Sticky Cinnamon Pull-apart Monkey Bread

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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.

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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.

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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 »

Pulled Beef Poutine

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Hockey playoffs! You’re gonna need some poutine.

browning roast
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Rather than make a packet of gravy (St Hubert is authentic), I like to just go ahead and make a big pot of sloppy pulled beef, which generates its own gravy. You’ll need a pot roast or brisket – something that has tons of tough connective tissues that requires a low, slow braise to break down. At the end it will be ultra-tender and flavourful, soft enough to pull apart with forks.

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Leftovers make for good sandwiches, served on soft white buns. I figure when I do a roast I may as well do a big one and have leftovers – it takes exactly the same amount of time and effort, with leftovers to keep in the fridge or freeze for another day.

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Pulled Beef Poutine

This works just as well in the slow cooker – brown it first if you like, or just toss it all in – and you can get away with cutting back on the stock by half or more.

canola or olive oil, for cooking
2-3 lb. beef pot roast, such as blade, cross rib or brisket
salt and pepper
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Potato wedges:
3-4 russet or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into thin wedges
canola oil

1 cup cheese curds
green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 275F.

Set a heavy, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Pat the beef dry with paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper; brown the meat on all sides in the pot. Push it to the side (or remove it and set it aside) and add the onion to the pot; cook for a few minutes, until starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Return the meat to the pan and add the stock, barbecue sauce, wine and Worcestershire. Cover and braise in the oven for 3 hours – or put everything into a slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

When the meat is done, pull it apart with two forks right in the pot, and turn the oven up to 425F. Put the potatoes on a heavy baking sheet, drizzle generously with oil, toss with your hands to coat the wedges well and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

Top the fries with warm beef and sauce, cheese curds and green onion. Serve immediately.

Serves 4, with extra beef left over for sandwiches.

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April 16 2015 | beef | 5 Comments »

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