Archive for the 'breakfast' Category

Sticky Cinnamon Pull-apart Monkey Bread

pull apart monkey bread 1

I made this out in Tofino over spring break. I meant to tell you immediately, but then didn’t… and even though it’s far from the weekend now, I’m thinking about it and don’t want to forget again. This is like cinnamon buns for those intimidated by the thought of making cinnamon buns… you start with balls of dough, dip them in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then pile them in a Bundt pan to bake, then pull apart and eat by the bite. It’s like a pile of Timbits, amalgamated with butter and sugar.

pull apart monkey bread 4
pull apart monkey bread 3

You upend it onto a plate, letting any excess stickiness contribute to its gilded sides, then splatter it with a quick icing sugar drizzle and a fork. If you’re not so much into making dough, you could start with the kind of frozen dough they sell at the grocery store to bake your own loaves and buns, but it’s worth giving this smooth, sweet dough a go.

pull apart monkey bread 2

Sticky Cinnamon Pull-apart Monkey Bread

1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk, warmed
2 large eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. salt

Cinnamon-sugar dip:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

To make the dough, put the warm water in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand 5 minutes, or until foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, toss it and buy fresh yeast.)

In a small bowl, mix the warm milk and eggs together with a fork. Add to the yeast mixture along with 3 cups of the flour and the remaining sugar; mix until well blended and sticky. Add the butter and remaining flour and stir or beat with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until you have a soft, sticky dough; knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. It will still be slightly tacky. Place back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Melt the butter in one bowl, and in another stir together the sugars and cinnamon. Pull the dough apart into balls the size of a small plum. Dip each ball of dough into the melted butter, then douse in the sugar mixture, rolling to coat completely. Place in a greased Bundt pan, piling them on top of each other.

Cover and let rise for an hour while you preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.

Invert onto a plate, then whisk together the icing sugar, milk and vanilla and drizzle overtop. Serve warm. Serves 8.

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April 21 2015 | bread and breakfast | 6 Comments »

Loaded, Crunchy-Topped Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins 2

Today’s forecast: a fierce southwesterly, piles of cookbook edits, earaches all around coughs that won’t quit. On the upside: a batch of warm muffins. Welcome to spring break in Tofino.

We’ve run out into the storm twice for essentials – coffee, Pringles (I’m easily convinced when under the weather) and meds – and both times had to retreat out of our wet clothes back in to PJs upon walking in the door. The second time I cranked the oven on first, before taking off my yellow rubber rainjacket, craving the warmth and comfort of a working oven plus a buttery, crunchy-topped muffin to go with my rained-in coffee. Generally I make muffins with grainier flours and healthier oils, but have you seen it outside? It’s a day for cupcakes passed off as muffins.

grey beach

And yes it’s pouring and blowing, but things are green and growing…


In the freezer there was a flat of blueberries left over from last year – the very best kind for baking, I think, versus the bagged kind that come already frozen and with ice crystals that can turn your muffins blue-green. And so when W asked if I could PLEASE JUST MAKE SOMETHING NORMAL THIS TIME.. WITH NOTHING WEIRD IN IT? I promised to make muffins of the Tim Horton’s variety.

blueberry muffin Collage

This is a pretty basic muffin formula – the cupcakey kind, really, with a buttery crumb and crunchy top made even crunchier by a sprinkle of sugar before going into the oven. You could make a rubble of butter-flour-sugar for streusel-topped muffins, or use other berries or chopped fruit in place of the blueberries, or sub in some tweedier flour for the all-purpose. I had a lemon on the countertop and so grated some zest into the butter and sugar; this is entirely optional, but very delicious – you could instead add a big shake of cinnamon, or orange zest, or whatever else you like in your blueberry muffins. (PS: This is also a great way to use up milk or yogurt that’s heading past its prime, or that half & half you stashed in the freezer that’s perfectly fine, but separated enough that no one wants to put it in their coffee.)

muffin Collage

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

1/2 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
grated zest of half a lemon (optional)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk or (3/4 cup thin yogurt)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or dump in as many as you like)
sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar (with the lemon zest, if you’re using it) until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Add half the flour along with the baking powder and salt and stir just until combined; stir in the milk, then the remaining flour along with the berries, still frozen if they began that way.

Divide the thick batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups, filling them full; if you like, sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Serve warm. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

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March 20 2015 | bread and breakfast | 7 Comments »

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