{10.23.2011} Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Oh yeah, it is PUMPKIN time!!!

I have a serious love for anything pumpkin.  So when fall comes around, my craving for pumpkin related baked goods goes crazy!!!  When I saw THIS recipe for Pumpkin Pull-Apart Monkey Bread, my heart skipped a beat!  What a wonderful idea.

Fairly simple, pretty and super yummy.  It is a fun alternative to a cinnamon roll.  I sliced it into wedges like any other bundt cake, but you could totally go crazy and pull each piece apart.  I allowed my family to spoon on their own glaze to their particular preference.  It is yummy with or without the glaze.

I always seem to use a two day process with any type of raised dough recipe.  Let’s face it, I’m lazy and don’t like to mix, wait for it to raise, punch and let it raise again.  That is a lot of wait time and I’m impatient.  Especially, if it is something I would like to make for breakfast or brunch.  So I adapted the recipe for a two day rise and added a few of my own little changes.

Pumpkin Monkey Bread
adapted from: lauren’s latest


1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar (divided)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
up to 3 cups bread flour

Sugar coating
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Maple Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a small bowl, stir together warm milk, water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes while you gather your ingredients and supplies.  Mixture should be active and foamy.  If not, your yeast is no longer good or your liquids were too hot.  The milk and water should be just warm to the touch (105 – 115°).

In large stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix activated yeast mixture, remaining sugar, salt, egg, butter, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 cup of flour. With mixer on, slowly pour in remaining flour bit by bit until dough pulls away from the sides and is sticky but when touched doesn’t really stick to your hands.  This may take 5-10 minutes.  I used just shy of 3 cups of flour.  Use as little or as much flour you need to reach this stage.  Dough should just slightly stick to your finger.  Now, turn mixer on for 4-5 minutes to knead. Lightly grease dough and bowl and cover to rise.

Same day variation:  place in warm, draft-free area to rise for 1 hour.

Overnight variation: place bowl in fridge until needed the next day.  Remove dough from fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding.

Lightly grease a bundt pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside. Create a coating station by placing sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and melting the butter in another bowl. Punch down dough. Tear off small pieces about 1 tablespoon in size and lightly roll into a ball between hands. Roll in butter, coat in cinnamon sugar and place into prepared pan. Repeat until no dough remains. If there is extra butter or sugar, pour over the top of the dough pieces in the pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise another hour in a warm spot in your kitchen.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake monkey bread for 25 minutes or until the top begins to brown slightly. Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes.

While monkey bread is cooling, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, maple syrup, milk and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth.

Remove warm monkey bread onto serving dish. Best served warm, but still yummy at room temperature.  Drizzle with glaze or serve on the side.


Small note:

Do not make the mistake of thinking you can ‘steal’ one little peice from the bottom of the pan before you turn it out.  People will NOTICE!  🙂


October 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

{8.11.2011} banana muffins

Oh yeah, LOVE banana bread, banana muffins, banana anything!!!  I’m trying a new banana muffin recipe.  I didn’t want a cake-like muffin.  Rather I wanted it to be more fiber filled and lower fat.  Most of the sweetness comes from the banana and the crumb topping.

It is such a light and airy muffin for having so much fiber and heavy grains in it.  Adore that.

Banana Muffins
adapted from: King Arthur Flour
Makes: 12 muffins

1/2 cup yogurt
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large ripe bananas (mashed)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup All-Purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a standard muffin tin, or line with papers and grease the papers.

Combine topping ingredients with fork and place in refrigerator until needed.

Combine the yogurt, egg, oil, mashed banana, sugar, and oats in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.

Whisk the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Scoop into the prepared muffin cups, filling them almost full. An ice cream scoop works well.

Sprinkle muffins with the topping.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 24 minutes, until the muffins are set and browned. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely before storing.

August 11, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

4.10.2011 Lemon Scented Pull Apart Bread

Lemon Scented Pull Apart Bread

Oh my!

I will confess, I am not a lemon fan.  But this bread sounded so A.MaZ.iNG that I just had to give it a shot.  I am so glad I did, it is simply heavenly!!!

I was given quite a few lemons, so I went searching for some sort of “light” lemon flavored something.  When I came across the recipe for this coffee cake from Flo Baker via Leite’s Culinaria blog, I knew I finally found the perfect recipe.  While Flo calls it a coffee cake, to me it is bread since it is doughy like bread and shaped like a loaf.

This bread is amazing.  It has these lovely, light, flakey layers that you just peel apart.  You take one, then two and before you know it, half the loaf is GONE!  Yum.  I thought about skipping the cream cheese glaze because the bread is wonderful on it’s own, but decided to at least give it a shot.  It was definitely a perfect addition.  Depending on my mood (or ingredients), I may or may not add the glaze.  I really loved it both ways.

I will share the few changes I made and some tips I learned.

  • After the first rise, I put the dough in the fridge overnight.  I didn’t want to spend all day on this bread.  This is a good way to have fresh bread in the morning.  This also helped with the stickiness of the dough (and man is it ever sticky).  Highly recommend this step.
  • I only used the zest of one LARGE lemon.  I didn’t have any oranges and like I said, I didn’t want a strong lemon taste.  It was perfect for me.  I may have had 3 tablespoons total of the lemon zest.
  • I added some vanilla powder to the lemon sugar paste.  Not sure it made any difference, but it did smell lovely.
  • If you refrigerate your dough, pull it out and let it warm up before working with it.  It will roll easier.  If it keeps pulling and shrinking, let it sit 10 minutes and try again.
  • After you cut your 5 – 4 inch strips (get out your ruler, very important).  In order to stack, I would pull and lift from the long side.  If you try to pull it up from the short side it will make your strip long and skinny.  By lifting and pull from the long side, you keep the width of the strips as you stack them.
  • When you cut your 2 inch by 4 inch rectangles, be exact!  As they stack into the loaf pan they need to be even so when they rise you have an even top.  Lesson learned.  I had one stack about an inch taller.
  • I will use a larger pan next time.  I really got an amazing raise and I think it is because it was refrigerated overnight.  I’ll use a 10×5 loaf pan next time.
  • I didn’t want a glaze, so I left out the 1 tablespoon of milk in the frosting.  This created a thicker icing that I could pipe on (using a zip top sandwich bag with the corner snipped off).

Lemon Scented Pull Apart Bread

adapted from Lemon-Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake


For the sweet yeast dough
  • About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk (I used soy milk)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
For the lemon paste filling
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (1 LARGE lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter , melted
For the tangy cream cheese icing
  • 3 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Make the sweet yeast dough

1. Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.

2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

3. Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

4. At this point you can cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  When you are ready to make the bread, remove from fridge and let rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.  Make lemon paste filling while resting.

Make the lemon paste filling

4. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, vanilla powder and lemon zest. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby.

Make the bread

5. Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.) Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.

6. Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking.) Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Or, lightly coat the pan with nonstick spray.

7. Bake the bread until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.  Center of bread should read around 200°F with instant read thermometer.

Make the tangy cream cheese icing

9. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.  Place in zip top sandwich bag and cut corner off to use as piping bag.

10. To remove the bread from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the bread, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.

11. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing.  Pipe icing over the top of the loaf.

12. Serve the bread warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.

April 10, 2011 at 11:07 am 2 comments

1.24.2011 – Multi-grain 100% Whole Wheat

I am super excited about this bread.  It is my first EVER 100% whole wheat bread.  Up to this point, I have always mixed in some {bad} white flour.  Why?  Because whole wheat has a tendency to be very bitter and MUCH denser.  I absolutely adore multi-grain WW bread and I finally bit the bullet and gave it a shot.

A long time ago, I was fortunate to win the Artisan Breads Every Day book by Peter Reinhart.  Now, I am no bread expert, by any means, but I did start a very obsessive and intensely crazy quest to be one more than a year ago.  Ha.  That hasn’t happened.  In fact, my poor little starter hasn’t been used in over a year.  I’m sorry Harvey, but at least I still keep you fed.  The only thing I keep making are english muffins with the extra starter.

Anyhoo, my first attempt at a recipe from this amazing book is the Every Day 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich bread.  As I said, I’m no expert and have a feeling I really over worked and over floured this bread.  But it is very forgiving so I ended up with a nice little loaf anyway.  I added some multi-grain cereal, pepitas and sunflower seeds to the mix.  Just some of my favorite things in a bread.

I love peanut butter sandwiches and this provided the perfect bread.  It is quite soft, light and airy for a wheat bread.  Almost Wonder bread soft.  Mmmmmmm.

January 24, 2011 at 8:20 am 3 comments

12.28.2010 – Cinnamon Walnut Carrot Loaf

Ok… SERIOUSLY this bread is awesome.  It could be that I am just craving some cinnamon right now, but I love this carrot bread!  I did some major tweeking of THIS recipe.  The holiday is over, so back to my normal healthy, lightened up baking.  Maybe that is why I love this so much.  It isn’t heavy or overly sweet.  Hmmmmmm.  It doesn’t matter, it is really yummy.

I couldn’t wait for it to cool!  I know, it will probably taste even better, but who could wait?

Cinnamon Walnut Carrot Loaf

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup Splenda
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce (2 snack cups)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch salt
1 & 1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Topping (optional):
extra chopped walnuts
turbinato (natural cane) sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat together sugars, canola oil, applesauce, vanilla and eggs. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt into bowl and gently fold to combine.  Fold in carrots and walnuts until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. If using topping, sprinkle top with extra walnuts and turbinato sugar.

Bake on middle rack for 60 minutes, or until it tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

December 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm 1 comment

12.12.2010 – pumpkin bread recipe {in progress}

I’m working on making my PERFECT and ULITMATE pumpkin bread.  It has to have EVERYTHING I love.  Well, the recipe is not quite there yet, but this was pretty yummy.

Almost there… I need a better crumb topping and how did I forget the WALNUTS???

I’ll share a recipe when I finally have my Ultimate Pumpkin Bread.

December 12, 2010 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

9.7.2010 – mint brownies


THIS has to be my favorite brownie recipe.

I have even stopped looking for a better one.  It works everytime and it is so versatile.  I made mint brownies by using mint chocolate chips.  I have did make 2 changes to the original recipe, only because I felt they were a bit too sweet.

I decreased the sugar to 1.5 cups and I only used 1 cup of mint chocolate chips.

I’d probably still use 2 cups of regular chocolate chips, but the mint is really strong, so I only went with 1 cup.

You MUST try these!

September 7, 2010 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

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