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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COOKIE MADNESS: Easy Pudding Cookies

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Well, it happened.  I’ve fallen victim to that evil thing known as the “common cold”.  Or, as I’ve been referring to it, a “commercial cold”… you know, like they show in the commercials.  Where some poor soul is like  sneeze, sneeze, blow nose, sniffle… I almost never get sick so I didn’t even know that was a real thing.  I thought it was just a dramatic take on the common cold.  I should have known better, the TV would never lie to me!

Why am I telling you this?  Because I’m running on very little sleep, have been up since 2:30 am, and am writing this at the wee hour of 4:00 am… without my glasses, because I didn’t want to turn on a light on my way out of the bedroom.

So I’m sure this particular post will not be winning any literary medals (to say the least).  I’m sure a more responsible party wouldn’t be writing their post at 4:00 am on the morning they plan to post it, but let’s just not talk about that.

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These cookies use the magic of pudding to stay nice and chewy.  For these cookies, I used butterscotch pudding, but I’m more excited for all the other flavors you could make.  You could use any flavor of pudding you want to make an infinite number of flavor combinations. I used butterscotch and chocolate, in a throwback to my chewy butterscotch bars, I immediately regretted not adding marshmallows.  WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME??

Oh hey, with Christmas rapidly approaching, any of you Instagramers out there, go ahead and follow @wee_eats and tag your own cookie pictures with #cookiemadness for a chance to be included in my Christmas Cookie recipe roundup!

Pudding Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 small (3.9 oz) package instant pudding (I used butterscotch)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups mix-ins of your choice (I used a mix of butterscotch chips and chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment

2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffly.  Add dry pudding mix and beat until well-mixed, then add the eggs and vanilla extract.  Add the flour in two additions, mixing until just incorporated.   Stir in your mix-ins.

4. Scoop by tablespoons onto baking sheets.  Mine didn’t spread much (possibly because I left them in the fridge too long and the pudding mix may have had too much time to pudding-ify) so I ended up gently smooshing the tops flat to avoid scoop-shaped cookies.  So my note to you is opposite of what I do with most of my cookies – DO NOT CHILL the dough.  Bake these right after mixing.  Maybe bake only a couple of cookies in the first batch (one smooshed and one not smooshed) to see if smooshing will be necessary.

5.  Bake 10 – 12 minutes until edges are just lightly browned.  Cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  (I cool mine on the sheet until the oven beeps for the next batch to go in, but that’s because I swap between two baking sheets).

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butterscotch bars

It’s fall!

I know because I’ve baked with pumpkin.

And I’ve made chili.

And we went for a bike ride (to eat ice cream… but a bike ride no less!).

And we can turn off the air conditioning.

And we can open the windows for (almost) the whole day.

Plus, I wear a jacket sometimes now in the early morning.

I need all these other things, because we don’t have leaves. Or deciduous trees. I don’t have the pretty colors to tell me that it’s fall, but I do have all of these.

It’s fall!

And so I made these bars. I wish I had taken a ‘before’ pictures, it looked really cool and orange-y, like fall.

But I didn’t, so you’re stuck with the ‘afters’.

These are filled with butterscotch.  And chocolate.  And marshmallows. (oh my!).

Because it’s fall these are homey and comforting and heart-warming flavors.

These bars are amazing, even though my “disappearing marshmallows” didn’t disappear 100%.  Crispy, chewy, light and airy and they only took like 10 minutes to make.

Butterscotch Bars with Chocolate and Disappearing Marshmallows

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan for baking (I line with foil and then spray with baking spray)

In a large saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butterscotch chips and butter, stirring constantly. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t do this without thinking that I wasn’t messing something up. (I wish I had taken a picture) Butterscotch chips do NOT like to melt, I could not get mine completely blended, just do your best. Set aside to cool.

While the butter mixture is cooling, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Once the butter mixture has cooled, add the vanilla and eggs to the butterscotch mixture, stirring well. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Fold in the marshmallows and chocolate chips, until just combined (don’t want to over-mix!).
Spread into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. The edges should be browned nicely, but the center does not have to be completely set. The bars will firm up more once they cool.

[ Adapted from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles ]

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