I love bread. During my pregnancy with Leo, there were times all I wanted to eat was a slice of bread with butter. I think that’s probably the reason I also craved kale like crazy; I needed something to balance out all the bread. Reading through America’s Test Kitchen’s new book, Bread Illustrated, brought back those cravings in a serious way. I ended up making something sweet first because, hey, ’tis the season.
When I was first flipping through Bread Illustrated, the monkey bread recipe immediately jumped out at me. I’ve had a from-scratch recipe maybe one time, so I knew I had to give this a try. My first exposure to monkey bread was when I was young. We would cut up cinnamon rolls (the refrigerated, ready to bake variety) and bake them in a bundt pan, using the included frosting as the glaze. (My dad also used to quarter refrigerated biscuit dough and deep fry it to make “doughnuts,” which I thought was basically the greatest thing ever.)
Clara and I made this together, like we do so many baking projects, and she especially loved dunking the balls of dough in butter and then rolling them in brown sugar. Eggnog waffles have been our Christmas morning tradition since Clara’s first Christmas (hooray for being home for Christmas!), but this would be an excellent recipe if you’re still searching for one. Clara said it was like eating “cinnamon roll balls,” and while the general nature is similar to cinnamon rolls, you get some super caramelized and slightly crunchy bites in this that you don’t typically get with cinnamon rolls. This bread, with its pull-apart nature, is far too easy to sneak bites of piece by piece, and you may just find you’ve eaten more of it than you intended.
For anyone on the hunt for a great cookbook devoted completely to bread, Bread Illustrated has been an awesome addition to my cookbook shelf. It’s organized from simple to complicated, though recipes never seem all that complicated when ATK is breaking them down for us. The book is full of step-by-step photos, as well as sections devoted to the science of yeast and gluten, plus plenty of advice on how to knead and shape dough.
Full disclosure: I received a copy of Bread Illustrated to review, but all opinions are my own. I only ever share cookbooks with you that I love and think you all will enjoy, too.
Lastly, I know things have been quiet around here. The last several weeks haven’t really inspired me to write about food. Like many of you, 2016 isn’t ending at all like I had hoped, but I still believe we are stronger together.