Tag Archives: monkeybread

Autumn orchard days

Sadly, I’m not in a position to have my own orchard. I’d love one, but you know, London. And bees. I really don’t like bees. I know, I know, bees are the nice ones, wasps are the evil bastards. But they all have the capacity to sting and that’s really not fun. However, I do REALLY like apples so when my mate Amber posted a picture of her first apple harvest this year I decided that it was a perfect time to go visit her and help myself to some. I mean, catch up with a dear old chum.

And honestly, if you were presented with a photo that looks like this on Instagram, you’d do the same right?

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So after a lovely evening with the O’Connors which consisted of too many bubbles and not enough food  (my own fault entirely), we raided the apple crates and brought a bunch home with us and since then I’ve been on the hunt for recipes for things to do with apples that aren’t upside down cakes.  As per my previous post, I’ve made a lot of upside down cakes recently. In fact, since then I’ve made a couple of pineapple and rum upside down cakes which were officially the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.

As winter is around the corner, I’ve been craving anything bready and baked. And realised what I actually wanted was monkeybread because it’s breaded, baked, buttery and… sweet. What’s a word for sweet that begins with b? So I decided to combine apples with a classic monkeybread recipe and make apple monkeybread muffins. I figure, as they’re individual sized, there’s fewer calories in eating four at a time than there is from eating an entire bundt tin of monkeybread on its own.

Right? Right.

Recipe below. I used a pizza dough recipe as I didn’t want it to be too sweet as the apples were. If I were to make these again, I’d probably wrap the apple mix in the dough and then drench them in sugar and butter as (and this could just be me) the way the dough chunks look reminds me of chopped up chicken breasts and then it makes for a weird visual vs taste sensation. And I also think that you’d get a better apple to dough ratio that way. But give it a go, if you’ve got a glut of apples from you(r friends) orchard.

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Apple and cranberry spiced monkeybread

Pizza Dough

  • 2 x cups of bread flour
  • 2 x tsps dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps oil (I used sunflower as it was all I had, sure you can use anything else)
  • 1.25 cups of cold water

Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer with dough hook and on a low speed combine then continue for a good 10 mins till the dough is stretchy and smooth

On a large board, flatten and stretch the dough till it’s vaguely rectangular and about a centimetre thick. Slice along the length into four equal pieces then randomly chop each slide into smaller nuggets – about 12-15 per length. Dust with flour, cover and leave to one side for a short prove whilst you make the rest of the filling.

Monkeybread

  • 100g butter melted
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 x cooking apples – you want them to be a little bit tart as there’s a LOT of sugar being added
  • A small bag (about 250g) of dried fruit – I used cranberries, but feel free to use your own favourite
  • Zest 1.5 lemons
  • 2/3 cup of dark brown sugar

Add the spices and salt to the melted butter and leave to one side to cool completely.

Peel, core and grate the apples. Put grated apples in a bowl with the dried fruit and lemon zest, then using your hands, toss with the brown sugar to get it all coated.

Then pour the butter mix over the fruit. Dust the dough nuggets again and add to the bowl and using your hands, toss with the fruit mix until they’re all covered.

Take small handfuls of the dough mix and put into pre-prepared muffin cases.  Once filled, pour any remaining butter from the bowl equally over each muffin. Then cover again and leave to rise for an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Bake for 25mins till the top is golden brown and the sugar is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before stuffing your face.

You can add a glaze to this, but they were sweet enough for our taste. I still have a glut of apples remaining, so any other apple recipes, ping em my way.

 

 

 

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Recapping November… and Monkey(bread)ing around

Blimey, what a month. As I mentioned, briefly, in passing (ALL THE TIME) I turned 40 in November and as that’s apparently quite the milestone, I decided to drag out the celebrations for the better part of the month.

The actual day, my wino and I went to breakfast at the Delaunay (amazing), saw Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy which moved me to tears in parts, utterly emotional and beautiful and then had a mildly crappy afternoon tea because we’re old and needed a sugar hit. And then dinner with my family that evening which was also simply super (although mediocre food, didn’t expect much more from the local curry house).

My birthday gift from the husband was a trip to Berlin so we went the following weekend and stuffed our faces with German cakes and weinerschnitzel and saurkraut and stuff. Had the best time at the Photography Museum at the Frank Horvat exhib, love his stuff and went to a few other galleries and mostly just pootled around the city really. Don’t go to the zoo, it’s absolutely horrible and I totally cried at the sad lions and camels. Tinged a little bit with sadness – an old friend moved there  a few years ago and I was hoping to catch up with him and his partner but wasn’t to be the case as his partner sadly lost his battle with cancer the week before we arrived. Nic’s been bravely and beautifully blogging at his struggles with dealing with his loss here – please go read it, it’s an honest, heart wrenching and sad read (love you Nic).

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Then back to London town, to start a new job (which is awesome and huge and I think may keep me away from blogging for a bit just whilst I get my head into it) and to celebrate with a bunch of my very best family and friends.

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We’d booked out lunch at one of our favourite restaurants in Queen’s Park – the lovely Caldo. It’s a tapas place and wine bar (and my husband does some of the list so he knows them well). Sorted out a set menu and awaited the hoards to arrive – and boy did they. There were friends from all aspects of my life – school, university, work, drinking in bars, family friends, family members, all told I haven’t felt so loved since probably my wedding day. I always think it’s amazing that some of those people have been in my life for the whole of it, the experiences we’ve shared together could fill books.  It was a lovely day, there were shots done, a cake by a baker (Fondant Fox) whose creations I’d been drooling over on Instagram for a while and whilst her cakes clearly look amazing, they also TASTE amazing, which is possibly the most important thing. And then there was the afterparty. And from that I don’t remember much, but I do know that my fridge was stuffed full of fizz, a tequila station was set up in the kitchen and I had enough Doritos to feed 500 peple before we went to lunch but the next morning the fridge was empty and there were Doritos all over the floor. Lord knows what happened to the tequila. Never saw the bottle again, think it ran away. Took me the better part of a week to recover – won’t be doing that again for a while… Although I tried, the following weekend when my GBFF treated me to an amazing Twin Peaks themed dinner/immersive theatre thing (which I’ll blog separately), I had to follow a bus and a Spice Girl around in a pee yellow car for a day and I have been hanging out with X Factor stars. All told, November has been quite spectacularly full on and, frankly, awesome.

Last weekend was the first weekend we’d had at home since October and the last till Christmas so I decided to get baking – and I’ve been wanting to make Monkeybread for quite some time. For those of you who don’t know, Monkeybread is (probably) an American thing, it’s effectively enriched, sweet dough balls, rolled in cinnamon, sugar and butter and baked. What on earth about that is not to like? I’ve been avoiding my bundt tin since last Christmas when I didn’t grease it enough and an impressive cake I should have made (spiced cranberry) got stuck in it so I had to slice it to take to a party. Not ideal. So I decided to bundt the shit out of my monkeybread to break the fear. And I’m glad I did. It looked GREAT and tasted even better.

Couple of changes I made to the recipe. I have a sweet tooth but I don’t think it compares to most American recipes I’ve seen – sometimes even I get unnerved by the levels of sweetness in a recipe. So I decided to use a traditional white bread dough to make the monkeybread and hope that the sweetness of the cinnamon, sugar, butter would be enough – and it most definitely was. If you do want to go all out, a brioche style bread would probably work quite well – I had no milk in the house so couldn’t do that. Next time, I’m going to experiment with savoury flavours -I think herbed bread and cheese would be amazing. But here’s my recipe, enjoy!

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Monkeybread 

For the dough:

  • 400g strong white bread flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 tsp fast acting yeast
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 300ml warm water
  • Oil for kneading

For the cinnamon sugar

  • 100g butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt

Put the flour into a bowl and add the salt and yeast, making sure these two ingredients don’t touch. Add the warm water and bring the dough together to a sticky shaggy mess. Scrape any dough from your fingers and then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for 30 mins. After that time, turn the dough onto a lightly oiled and dusted board, and knead. Use whatever method you’re most comfortable with – I use Dan Lepard’s, it’s easy to follow and usually comes out with a great bread. Knead for about 5 mins, return to the bowl, leave covered for 15 mins, then repeat this process twice more.

After the last knead, put the oven on a low-medium heat (around gas mark 4 or 170C) to preheat and make your cinnamon sugar – simply mix the sugar and spices and salt together in a bowl. Grease a 25cm bundt tin.

Turn the dough out onto a board and start rolling small dough balls – you want to get at least 30 small balls (golf ball sized). Dip and roll each ball into the melted butter and then dust them in the bowl of spiced sugar and then placed them into the bundt tin. 30 balls comes up about half way up the tin – don’t worry about this, once all the sugar coated balls are in you need to leave it for its final prove so it’ll fill up.

The final prove takes around 30-45 mins (the doughballs should spring back when you poke them!), then put the tin into the oven to bake for one  hour.

Let the monkeybread cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn it onto a serving platter and give the base of the tin a good whack, it’ll release and leave it ready for serving. It’s a lovely indulgent breakfast cake but equally good when still warm with ice cream. Enjoy!