Thu 17 Jan 2013
Yes, the recipe that follows was something I brought to a brunch potluck (we had so much fun!) but first we need to talk about this awesome potluck idea:
When we go to potlucks I’m always asking for the recipes of things that people have brought to contribute, and sometimes people ask me for the recipe I brought along too. Then, because you’re inevitably eating and milling around when these questions get asked, it’s either, “Oh I got it from this cookbook…” or you give a brief rundown of what you did. Either way, unless the person is willing to put in a bunch of effort to try track down a cookbook or contact the person who brought it at a later time (who they might not even know well), you’re unlikely to come away with the recipe that you were so eagerly munching down on at the potluck. You miss out on the recipes for the fantastic foods you’ve sampled!
Why don’t we all bring the recipe with us when we go to a potluck?
The industrious of us might bring photocopies in case multiple people want the recipe. Or a person could bring just one copy and people could copy it out. The organizer in me wants to suggest that everyone brings a copy and gives it to the host, so that if someone asks, the host can get it to them after the party. There wouldn’t be any awkward copying out of things during a social function, and you wouldn’t have to run off a stack of copies not knowing if anyone was going to ask. The host is going to know everybody at their party after all, so they could send recipes out as needed.
Yes, this could be made simpler by people just not swapping recipes, but where is the fun in that? We intrepid food explorers are always looking for something delicious to add to our repertoires. At least I am.
So this particular recipe is one that I brought to a brunch potluck that was well received:
Gooey Monkey Bread with Caramel Glaze
(recipe adapted from Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat’s Bite Me)
for the dough
1/4 Cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 Cup milk
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 Cups flour
for the sugar dredging
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp melted butter
for the glaze
1 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup butter
2 Tbsp coffee cream
- First stir together the warm water, first measure of sugar, and the yeast. Set aside for about 10 minutes to bloom.
- Melt the first measure of butter into the milk. A microwave does this quickly but you can also do this on the stove top.
- If you have a mixer with a dough hook: pour the milk and butter into the bowl and stir in the 1/4 Cup of sugar, salt, eggs, and bloomed yeast mixture. Get the dough hook going, and add the flour in portions until it has all been incorporated. Let knead for 3 minutes.
- If you don’t have a mixer with a dough hook: Combine all of the same ingredients together, incorporate the flour, and then knead on a floured counter top for about 5 minutes.
- Let the dough rise until doubled in size in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a tea towel (~45 minutes).
- Butter the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan.
- Assemble your sugar dredge by combining the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Put the melted butter in another bowl nearby.
- When the dough has risen, get it out of the bowl and punch it down. Cut it into about golf ball pieces and roll them into balls, you should end up with between 40 and 50 dough balls.
- Dip each ball into the butter and then dredge them in the cinnamon sugar.
- Tumble the dredged dough balls into the prepared pan and give it a bit of a rap on the counter so that they settle to the bottom.
- Make the glaze by combining the brown sugar, butter and cream in a small saucepan and bringing it all to a boil. Stir often, because it will burn easily.
- Remove the glaze from heat and pour it over the dough balls.
- Cover the pan with a cloth and let it rise until the dough takes up most of the height of the pan (~45 minutes).
- Bake in a 350° F oven until golden brown (~30 minutes).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before carefully flipping the monkey bread out onto a serving plate.
Monkey bread is so tasty and comforting. Cinnamon and sugar are like a hug, they just make a person feel good.
Why does monkey bread make for a great contribution to a potluck? It easily divides to feed a crowd. And if you aren’t scared of getting your fingers a little messy, it doesn’t need serving spoons; just pluck a gloriously caramel and cinnamon bite of bread (or two) from the stack. If you’ve got the chance, get some from the very bottom of the stack. They’ve got extra crispy bits from being exposed to the air during baking. Delightful!
Monkey bread is another lovely June Cleaver kind of retro rewind sort of recipe that shouldn’t be left in the past. For more retro fun, maybe try some cocktail sausages! We could put on our tea length dresses and have a Mad Men party!
Mr was too busy brunching on everyone else’s potluck contributions that he didn’t eat any of my monkey bread, so he has no Mr. says for this recipe. I’m going to have to make it again so that he can have some.
This time last year: Pounchki
And the year before: Spaghetti with Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Acorn Squash and Labneh