Monday, October 1, 2012

Monkey bread

I've typed, deleted, and typed some more.  But, I deleted that, too.  I think it's finally happened.  I think a recipe has rendered me speechless.

I mean, not completely speechless.  Just speechless enough that when I think about it, my brain gets all jumbled and synapses fire in wonky ways and make it damn near impossible to describe food.

Think city-wide blackout.  The power is out in Katyville, folks.  (Yes, if I were a city or town, I think I'd be a -ville.)

It all started so simply.  Bake a treat for a tailgate.

And make it sweet and totally indulgent.  Because a hearty and healthy breakfast strata was already on tap, and there's nothing worse than too many healthy things at a tailgate.  Mm hmm.  I went ahead and said what all of you were thinking.

Monkey bread seemed to fit the bill perfectly.  I'd heard tails tales about the poppable breakfast pastry but never tried it myself.  And it wasn't the kind of thing one makes without a crowd to feed and/or a truckload of willpower.

Flakey biscuit dough divided into small bites, rolled in cinnamon sugar, packed together and bathed in a gooey brown sugar and butter?  How bad can that be?

Answer: Not bad in any way, shape, form, or universe.  Ever.  Never ever bad.  Never!

And that was where my mind went blank.  The second I sunk my teeth into the first piece of monkey bread.  It's like my taste buds pushed the mute button on my brain.  I could not process a single thought, no matter how hard I tried.  There was nothing else.  Only monkey bread.

Sweet gracious, that monkey bread.  Mind-blowing!  Intoxicating!  asdfjkl; ...that, too.

(Still speechless.  I've come back to this post on three different days and been tongue-tied every single time.)

All I know is that I just want more monkey bread in my life.  I want to taste it and devour it and love it until it's gone.

And then I want to make another batch to share with the people I love.  And we'll all live happily ever after as a bunch of misfits with sticky fingers who root for a college football team whose future is very questionable.  But we won't care.  Because monkey bread makes everything right in the universe.

One year ago: Pasta with pesto, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts
Two years ago: St. Louis gooey butter cake

Monkey Bread
(recipe adapted from Pillsbury's website)
-makes 1 cake

A few notes: I omitted the walnuts and raisins due to the preferences of fellow tailgaters.  Feel free to use them or even try pecans or dried cranberries.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cans (16.3oz each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 350°F.   Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube or Bundt cake pan with shortening or cooking spray. In a gallon sized resealable plastic bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.  Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters.  Roll quarters into balls and toss into bag with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Seal and shake bag to coat.

Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces.  In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.  Bake 28 to 32 (more like 36 for me) minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center.  Cool in pan 10 minutes... be patient, this is important to do if you don't want a Mt. St. Helens incident like I had.  Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve.  Serve warm, dig in, and enjoy!

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