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As I’ve mentioned before, growing up we pretty much ate non-sugared cereal or bagels for breakfast. On weekends, my mom would sometimes make French toast or German pancakes with apples and cinnamon and sugar, but things like cinnamon rolls and monkey bread were never a breakfast food for us. Then, during high school, I got a job at a Mrs. Fields bakery called La Petite Boulangerie. I opened the store every weekend morning and was there while the baker made the cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. What a delicious smell.
And that was the beginning of my demise. That cinnamon roll is a weird shape? Guess we’ll have to eat it for breakfast. That sticky bun was a little too burnt? Save it to take home to my dad. My love of sticky cinnamon and sugar began.
This monkey bread is similar to a sticky bun, minus the nuts, with a glaze. Since it’s 64 pieces of dough in a Bundt pan, it’s easy to tear apart and eat with your fingers, and sticky and gooey just like it should be. If you’re planning on making this, just remember it’s a yeast dough with two rises, so it does take a while to make but is so worth it!
4 tablespoons butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (I used active dry yeast)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt
Brown Sugar Coating Ingredients
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Butter a Bundt pan with the 2 tablespoons softened butter. Use a pastry brush or a paper towel or anything that will really help get inside all of those nooks and crannies. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If you think the dough is too wet (i.e. having a hard time forming a cohesive mass), add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together (it should still be on the sticky side, just not overly wet). Coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly with the cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1-2 hours (alternately, you can preheat the oven to 200 degrees, turning it off once it reaches 200 degrees and place the covered bowl in the oven to speed up the rising time).
For the sugar coating, while the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place the melted butter in a second bowl or shallow pie plate. Set aside.
To form the bread, gently remove the dough from the bowl and press it into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 64 pieces.
Roll each dough piece into a ball (it doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it into a rough ball-shape). Working one at a time, dip the balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl or pie plate. Roll the dipped dough ball in the brown sugar mixture, then layer the balls in the Bundt pan, staggering the seams where the dough balls meet as you build layers.
Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and let the monkey bread rise until puffy and they have risen 1-2 inches from the top of the pan, 1-2 hours (again, you can use the warm oven approach to speed this up).
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (remove the pan from the oven if you placed it there to rise). Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes (any longer and the bread will be too sticky and hard to remove!), then turn out on a platter or large plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
For the glaze, while the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk together in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the warm monkey bread, letting it run over the top and sides of the bread. Serve warm.
Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
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Whenever I go to Target, I always snag those pricey little bags of gourmet popcorn with nuts and drizzled with chocolate. Since I’m on a stricter budget right now, I figured this was something I could easily make myself.
Well, not only was it easy, but it tastes amazing–buttery, rich, and crunchy. And you get to choose your own additions for the mix (what’s better than that?). I opted for Reese’s Pieces for the peanut butter and crunch, and mini Rolos because I figured chocolate and a little extra caramel couldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, the caramel pretty much settled on the bottom of the cookie sheet so it looks ugly (but still tastes delicious). I just broke the pieces apart and no one will ever know. Shhh. Next time I’d probably add mini chocolate chips or something that would melt a little easier.
6 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. corn syrup
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 – 2 bags popped popcorn
chocolate chips, nuts, M&Ms, etc. to taste
Preheat oven to 300º.
Remove all unpopped kernels from popcorn and pour popcorn into a bowl.
Combine butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar over medium heat. Cook and stir until mixture boils. Continue boiling at a steady rate for 4 minutes without stirring.
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.
Pour caramel over popcorn and stir to coat.
Spread onto greased cookie sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes (10 for chewy, 15 for crunchy).
Remove from oven and add toppings. Let cool before returning to bowl.
Recipe from Something Swanky.
Earlier this month, I was invited to King’s Hawaiian headquarters for their Project Mahalo Lei Day event. Project Mahalo is King’s Hawaiian’s way of recognizing and giving back to organizations who do amazing things for the community.
The four finalist agencies were Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Family Caregiver Alliance, Meals on Wheels, and One Warm Coat. Meals on Wheels was selected as the winner and received $25,000, and the other agencies all received $10,000 each! Thank you King’s Hawaiian for being an exemplary example of how brands can give back!
Side note: When I received the invite, I was super excited to attend, because I know first hand how Big Brothers Big Sisters can affect a child. I have been active with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles for many years–I spent nine years as a Big Sister matched with an awesome Little and had the opportunity to watch her grow from a child to an adult, and have since sat on many committees.
After the agencies were honored, we were treated to an enormous lunch. There was food for miles, and every one of the King’s Hawaii team was so warm and welcoming!
We stuffed ourselves silly then went on a tour of the bakery. And yes, it smelled as incredible as you would imagine. At the end of the tour, we were treated to bread fresh from the oven. There are no words.
Finally, it was time to head home, and King’s Hawaiian gifted us with amazing bags filled with bread, cookies, and candy.
Mahalo King’s Hawaiian!
Disclosure: King’s Hawaiian provided lunch and gifts to everyone attending the event.
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Hi! Remember me? I’m the one that made baked donuts and posted a bunch of Passover stuff then sort of disappeared (except for on Twitter, you can always find me there!). Things have been kind of crazy over here. My back got really bad again (MRI and nerve test next week, eeks!), then my beloved KitchenAid mixer starting wobbling and almost walked off my counter, and then I got laid off from my job of 3+ years. On the flip side, now that I’m home during the day, I was able to spend three hours on Google finding potential solutions to the wobbly mixer. Fingers crossed that it is finally fixed!
A couple days after I was laid off, I went down to San Diego to celebrate my mom’s birthday with the family. Around that time, my mom apparently asked my dad to pick up lemons while he was at Costco. And pick up lemons, he did. A HUGE bag of lemons, more than my mom would ever use before they would go bad. Fortunately, my sister and I benefited from my dad’s shopping mishap, and I decided a lemon cake was in order.
With my mixer not wobbling off the counter, I got to work zesting, juicing, and mixing, and had high hopes. Sadly, those hopes were squashed. I’m sure this is a perfectly decent lemon cake, even if the texture and taste of the bottom and sides was a little cornbread-ish. But once you have tasted Ina’s Lemon Cake, any other lemon cake is guaranteed to fail in comparison.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have Judge Judy to watch before I head to happy hour at 5:00.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
6 Tbsp lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
Preheat oven to 350F.
Spray or butter and flour 2 loaf pans or one large bundt pan. (I used a 10-cup bundt pan and had about two extra cups of batter so I made mini bundts.)
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended after each one.
Add dry ingredients in three additions to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Mix in lemon juice and zest.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.
Recipe from Plain Chicken.
It’s that time again! Here are my tried and true Passover dessert recipes. My family’s faves are the matzo brittle, meringues, and chocolate walnut cookies, but they are all delish! Happy Passover!
- Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies
- Passover Mandelbrot
- Chocolate Chip Meringues
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Matzo Brittle
- Apple Crisp
- Lemon Chiffon Cake