Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monkey Donuts

Did you ever eat monkey bread when you were a kid? Or do you still? I can happily answer YES to both questions. Growing up, monkey bread was a regular occurance on weekend mornings or at the family cabin, quickly prepared using store-bought refrigerated tube biscuits. Nothing fancy, but definitely tasty. As a mom, I have been known to break out the tube biscuit version here and there, as the biscuits seem to last forever in the back of the fridge and the recipe goes together very quickly.
Since I've been baking most of our bread lately with the Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day method (I sound like I'm being paid to promote it... I'm not!), I always seem to have at least one kind of dough in the fridge at a time. A while back I was getting ready for bed and thought that it might be nice for the family to wake up the next morning to the sweet, cinnamony scent of monkey bread, or monkey donuts, as the boys call it here. With a full bucket of the master recipe in the fridge, the preparation was simple. Instead of four tubes of biscuits, I used half a recipe. After preparing the dough and placing everything in the pan, I put it in the fridge overnight. The following morning I took out the pan, let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes, then baked as usual. The results were amazing! Far superior to the biscuit version, said Ron. The boys were just happy to have a gooey breakfast.
You can do it too! Here's the recipe:
-1 batch of the master recipe (from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) or use 4 tubes of refrigerated biscuits.
-3/4 c. sugar
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 stick butter
-3/4 c. brown sugar
-Pecans (optional)
Carefully dust the dough with flour so it doesn't stick to your hands. With a scissors or by hand, tear the dough into small super-ball sized chunks. Drop the pieces into the cinnamon/sugar mixture, tossing to coat. Place the pieces into a greased pan (depending on quantity... a loaf pan, a bundt pan, or ??). If you like nuts, place the pecans in the bottom of the pan, so when it is served and flipped upside down, they will be on top. You can also add marischino cherries for an extra-fancy kid-pleasing touch.
If you want to refrigerate overnight, cover pan with foil. In the morning, remove the pan from the fridge and allow to rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes uncovered. For immediate use, melt the butter in a small pan on the stovetop and add the brown sugar, creating a liquidy-caramel. Pour over the top of the dough in the pan. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30-35 minutes, depending on the size of your batch. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert on a tray and serve.

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