla

2-3 tablespoons boiling water (optional)

In a bowl combine the first three ingredients and mix into a smooth icing. If the icing begins to seize because it is too dry (common with peanut butter icing), add a drizzle of the boiling water to help it work it’s self out.

Perfect for the monkey bread!

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