05 October 2012

Chock Full of Fruit Monkey Bread

Now that I have made friends with yeast, I am a little addicted.  I want to make everything with yeast in it.  I am having to rein myself in.  One plus side of yeast-risen goods is that, although they are time consuming, many of them don't require much hands-on time.  That is an important factor right now, since my kitchen time is still limited due to my back injury.

My stepdad is a freak for anything resembling a breakfast roll, cinnamon roll, sticky bun, etc....His major criticism is if said breakfast breads do not have any nuts or raisins.  I tend to stick with nuts since my co-workers are often my taste testers and one of them is vehemently anti-raisin.  I on the other hand love raisins with a passion, so I made this bread with myself, my stepdad, and my co-worker all in mind.  Since I didn't actually mix the raisins into the dough, so could pick them out, but there were still tons of them for those of us who are in the pro-raisin camp.

The stuff is super easy.  Because it's monkey bread, there is no rolling involved and I let my mixer do all the kneading for me.  I just pinched off little balls of dough, rolled 'em in cinnamon sugar, and dropped em in the dish.  I sprinkled on a good layer of fruit between each layer of dough to make sure there was some in every layer and stuck to every dough ball.  I also used dried fruit, so there was no endless chopping either.

The glaze I made turned out to be a weird color -- sort of an unnatural ochre-yellow.  You could use something else, but the color was such a fall color I decided it was perfect and went with it anyway.

Oh, and by the way, I sent about a fourth of the monkey bread home with my stepdad in a big baggie.  He ate almost the whole thing in one sitting.  He didn't even take it out of the bag.  He wholeheartedly approved.

Chock Full of Fruit Monkey Bread
makes 1 loaf

Print me, Please!!!

for the monkey bread:
3/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar + 1/2 cup sugar, separated
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, separated
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg (2 1/2 tsp) rapid rise yeast
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used raisins, apples, apricots, and dates)

for the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T molasses

To make the monkey bread:  In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter over medium heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the mixture reaches 125°.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, salt, and yeast on low speed with the paddle attachment.  Add the warm milk mixture, increase the speed to medium, and beat until well blended.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and beat until well blended, about 1 more minute.  The dough will be sticky, but won't stick to your finger if you poke it.

Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel.  Let stand in a warm place until risen to almost double the size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease a loaf pan.  Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl.  Pinch off pieces of dough and roll them into balls.  Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and drop into the prepared loaf pan.  Once you have a layer of dough balls covering the bottom of your pan, sprinkle on half of the dried fruit.  Add another layer of dough balls rolled in cinnamon sugar and sprinkle with the rest of the fruit.  Add another layer of dough balls until the pan is full.

Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the glaze, whisk together all the glaze ingredients.  Once smooth, pour over the monkey bread.
Serve either warm or room temperature.

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