Today the latest Bon Appetit magazine arrived, all the kids went back to school and I have a (relatively) unpacked house...
... the signs were clear. It was time to come back here.
It has been about two months since I have shared here and it's exciting to be back. It was a whirlwind summer with many adventures, the biggest of which was probably the move. We made the decision to sell the house and
up down resize into a new neighbourhood. It was stressful and hectic and busy - all things you expect when relocating with a two year old. But it was also exciting and therapeutic and no question, absolutely the right move for our family.
We went up slightly in square footage, down significantly in yard space but mostly just found a better layout. Some folks questioned our decision- isn't it a step "backwards" going from a detached to an attached? Leaving the large yard a block from the elementary school to head for the more urban, high density area? People are funny. But then I guess so am I. Because those comments really made me second guess our decision. Were we crazy? Were we making a rash decision?
It came down to what we knew for sure... The old house was going to need a lot of work in the upcoming years and a lot of maintenance in the upcoming every-hour-of-my-life. And ultimately, we were just not the right couple to take that on. We would far rather take a leisurely stroll with our toddler (so in reality barely a shuffle) to our local java shop. Or execute a local scavenger hunt to find the perfect ingredients for an ambitious, no occasion dinner that night. Or catch the latest football/baseball/hockey game and watch it in full...(maybe not even fast forward the commercials! or better yet... LIVE!) All without guilt that not "enough" got accomplished this evening or this weekend.
And although we are only two weeks in, I know it was, it is, the right decision for this family.
And with that... here is some monkey bread!
This monkey bread is one of two bubble-style breads coming your way this month. (The latter I will expand on in another post) One of the things on my "List" is to become a better baker, and specifically as it relates to doughs and breads. I have seen this on a few menus. My first taste of Monkey bread was Thomas Kellars at Ad Hoc. I had never heard of it and with one bite and I understood why they call it monkey bread. It's meant for sharing and when done right, you can be driven to fight for position to get the next piece like its primate namesake.
I love cooking (and now baking) thoughtful comfort food, family style. Food that is easily accessible but thoughtfully and ever so slightly, elevated. I think this is a fun alternative to a plate of cinnamon buns and would make a great Christmas morning treat. (it is easily made the night before) It is by far best straight out of the oven, warm, gooey and sticky. The little balls of goodness bake together so you literally pull them off one by one. It's quite easy to make, fun for a Little one to help you with and can be made in any kind of pan. (although I found a spring form or bundt work best.) You can also make much smaller versions which may be fun (and slightly more diet friendly) for a smaller crowd.
It is great to be here again.
I look forward to sharing the food that comes out of the new kitchen, the photos that come with new windows of light and...
... the words that come with a fresh perspective.
Really, Welcome back September.
Sweet & Sticky Caramel Monkey Bread
4 Tbsp butter 2 cups whole milk, warmed to 100 degrees 2 Tbsp white sugar 1 Tbsp vanilla 1 Tbsp active dry yeast 4 cups of AP Flour
1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 3 Tbsp cinnamon 1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup heavy cream 4 Tbsp butter 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla
For the dough.
1. Create a spot to proof your bread. Some ovens have a proof setting. If not, preheat to 200 degrees then shut the oven off. It will stay a perfect warm, draft free space to proof the bread. 2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the milk sugar and vanilla. Stir to combine and heat to approximately 100 degrees. (basically take the chill off. Not too hot or yeast will burn) 3. Remove from heat, pour into bowl of stand mixer and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for five minutes until lots of grey bubbles form. 4. Add the four cups of flour and combine using the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer. Mix until it forms a shiny mass and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. 5. Put dough in an oiled metal bowl, cover with plastic wrap or towel and place in the proofed oven to rise (until about double in size, about an hour)
For the sugar coating.
1. Combine sugars and cinnamon in a small bowl. 2. In a separate small bowl, pour in melted butter.
Bring it together.
1. When the dough has risen, remove from oven and punch it down to remove the air. 2. Depending on how big your want you "balls", pinch off a small amount and form into a small ball. Dip the ball into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place into your pan of choice. I prefer a bundt pan. 3. Repeat this process, continuing to layer the balls on top of each other. I like the size of a plum or just smaller than a golf ball as they will rise again. 4. When all the balls are made, put the pan back into the oven and let them rise another hour. 5. Remove them from oven, pre heat oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 40 minutes.
1. While the balls are baking, mix all the caramel sauce ingredients in a saucepan. 2. Heat to med-high and continually whisk the sauce until it comes together, golden brown. About 7 - 9 minutes. Watch it, it will burn. 3. When the monkey bread is ready, flip out of pan and pour warm caramel sauce over.