Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

 

Happy Saturday! It's been a while since I've posted up a recipe so I thought I'd throw one your way on this Memorial Day weekend! The other day, I had a sudden craving for monkey bread, which for those of you who don't know, is sticky, soft pieces of bread and usually paired with a sweet icing glaze. We have a small Monkey Bread store on the boardwalk nearby and it is just heaven. I actually think I prefer them over Cinnabon! :O

Anyway, I decided to make pull apart bread because... SWEET, CINNAMON-SUGAR BREAD. And you just pull them apart like sheets of paper! I used a slightly adapted recipe from here. I didn't even have the ingredients to make a glaze, but it didn't need it (and you'll feel less guilty). I'm so glad I tried this recipe because it was SO DELICIOUS! So much in fact that it was gone by the end of the night hehe.

My grandma and dad paired it with their morning coffee and tea, but it is also great paired with milk. There's something about pulling cinnamon-sugar bread apart and having a cup of cold milk that just screams KID! It just hits the spot. YUM!

 Yields: One 9x5x3 inch loaf pan

Yields: One 9x5x3 inch loaf pan

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (filling)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (filling)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (filling)

PROCEDURE:

  1. In your stand mixer, mix 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. Whisk together eggs. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt milk and butter until butter is melted.  Remove from the heat and add water. Let mixture stand for two minutes, or until the mixture registers 120 to 130°F. Add vanilla.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. It’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together. Keep mixing. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. Resist the urge to add more flour.
  4. Place the dough is a large, greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. While the dough rises, prepare your filling. Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon and melt 1/4 cup butter. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.  
  6. Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be about 12-inches tall and 20-inches long (I used a ruler to measure).
  7. Brush melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  8. Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan, on its side. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.... UGH I KNOW. We just have to wait a little longer.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  A dark, golden brown color will ensure that the center is cooked well.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Invert twice so that it is right-side up on a clean board. Serve warm with coffee, tea, or milk!

TIPS: 

  • I like to activate my yeast before I mix so that it ensures the dough to rise. Whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water (between 105 and 115°F). Add a pinch of granulated sugar and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and frothy. Add to the flour mixture when you're just about to combine both wet and and dry ingredients.
  • My family doesn't like nutmeg so I left that aside. You can add 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to your cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  • When you're just about to stack the squares, it can get VERY sticky and might have a tendency to stick to your countertop. Make sure you are able to lift the dough before you add your filling!
  • You may refrigerate your dough and make the bread a day after - just allow 30 minutes for the dough to thaw on your countertop before rolling it out. Waiting a day also makes it easier (less sticky) when rolling out your dough. But i just couldn't wait...

Best served the day is made... let's be real, will it really last longer than that? Enjoy! 

 

Homemade Milano Cookies

 

IT'S FRIDAY! That means I made it through the week and therefore I deserve a treat... right? Sure. ;) Anyway, I remember always eating Milanos when I was younger and the other day I was really craving some of these cookies! Everything is better homemade so I decided to try to make them at home. I used a slightly adapted recipe from here. I'm a little more into savory foods than sweet so I left a few cookies without the chocolate. You'll have to give it a try and see for yourself!

 
 
 Yields: Approximately 3 dozen cookies

Yields: Approximately 3 dozen cookies

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 oz of your favorite chocolate (I used 3 oz dark & 3oz milk)
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks of salted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 whole egg (room temperature)
  • 1 egg white (room temperature)

PROCEDURE

  1. Preheat your oven to 325° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix on low speed until a creamy consistency. Incorporate each egg and vanilla extract one at a time and leave on high speed until it becomes light and fluffy. Remove from the stand and fold in flour slowly until just incorporated.
  3. Cut an inch off the end of a ziplock bag and place the batter inside. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet, measuring 2 inches long. Bake in the oven for about 14-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. Transfer onto cooling racks and repeat for the rest of the batter. Make sure to let the cookies cool completely before adding the chocolate. 
  4. Separate the cookies into pairs of similar sizes and begin making your filling. In a double boiler, melt your desired chocolate (this is where you can add lemon zest, orange zest or mint extract). Let the chocolate sit and cool for 15 minutes before you begin making your cookies. Spoon onto one side of the cookie pair and place the other one on top. Repeat with the remaining cookies, let the chocolate set, and enjoy!

TIPS

  • If you forget to soften your butter ahead of time, you can cut the butter into cubes and have it sit on your countertop next to your preheated oven - it'll soften much quicker
  • If you only have unsalted butter, just add one teaspoon of salt
  • You can add orange zest, lemon zest, or mint extract to the filing for different flavors
 
 
 

Muffins Anyone?

 
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Yesterday, I decided to make some banana chocolate chip muffins! Bananas were on sale this week, so my mom thought it would be a good idea to buy three bundles cause why not, right? Well we still had some bananas leftover from the last grocery visit so we pretty much had a whole kitchen of bananas. The great thing with bananas, other than the nutrients they hold, is that they're "in season" year round! These muffins are easy to make and quite delicious! ;)

 
 
 
 Yields: 12 muffins

Yields: 12 muffins

Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 
  • 3 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 large eggs

Topping (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
 
 

Procedure:
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Place all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips) in one large bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (lightly beaten eggs, mashed bananas, melted butter, and vanilla extract).Slowly fold your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Scoop the batter onto lined muffin tins and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before you dig in!

 

Topping (optional):
Brush the melted butter on top of the muffins then dip into the cinnamon sugar mixture!

Tips:
- Let the butter cool before mixing it with the eggs
- You can add nuts or substitute for the chocolate chips 
- Don't over mix your batter - it will lead to a rubbery bread

 
 
 

Drink up!

 

Happy almost spring! I'm one of those people who will drink an iced beverage anytime of the year, whether it's a smoothie or a cold lemonade. For example, this past winter, I ordered an iced coffee or an iced latte every time I went to a coffee shop. However, there are a few times during the season when I'm craving something warm and that happened to be the other day after I finished shoveling all the snow in my driveway. I decided to make homemade hot chocolate. YUM! After you taste it, you'll want to make it all year round! 

 
 
 Yields: 2 servings

Yields: 2 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

Homemade whipped cream

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar (optional)


Hot chocolate

  • 60g (about 1/2 cup) dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups 2% milk
 

PROCEDURE:
Make sure your heavy whipping cream is chilled. Pour the cream and the sugar into a bowl. Next, whisk your arms away. You could even skip arm day because you'll definitely get a workout by doing this. Keep whisking until soft peaks form.

Next, in a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil under meadium-high heat. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the heat and add the chocolate and the cornstarch. Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted and the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour your hot chocolate in a mug, spoon your whipped cream on top, stir, and enjoy! 

TIPS:
- I added the sugar because it gives the whipped cream a little added sweetness.
- It helps if both the bowl and the heavy whipping cream is chilled before whisking.
- If you'd like a slightly thicker hot chocolate, reduce your milk by 1/2 cup - 1 cup.

 
 
 
 
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