Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best Friend Baking Day 2011

My best friend, Christina, came home to share in my spring break boredom with me this week.  To keep ourselves entertained in this black hole of a town, we decided to dedicate an entire day just to baking.  It ended up being more like four hours, but hey, it still counts.

We drank wine, listened to music (Christina is my musical soul mate), and made three separate recipes:  Monkey Bread Muffins with Homemade Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Jumbos, and Almond Coconut Macaroons.

Monkey Bread Muffins w/ Homemade Caramel Sauce
Because they involved yeast and rising, we started with the monkey bread muffins.  I have been eying all the recipes for monkey bread on Food Gawker for a long time.  I was bound and determined to make them over break.  Choosing a recipe wasn't easy, because there are so many great ones out there, but we eventually decided on Jacquline's from Seemingly Greek and followed it pretty closely.  Here's what we did:

Muffin Ingredients
1 T active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T honey
1/2 tsp salt

Add all muffin ingredients to a large mixing bowl.  Knead for 10 minutes by hand, or be lazy like us and use your Kitchen Aid dough hook.
Remove dough ball from bowl, grease bowl, and replace in bowl.  Cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise 30 minutes.
Dough should be well risen.  Remove and punch down.
Roll into long, thin logs.
Cut into widths of approximately 1"
Roll into a ball, and roll in melted butter
Roll buttery ball in cinnamon/sugar mixture.  (This will get messy).
Put three balls in each cup of your well-greased muffin tin.
Let rise again (about ten minutes).
 Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F, then let cool in muffin tins on wire racks.  While cooling, making caramel sauce.
Caramel Sauce Ingredients
3/4 heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp butter (for caramel, I prefer salted)

**I found this sauce to be a little thin.  You may want to try reducing the cream or cooking it longer**
Pour heavy cream and vanilla into a bowl and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, heat sugar and warm water over low-medium heat.  You can swirl the sugar occasionally by moving the pot, but DO NOT STIR.  Once the sugar has caramelized and turned a nice amber color, remove from heat.  Do not wait for it to darken to a normal caramel color, because you will burn the sugar.  Just trust me.  Remove it at amber.  Add butter and cream/vanilla mixture, whisking quickly, and return to burner on low heat.  (Mine turned to a solid sugar clump with the addition of the cold cream, but don't worry, it will eventually dissolve again).  Continue whisking until caramel is smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  

Pour over muffins while still slightly warm
The idea of monkey bread is to pull it apart and share, so that everyone can try those delicious, gooey balls of dough.  But hey, if you want to eat the whole muffin by yourself, I won't judge you.  That's why we made muffins instead of one big bread, so everyone can have their own.

The other two recipes we made will be posted separately, so stay tuned!

Love and cookies,

1 comment:

  1. Your monkey bread turned out very delicious looking!!! Thanks for sharing it with me!