I have a fabulous recipe to share with you all, but first I want to take a moment to share a little of my heart.
I am a mom to three fabulous children.
As I was growing up I never really liked little kids, and when I got married at 20 yrs old I wasn’t in any hurry to have little ones drooling all over me. I had a 1o year plan that involved getting a degree at Ryerson, getting a job and making lots of money and THEN I would consider having kids, and only two of them. God had other plans for our lives and my heart, and I gave birth to my first son at the age of 22. Only 8 years shy of my 10 year plan, with no degree from Ryerson, a dead end job in retail and not much money to speak of.
We didn’t care.
Our sweet Josh was a joy and a blessing right from the start, and he was soon followed by a beautiful Émilie and then a blond-haired Cameron. By the tender age of 26 years old I was a stay-at home mother of 3 small children and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Of course there were times I wanted to kill myself, but most of the time I gave my life and my heart to the wonderful gifts we’d been given. Days were spent baking and crafting, reading and cuddling. I remember the temper tantrums, the stubborn will of a 3 year old, the kindergarten volunteering, the field trips, sporting events, stories and tales of school days when everyone got home, driving to music lessons, tears over mean friends or lost loves, being up all night caring and rocking a sick child, doctor’s appointments, broken bones and everything else that goes along with being a caregiver.
Here I was, a woman that had never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, giving my heart and soul to raise 3 beautiful children. Will wonders never cease?
Well, those days are gone and I sit here in my early (almost mid) forties with two children gone and one heading to university (but still living at home) in the fall. Gone are the days of artwork on the fridge and building forts. I am the mother of young adults now and it’s not an easy transition to say the least. As a parent you strive to raise independent thinkers with a heart full of confidence and a thirst for knowledge. You want your kids to build on the foundations you laid out for them so carefully and prayerfully, yet you have to watch from the sidelines with a zipped up mouth as they grow into their adulthood and make their own ways. I have had a rough week as I’ve struggled with foot-in-mouth disease as well as a bad chest infection and sinus infection.
I adore watching my kids bloom into the fabulous adults they are becoming. It’s such a joy to watch their lives unfold in front of them and they forge their way forward and find their own way in the world. I sit here and I pray with all of my heart that these sweet and wonderful children of ours know that we are eternally on their side, ready at a moment’s notice with bucketfuls of unconditional love, a door that is always open and a shoulder to cry on. Our lives are dedicated to our family we transition into a new phase that will soon include spouses and grandchildren, and our love is never failing and our prayers for them are just as big.
This has been my week and this is my heart.
Now, onto some Monkey Bread!
This dough is actually a brioche dough that I made the night before I prepared the entire recipe. You have to make the dough, roll it out and then after you cut it into little squares you freeze them. I did the dough making and the freezing in one day and baked the next. Technically you could make the dough even further ahead of time and freeze it for a few days. That would be a great plan if you’re making a lovely brunch and have several make-ahead recipes to put together.
I was just happy that I was finally able to use my tulip muffin papers for this gooey extravaganza. I have been saving them for a while and finally dug them out of my pantry drawer. You definitely need tulip papers (see above photo if you don’t know what they are) for these individual little monkey breads, since the dough rises quite high and bakes up even higher, and regular muffin papers aren’t really up to the task. I bought some of my tulip liners on Amazon and the others at the local grocery store. Most places carry them now and I’m a big fan. They make the best muffin liners ever! I’m going to be hitting up the store for some more and I plan to use them for cupcakes covered in fruit. It already sounds like a great plan to me. Also, this monkey bread is covered in piles of streusel topping before baking, and these liners held it in nicely. Normally I make a gigantic mess when I use streusel on my muffins, but this time I only made a little mess. Go me!
There is also some caramel sauce to be made as a dipping sauce for the individual gems, but don’t stress out. I’ve written about making caramel before but I’ll say it again. As long as you pay attention and don’t lose your cool, your caramel-making process should be easy as pie. Just don’t plan on making caramel at the same time you’re making dinner and talking on the phone. That’s a recipe for a surefire disaster.
Not only am I all about black and white photography today, but I’m also showing off my one and only vintage Fiestaware plate in what was probably the ugliest colour that company ever made. I have had that silly plate for probably 15 years now, and I think it has found its purpose at last. You will definitely be seeing more of this bad boy in future posts. That’s a promise.
1 batch Brioche dough (recipe to follow)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 batch Cinnamon Vanilla Streusel (recipe to follow)
1 batch Caramel Sauce (recipe to follow)
1/4 cup room temperature milk
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups bread flour (or strong flour)
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs at room temperature
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Combine the milk and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, and let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast becomes proofed (bubbly). Add the flour, sugar, salt and eggs to the bowl and mix on medium speed with a dough hook for about 20 minutes or until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Use a spatula and scrape down the bowl, then put the mixer on medium speed again and start adding the butter one tablespoon at a time, blending well between each addition.
Once the butter is fully incorporated, remove the dough from the bowl and place in another large bowl that has been sprayed with baking spray or buttered lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 3 hours. Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl, punch down any air bubbles and place back into a lightly oiled bowl for another hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Place the cut pieces of dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 40 minutes.
When you are ready to make the Monkey Bread, line 6 muffin cups with the tulip liner.
In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar and cinnamon. Add the frozen dough pieces to the sour cream mixture and make sure all the pieces are covered well. Scoop out the dough into the tulip liners and place the pan in a warm place to let the dough rise until doubled, about 2.5 hours.
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Once the dough has risen, sprinkle each monkey bread with the streusel topping, making sure to use it all up.
Bake the prepared monkey breads until they are a deep golden brown, or about 24-26 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Serve warm with small dishes of caramel sauce for dipping.
Cinnamon Vanilla Streusel~
6 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Place all of the ingredients except the butter in a bowl, blend well with a spoon. With a pastry cutter or a fork, blend in the softened butter and blend until the butter is rubbed into the dry ingredients and looks shaggy.
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy (35%) cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
In a heavy bottom saucepan, place the sugar and the water and stir gently until combined. Cook over high heat. The sugar mixture will come to a boil and will start to change to an amber colour. Do not stir the mixture at any time, but make sure to rinse the edges of the pot with cold water and a pastry brush if crystals start to form.
Once the syrup starts to turn amber, tip the pot occasionally to make sure the caramel is continuing to cook evenly. Let the mixture boil until it becomes and nice deep amber colour.
Remove from heat and slowly add the cream. Stir until well blended, and then add the butter.
Set aside to cool to room temperature or slightly warm to serve with the monkey bread.
It can also be stored in the fridge and reheated in the microwave if made ahead of time.
(recipe lightly adapted from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook)