Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Yes, more pumpkin. I promise, this one WASN'T my idea!!!!

It never actually got flipped out of the pan. Eh well.

I got a text from my friend Molly the other day. Wanna bake pumpkin monkey bread for band? Do I?! Sheesh, that's the best kind of text in my book!

I taught Molly my kneeding technique. "Just pretend it's (a professor)'s face, and smash it!"

So when rehearsal was canceled for the day, we spent it making pumpkin monkey bread. It was a pretty amazing way to spend a 70 degree free afternoon. Being 70 degrees and all, we couldn't possibly stay in the apartment while the dough rose. Plus her dog kept wanting to pee on the carpet, so we figured it would be best if we took her for a walk.

Holy crud that dog is cute. Not too bright sometimes, but freakishly cute.

The cow as white as milk!
Now, VT is in the middle of freakin nowhere. (I like to pretend I have real readers who don't know these things, rather than just friends reading. Maybe I do have real people reading. Hello real people!) Anyway, I'm from the city. We have lots of houses and people and cars and shopping malls and loud noises and light pollution and no stars. Blacksburg is a little different. There's cows here. Like, 20 feet behind my friend's apartment. Which is in the same complex I lived in last year. I smelled cow poop every morning last year on my way to the bus. Crazy.

 Also, sheep. And horses. And...a llama?!

Yeah, I'm a llama, so what?

Yep, there's a llama that lives in one of the fields next to Foxridge. I looked it up, apparently he's a guard llama. Because llamas can kill a coyote. Apparently. Which means we have coyotes in Blacksburg. I don't buy that, I'm voting he's guarding against drunk college kids.

And then we found a giant grub on the sidewalk. It was vaguely exciting, but I mostly just wanted to show off my artsy picture of it. I mean, look at the focus? I think it's pretty cool. I was having a really good picture day.

Anyway, we did do some baking too. So for those of you less familiar with the concept, monkey bread is a sweet bread made by squishing blobs of dough into a bundt pan, so that once it's baked, you can just pull off a hunk. My mom always makes it using canned biscuit dough, which makes it super duper easy. I've never actually made monkey bread from scratch until now. It's just as easy, I promise.

Daisy may or may not be trying to disguise herself as cinnamon sugar.
So the basic concept to make the dough stick, then come apart again is to dip in in amazingness. In other words, butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Three of my favorite things in the world. Then you toss in in the pan, bake it up aaaand...

Oh my gosh, heaven.

I mean, monkey bread in general is good, but this stuff was terrible. I could have eaten the whole loaf. It smelled so good. Which is a bad thing.

So off to band we went, super proud of ourselves for not eating the whole thing in the car. We showed up just as rehearsal was starting, so we couldn't show off our creation quite yet. But alas, when we got into our spots on the field, disaster. In the form of cake. Ooey gooey, still a little warm, chocolate cake. Suddenly, nobody cared about our pumpkin.

Luckly for us, the digestive memory of the average horn is about 20 minutes, so by the end of rehearsal, nobody remembered or cared about the darn cake, and monkey bread was the star of the show!

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp plus 2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2 tbs plus 6 tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
2/3 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup plus 1 cup sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) yeast

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and spices minus 2 tsp cinnamon.

In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, water, pumpkin, 2 tbs melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and yeast.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in the wet ingredients. Gently stir until the dough comes together. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Spray a clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
Mix together remaining cinnamon and sugar, and melt the butter for the coating. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray. Once the dough has risen, shape the ball into a large rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into roughly equal-sized pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
Dip each ball of dough into the melted butter and then the cinnamon-sugar mixture, layering them in the bundt pan as you go. Cover the bundt pan and let the dough rise again for another hour.
Bake at 350 until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out on to a platter.

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