Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Cook book crazy!

Okay, okay, I admit, my name is Rebecca and I am a cook book addict!  If my collection of fabulous cook books gets much bigger it is going to rival Nigella's!  I have shelves all over my home filled with cook books.  The one above is full of the 'new' books.  I have collected them since I was a kid - getting them for gifts, finding them in second hand stores, school fairs...you name it!  I read recipes like most people read books. 

And lets face it, when life gets a little bit tough its nice to have something so pleasurable to lose oneself in.  I am an 'active relaxer' so time spent in my kitchen is like therapy for me! 

Anyhoo, here is my latest acquisition:

Now I have to admit that I hunted this book down, as I had heard about this gorgeous delight called 'monkey bread' and I was desperate to make it.  I found the book on Amazon in the end and low and behold, the cover photo is actually a picture of the monkey bread.  I have since made it and it really is super yummy, but you really must make it for a crowd of people - least you be tempted to eat too much!

Monkey bread!
Monkey Bread Recipe

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package instant yeast
3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

Brown Sugar Coating:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 American stick) butter, melted

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

1.  For the dough:  Make sure your oven rack is in the medium position in your oven and pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.  When the oven reaches this temperature, turn it off.  Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray (or oil on a paper towel), butter a bundt pan (ring mold cake tin) with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set the bowl and pan aside.
2.  Mix the milk, water, melted butter, granulated sugar and yeast together in a bowl or large measuring cup.  Stir the flour and slat together in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook (otherwise use a normal large bowl and the dough attachments on a hand mixer etc.).  With the mixer on slow, add the milk mixture, slowly!  Once the dough has come together, increase the mixer speed until the dough is smooth and shiny (about 6 -7 minutes).  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead to form a smooth, round ball.  Place the dough in the bowl and spray with dough with cooking spray (lightly!), cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the warm, turned off oven until the dough has doubled in size - I just put a tea towel over mine and put it in front of the heater and it worked just as well! (about 1 hour). 
3. For the sugar coating:  While the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Place the melted butter a second bowl.  Set aside.
4. To form the bread:  Remove the dough from the bowl and pat into a rough 8 inch square.  Cut the dough into 64 pieces (give or take!).  Roll each piece into a ball, dip in the melted butter then the brown sugar mix, then layer the balls in the baking tin.  Stagger the seams where the dough balls meet as you build the layers.
5.  Cover the tin with plastic wrap and place in the oven until the balls have risen 1 to 2 inches above the pan (about 50 to 70 minutes).
6.  Remove the pan from the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the plastic wrap (very important, ha ha) and bake until the top of the bread is a deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges - about 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter and let cool for about 10 minutes.
7.  For the glaze:  While the bread cools, whisk the powdered sugar and milk together in a bowl until smooth.  Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the warm monkey bread, letting it run over the top and down the sides.  Serve warm - nom nom!!

Now I know the recipe sounds quite complicated, but if you want to impress guests or loved ones at brunch on the weekend, then this recipe is divine!  We always have ours served with a bit of protein (scrambled eggs usually) and fresh fruit salad. 

Becks xxx


  1. The Monkey Bread does look very tasty, thanks for sharing the recipe. I've just read your previous post - I do hope your son is feeling well again - what a worry for you:)

    1. Thanks for your kind thoughts and wishes :-) We still are not sure (or rather the doctors) what is wrong with our son's heart exactly, so there are lots of visits to the hospital for tests and talks. I always turn to cosy things - like baking - during such times. It would probably be better if I just went out and weeded my garden - far less fattening! I hope your week is going well hon? Becks xxx

  2. Hi Becks - I think cooking and baking feels so cosy and nurturing. I also have loads of cookery books. My favourite is my Nanny's which she used for all the lovely food she used to bake us. It has all her hand written recipes interleved in it as well. In November when I make my Christmas puddings I take it and her photo into the kitchen and prepare the puddings from her recipe. There is so much more to cooking than just cooking isn't there!
    You must be worried sick about your son. I hope the doctors find out what is wrong with him soon because the uncertainty must be pulling you apart. Thinking of you, Lily. xxx

    1. Hi Lily,

      Oh what a magical thing you do (especially with the photo too) - that is so cool! What a lovely family heirloom to have all those family recipes.

      Its been really stressful with my son - I find myself getting teary far too easily, but such is life ah? Hopefully happy times are around the corner. Take care hon. xxx

  3. I love cookbooks too. Monkey bread was one of Oprah's favourite foods and I remember her mentioning it quite often over the years. I always thought one day when I had time I would hunt out a recipe. Do not need to now! Thank you.

    1. Ah ha! Thank you so much for reminding me about Oprah. I could not remember where I had heard about it - just that I was desperate to try it. OMG am I going senile so young? Thanks hon! Have a great weekend. Becks xxx

  4. Wow hon, that is a fabulous collection of cookbooks! Thank you so much for sharing the monkey bread recipe - I think my little monkey's might enjoy it! I had to laugh - seeing all your beautiful books .... thinking of my edition of Edmonds that is so tatty with pages falling out, and needing to be permanently housed within a gladbag - but I can't throw it out - I love it too much. And each edition they do they change the recipes so I wouldn't have any of my faves. Clearly that cookbook does not reside on a pretty shelf!!!

    Have a fab weekend hon. Big hugs to your wee guy.

    1. Thanks sweetie! I have a really tatty old Edmonds cook book too, in fact it is one of my most precious cook books (and the one I refer to the most). My fav recipe in the book is one for ice cream with a note my Mum wrote in the margain next to it saying "buy ice cream", ha ha! I hope your feeling better? Becks xxx

  5. You need some Nigel Slater titles in that bookshelf! You asked about persimmons.... i got some at the market yesterday -- they are so beautiful. There is a persimmon cake recipe on my blog. It looks about as big as your monkey cake.

    1. Awesome! My goal for the week will be to make a persimmon cake ;-) Ah yes Nigel Slater...I have given his books as gifts and yet do not own one. What a nutter ah?

  6. You’re not alone Becks! That looks just the thing for my diet, thanks for sharing. ;)
    have a lovely weekend xxx

  7. That cookbook does sound great! And I love the sound of the monkey bread!