whole wheat roasted banana muffins

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I first made these muffins on a whim, I had two super-ripe (on the verge of garbage-can-ripe) bananas sitting in my fruit bowl begging not to be thrown away. I stared at them for a long time, thinking,  relatively certain that every banana bread recipe in the world requires more than two bananas. I could have made some banana pancakes, but at 7:00 PM on a weeknight (after we had just eaten dinner) it might have seemed just a touch odd to start making pancakes.

So, I pondered a moment and decided in a moment of genius to ROAST the bananas. In my big dinosaur brain I figured with SAT-style math equations that two ripe bananas plus the roasting power of the oven (divided by the square root of the deliciousness of regular banana bread) should equal the flavor of at LEAST three bananas… Then I decided to amp up the flavor with a bit of whole wheat flour and tweaked the moisture content just a bit to make sure the texture doesn’t go bananas on me (ha- get it? BANANAS).

Et, voila!

Banana bread was had. Well, banana MUFFINS, to be more exact. But in my world banana “muffins” are really just banana bread poured into a muffin tin.

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They ended up being FRIGGIN DELICIOUS and I couldn’t wait to share them with you guys… except that I didn’t have any to share. Because instead of sharing them with you I shared them with my belly. So I had to buy some more bananas and play that dreadful game we all play when we want to  make banana bread: The Waiting Game.

Buy bananas now, eat banana bread in 5 to 10 days.

Must not consume all of the bananas before said day arrives.

I also fully intended, now that I had purchased a surplus of bananas specifically to make these muffins, to do that thing where you bake a slice of banana on top of the muffin and it looks super pretty.  Unfortunately, due to a fierce smoothie addiction that is apparently contagious (since FH caught it), I ended up with the same issue as last time – only two bananas.

No extra banana fanciness. Maybe next time. For now, make the bananas, maybe press a piece of sliced banana in the top and let me know what kind of magic happens. Throw on some streusel while you’re at it, or stir in some chocolate chips… Or, if you’re evil like me, trick your Future Husband (or person of your choice) by whispering to them menacingly after they’ve raved about how good the muffins are, “Psst – they have whole grain flour in them…” and watch the color drain from their face as they stare at you in horror for making them eat something (almost) a teeny bit healthful.

You monster.

roasted banana muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 9 to 12 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Ingredients

  • 2 (or 3) ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used 2/3 cup regular all purpose + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Place unpeeled bananas on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up) and roast about 20 to 30 minutes until completely blackened. Remove from oven and cool slightly until cool enough to handle.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl, mash roasted bananas. Once the bananas close to room temperature, whisk in the sugars and oil until incorporated.
  5. Add the egg and stir to combine.
  6. Add the flour in two additions, and gently fold until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

Notes

*If you would like to top these with streusel or just a bit of crumbled brown sugar, it will yield a slightly sweeter muffin.

*You can still see little chunks of banana in my muffin - if you don't want chunks just mash your bananas to be chunk-free!

*These were great with 2 bananas (which was all I had on hand) but if you want to add a third banana (mashed or chopped) I would keep the rest of the ingredients the same.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/03/11/whole-wheat-roasted-banana-muffins/

monkey bread

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Hey guys, remember this thing from my Christmas brunch?

Allow me to refresh your memory: it involves soft, pillowy dough, lots of cinnamon and sugar, and a warm, gooey, butterscotch glaze.  Is that jogging your memory at all?

Good.

You know those dishes that just instantly transport you back to your childhood?  You smell it cooking and suddenly you’re eight again at grandma’s house rolling pieces of dough around?

This is one of those dishes.

I know we all love to do all the things and make things from scratch, but sometimes it’s nice to just take it easy, ya know?

When I was little, monkey bread started with cans of biscuit dough and cinnamon sugar, then over the years taking bits and pieces from other family traditions the biscuits evolved into bread dough and the cinnamon sugar got amped up with pudding mix.

I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it at first too.  Pudding mix?!?

Yeah, wipe that skeptical look of your face.  It works, and it’s not only “good” but it’s like, irresistibly good.

So good that your fiance may have an intense internal debate on Christmas morning about which is more important: eating monkey bread or your relationship.

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He may then stare at you in still in his pajamas, lured out of bed by the smell of baking cinnamon,  like you’re the meanest person in the world for telling him that he has to wait for company to arrive before he can eat it.

This may force you to remind him that the only way he will have monkey bread in his future is if you’re still around to make it.

All theoretical, of course.

Oh, and the best part about this delicious magical breakfast bread?  You can assemble it the night before and then just bake it in the morning.  Doesn’t that just beat the crap out of getting up at the buttcrack of dawn to make some fresh cinnamon rolls or pull-apart bread?

Yeah, I thought so too.  I mean, I love my family, but we all have our limits.

So make this and it can be your “easy” dish, or your only dish, no one will care how long it took (or didn’t take) you to make it because it’s so gosh darn delicious.

FH and I were still eating it like five days later and IT WAS JUST AS SOFT AS THE FIRST DAY.  I swear this stuff is magic.

monkey bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 13 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 bundt cake

Ingredients

  • 22 frozen dinner rolls, I use Rhodes
  • 1 small package cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Set out rolls to thaw slightly - I laid mine on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and then covered the tops with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. It took about 45 min to 1 hour for them to thaw.
  2. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Melt butter in microwave and then stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract; let cool slightly to room temperature.
  3. Cut rolls in half and toss into bundt pan.
  4. Once half the rolls are in the pan, sprinkle with half of the pudding mix and pour half the butter mixture. Repeat with remaining rolls, brown sugar mixture, and butter.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350F and set bundt pan on the counter about 30 minutes to warm to room temperature (I actually set mine on top of the oven while it was preheating to try to get more lift out of it).
  7. Once ready to bake, place bundt pan on a sheet pan and remove the plastic wrap. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through, covering with foil after 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Invert onto a rimmed serving dish (this is important, because there will be goo oozing everywhere).

Notes

*If you don't want to wait overnight, place your covered bundt cake on the counter and let rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours) and then follow baking instructions. The speed of the rise will depend on how warm your kitchen is.

*If you can't find (or don't want to use) frozen dinner rolls, you could definitely use homemade rolls - I recommend sticking with either white bread or brioche dough.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/01/27/monkey-bread/

 

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pumpkin scones

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Because it’s the weekend and weekends are for staying in your PJs for as long as humanly possible.

And because it’s winter and therefore still considered an acceptable time of the year to eat pumpkin-flavored things.

And because apparently I think everything needs to be drizzled with icing.

Everything.

And because, if you haven’t noticed, Starbuck’s fancy new bakery line wants nothing to do with their classic pumpkin spice scones that I anxiously await every year, so I was likely to start getting the shakes if I didn’t somehow consume a pumpkin scone before the end of winter. 

These scones are smaller than the Starbucks variety, meaning you won’t want to run off of a bridge (as badly) once you realize you’ve inhaled the whole thing (or two of them).  They’re also taller (and craggy-er) than the Starbucks scone, which I find to be more enjoyable, personally.

DSC_0690 pumpkin scone

And while I considered using royal icing on them (I’m half-convinced that’s what is on theirs, or some sort of concoction that can only be made with high fructose corn syrups and/or various types of hydrogenated vegetable oils), royal icing is a bit much for the morning, wouldn’t you agree?

So I did the usual mix some powdered sugar with a little bit of milk and vanilla and drizzled it on top.  Then I thought I should also do a version with some pumpkin spice mixed in, and drizzled that on top, because PUMPKIN!

To review: these are not Starbuck’s pumpkin scones.  But they ARE pumpkin scones.  And they are delicious.

I made one batch of these (for me, that was about 12 scones) and then froze them to bake at my leisure.  Now I can preheat the oven while I make my coffee, pop in a scone, and have a scone breakfast ready in no time flat.  I  don’t even have to think about it.  Which is convenient for any of you who are planning to start a diet in January, you can bake one or two this weekend, and freeze the rest to reward your post-diet self! ;)

pumpkin scones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 12 scones

Ingredients

    For the scones
  • 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For baking
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Your favorite glaze* or cinnamon-sugar (if desired)

Instructions

    Make the scones
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and spice. Work in the butter until coarse crumbles form (I do this by grating the butter into the mixture, then using my hands or a pastry cutter to cut the butter in). A pastry-cutter is recommended, as you want the butter to stay as cold as possible.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.
  3. Scrape dough onto a floured surface and divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a circle about 5- to 6-inches in diameter and about 3/4-inch thick.
  4. Transfer the dough circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut each circle into 6 wedges. Cover and place in the freezer 1 hour.*
  5. To bake the scones
  6. Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place wedges onto parchment and brush with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (if using).
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and the side of the scone looks dry and baked.
  8. Remove scones from oven and drizzle with glaze (if desired) or enjoy as-is.

Notes

* Once frozen, you may transfer the scones to an airtight freezer-safe bag for storage. Bake from frozen for same amount of time.

* Alternatively, you could probably bake these without freezing (for when you're short on time), but I haven't tried. I would estimate they would take about 15 minutes if you don't freeze them (but you might want to start checking around 10). If baking fresh, they may not raise as high as these did.

* For the glaze, I used 1/2 cup of powdered sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until your desired consistency is reached, adding more powdered sugar to thicken or more milk to thin.

* For a pumpkin-spice glaze, add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to your powdered sugar before adding the milk and vanilla. Prepare the same way as the regular glaze

http://wee-eats.com/2014/01/04/pumpkin-scones/

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cranberry orange pull apart bread

 

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Yes, I KNOW that we JUST had pull-apart bread.  But, you see, since my recipe make two loaves, and it’s delicious, and… you can never have too much of a good thing.

Or something. I think that’s how it goes, right?

I’ve been trying out this whole “orange-cranberry” thing that everyone’s been talking about… and apparently everyone in the whole world loves but I had never heard of… turns out they were onto something.

So, I give to you, the cranberry-orange pull-apart bread… also known as “the longest-named-bread-in-all-the-land.”  Also known as, “The only thing that saved my first loaf from being completely devoured.”  Also known as, actually no, that’s all it’s known as.

When the fiance asked what I was making and I said “cranberry orange bread” he was super unexcited and responded much like any small child normal adult would, with extreme prejudice and skepticism.

Apparently I wasn’t the only person on the planet who hadn’t combined oranges and cranberries into delicious.

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So, if there are anymore of you out there, I’m here to let you know that I put oranges with cranberries.  And it was delicious.

Even the fiance loved it.

I wasn’t sure if there would be enough moisture in the mix to rehydrate them, and there wasn’t.  While the bread was still very good, I think it would have benefitted from the juicy berries.  So, I would recommend re-hydrating them in some orange liqueur, orange juice, or even just some water, for about 30 minutes before throwing them into the bread.

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Alternatively, you could probably use some orange marmalade instead of orange sugar for the filling, or fresh cranberries instead of dried, or leftover cranberry sauce even.  I didn’t have orange marmalade, fresh cranberries, or leftover cranberry sauce, but I did have a bag of oranges and a bag of dried cranberries.

I mean, if cinnamon bread is filled with cinnamon-sugar then clearly orange sugar would be perfect for this, right? So, I zested the oranges into some sugar and VOILA!  Orange sugar was born!  Then I sprinkled the cranberries as best I could and shoved any stragglers into the pan after stacking the dough pieces. 

And again with the glaze.

cranberry orange pull apart bread

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

This recipe makes 2 loaves but it can easily be halved to make just one loaf, or you can make two different kinds of loaves filled with cinnamon-sugar or pumpkin

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe of your favorite cinnamon roll dough (my favorite recipe below)
  • For the dough
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons orange zest (about 3 to 4 large navel oranges)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries* (see note below)
  • 1 stick of butter; softened to room temperature
  • For the glaze
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons milk; plus extra if needed

Instructions

    For the filling
  1. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and orange zest, set aside while you prepare the dough.
  2. In another bowl, reconstitute dried cranberries (optional, but recommended)
  3. For the dough
  4. In a large (8 cup) saucepan, mix the milk, sugar, and vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Remove from heat and cool to luke-warm (110-115F degrees), then add the yeast. Stir to combine; let sit 5 minutes to allow yeast to bloom.
  5. Stir 4 cups of flour into the milk mixture and put lid on the pot. Allow to sit for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, add remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour dough out onto a large sheet of saran wrap and wrap dough tightly. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to overnight. (You could also roll the dough out immediately by sprinkling the counter with flour and kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Once the dough isn't sticky, cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes to allow the dough to rest)
  6. To roll the dough
  7. Pour dough onto lightly-floured surface and separate into two equal halves. Roll one half to a 12 x 20-inch rectangle and cover the other with a kitchen towel to prevent from drying out. Spread softened butter over the dough. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 6 long 2-inch wide strips.
  8. Spoon generous amounts of orange sugar onto one strip of dough and sprinkle with cranberries, top with another strip and sprinkle sugar/cranberries onto that strip. Repeat until all of the strips are in a pile and covered with sugar/cranberries.
  9. Slice the strip of dough into 5 4-inch wide strips. Stack strips tall-wise into a loaf pan. It will be sloppy, they'll flop everywhere, it's OK. I actually propped my bread pan on its side to make the first few strips a little easier.
  10. Repeat with the other half of dough, sugar, cranberries, and butter.
  11. To bake the dough
  12. Cover and let rise 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
  13. Preheat oven to 350F. Once dough has risen and oven is preheated, cook bread 45 to 55 minutes until cooked through. If the top starts to get too brown, lightly tent with a piece of foil and continue cooking.
  14. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to continue cooling.
  15. For the glaze
  16. Mix ingredients together, adding more milk if the mixture is too thick or more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin.

Notes

*Those of you who thermom your bread want the final temp to be between 190F and 200F.

*Glaze is entirely optional, if you do use a glaze be sure to pour it on while the bread is still nice and warm.

*You can rehydrate dried cranberries by covering with water, or another liquid. Pour liquid over dried cranberries and let stand 30 minutes.

http://wee-eats.com/2013/12/03/cranberry-orange-pull-apart/

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pumpkin pull apart bread

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Thanksgiving is Thursday, and I know that we are all very busy, but I just wanted to share this one recipe.

Just really quickly.

I’d been planning on making this bread for so long but have had a long succession of extremely busy weekends, and then… we had a stormy weekend that made me want to stay in PJs all day and do nothing but bake.

So I did.

So I’ll share just this one recipe and then I’ll let you relax and then I’ll relax too, because it’s almost Thanksgiving.  And we are all very busy.

Too busy to write, too busy to read, too busy to even think sometimes.

So don’t think, just look at this warm, cinnamony, pumpkiny, pull-apart loaf.

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Now, yes, I realize it’s CALLED a pull-apart loaf and we just spent countless minutes (ALL THE MINUTES!) slicing and stacking and cutting and piling, so it is only logical that the best way to eat it would be to pull it apart.  That being said, I assure you that is just as good, if not better, sliced.  That’s right, I said it, SLICED! Sliced just like a real loaf of bread.

In fact, I found slicing the bread to be a much more efficient way of stuffing the bread into my face.  I wish I had taken a picture of how pretty the sliced bread looked, but again, the face-shoving prevailed.  Plus your fingers get sticky with the sweet sugary insides (and outsides) and who wants to handle a camera with sticky sugar fingers when the other option is to lick the sweet sugary goo off of your fingers?  Not this girl, no sir.

However, that whole pull-apart thing is much better for acting like you’re going to have “just a bite” and walk away, plus it makes a darn good-looking loaf of bread.  I mean, sure you could save all that time and just make a “swirl” bread but then it wouldn’t look this awesome.  The outside would be boring, like plain bread.  As you can see, the outside of this bread is way awesomer than regular bread.

Shall we compare?

On the left you will see a loaf of someone else’s cinnamon swirl bread that I found by googling “cinnamon swirl loaf”.  I’m sure it is perfectly delicious loaf of bread on the inside, but how do you know that it’s awesome from the outside?  You don’t.  For all we know it’s a loaf of plain bread that is just masquerading as cinnamon swirl bread.

By contrast, the bread on the right is obviously awesome or at least filled with stuff, which gives it a much greater potential for awesome.

cinn_bread_loaf_board_glam pumpkin photo 2 (6)

To review: Left = Boring; Right = Exciting.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, slicing.

I sliced the remainder of my loaf and stuck it in the freezer, so that future Natalie & Fiance can have pumpkin french toast.

(Note: To this point I have continued to refer to my beloved Fiance as “BF” out of sheer laziness, plus I kinda think the word “fiance” sounds pretentious.  It does a little bit, doesn’t it?)

I’m such a thinker, always watching out for future Natalie & future Fiance and their tummies.

I was originally going to make a filling with some spices and pumpkin puree, but then I saw a jar of pumpkin butter in the pantry so I just went ahead an slathered it on.

And it was good.

So good.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist a bit of a glaze on top.  Apparently I’m on a glaze-kick though.

If that’s a thing.

I think it is.

I’ll warn you now that I’m not doing a Thursday Things for this week, because it’s Thanksgiving and that would just be silly… Hopefully this recipe will help to keep you company in my place.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

This recipe makes 2 loaves but it can easily be halved to make just one loaf, or you can make two different kinds of loaves filled with cinnamon-sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe of your favorite cinnamon roll dough (my favorite recipe below)
  • 2 10-ounce jars pumpkin butter
  • For the dough
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the glaze
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons milk; plus extra if needed

Instructions

    For the dough
  1. In a large (8 cup) saucepan, mix the milk, sugar, and vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Remove from heat and cool to luke-warm (110-115F degrees), then add the yeast. Stir to combine; let sit 5 minutes to allow yeast to bloom.
  2. Stir 4 cups of flour into the milk mixture and put lid on the pot. Allow to sit for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, add remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour dough out onto a large sheet of saran wrap and wrap dough tightly. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to overnight. (You could also roll the dough out immediately by sprinkling the counter with flour and kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Once the dough isn't sticky, cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes to allow the dough to rest)
  3. To roll the dough
  4. Pour dough onto lightly-floured surface and separate into two equal halves. Roll one half to a 12 x 20-inch rectangle and cover the other with a kitchen towel to prevent from drying out. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 6 long 2-inch wide strips.
  5. Spoon generous amounts of pumpkin butter onto one strip of dough top with another strip and spoon pumpkin butter onto that strip, repeat until all of the strips are in a pile and smeared with pumpkin butter.
  6. Slice the strip of dough into 5 4-inch wide strips. Stack strips tall-wise into a loaf pan. It will be sloppy, they'll flop everywhere, it's OK. I actually propped my bread pan on its side to make the first few strips a little easier.
  7. Repeat steps with other half of dough and pumpkin butter.
  8. To bake the dough
  9. Cover and let rise 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
  10. Preheat oven to 350F. Once dough has risen and oven is preheated, cook bread 45 to 55 minutes until cooked through. If the top starts to get too brown, lightly tent with a piece of foil and continue cooking.
  11. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to continue cooling.
  12. For the glaze
  13. Mix ingredients together, adding more milk if the mixture is too thick or more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin.

Notes

*Those of you who thermom your bread want the final temp to be between 190F and 200F.

*Glaze is entirely optional, if you do use a glaze be sure to pour it on while the bread is still nice and warm.

*This recipe makes two loaves of bread. I made my second loaf into a different flavor (COMING SOON...)

http://wee-eats.com/2013/11/25/pumpkin-pull-apart-bread/

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