We Have No Banana Today

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

It's so good I failed to take a picture until we'd already eaten most of it. I was busy stuffing my face.

Even Wikipedia doesn’t know why it’s called Monkey Bread. It’s not made of monkeys and doesn’t contain bananas or anything else monkey-related, but it’s definitely delicious. Also, it’s kinda fun to make and totally fun to eat. I used to not make it often, because it’s a yeast dough so it takes a couple hours to make the dough and then another hour or so to prep and bake the bread. And it’s really best fresh out of the oven. So it’s really not particularly convenient to have for breakfast, though it’ll do for second breakfast or elevenses, if you get up early enough. I discovered a few years ago, though, that you can actually bake it the day before, leave it in the pan, then heat it back up for 10 minutes or so (long enough to make the sugar gooey again) in the morning. Everybody wins! Except for the monkeys, because I’m not sharing.

Recipe

(adapted from AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 c packed brown sugar

Set bread machine to Dough. Put yeast, flour, cinnamon, salt, sugar, butter, and water in machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. When dough is complete, turn out onto well-floured board and knead 10-20 times.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter bundt pan. In a small saucepan, melt together butter and brown sugar. Cut dough into 1″ cubes. Dredge cubes in butter/sugar mixture (Yes, it’s hot. Be careful.) and drop evenly into prepared bundt pan. Bake at  375°F for 20-25 minutes (until golden brown).

To serve immediately, place a plate over the top of the pan and invert them together. You may need to give the bottom of the pan a thump after you’ve got them flipped.

To serve the next morning, leave in pan and reheat at 375°F for 10-15 minutes (until butter/sugar mixture is gooey again). Serve as directed above.

No…more…pie…

January 3, 2012 § 1 Comment

Yeah, pie.

Wait! Yes! More pie!

At our house, instead of milk and cookies, Santa* gets beer and last year, pie. This year, Zack wanted to bake cookies for Santa (He specified chocolate — we made Chewy Caramel Cookies without the caramel centers. Continuing my baking slump, I managed to leave out the baking soda. They still came out okay, but a little dense and oddly textured.), while Becky wanted to do pie again. I asked her what kind of pie, and she said cherry. Now, I am not a fan of fruit pie as a general rule, Kit doesn’t particularly care for cherry pie, and Zack would probably eat about half a slice. So I suggested that perhaps Mommy could ask Santa what kind of pie he might want and we could make that. After she recovered from the idea that Mommy has Santa’s phone number, she agreed that was a fine idea.

Amazingly enough, Santa chose the easiest pie Mommy knows how to make: 5-minute Pudding Pie. The first time I made this pie, I was extremely skeptical. These sorts of recipes are always either incredibly messy (making the easy recipe not worth the hellish clean-up), horrible to actually eat, or just flat-out lies. 5-minute Pudding Pie literally takes about 5 minutes (if you’re using a prepared crust — it takes about 10 if you make your own crust), it’s delicious and creamy, and you use a single bowl, a whisk, a spoon, and a measuring cup (so, easy cleanup).

I did, of course, manage to screw it up by buying two different flavors of pudding so it wasn’t as nommy as it could have been. But it was edible and really, at this point, that’s a win. Usually it’s really delicious and creamy and people will think you’ve spent hours making a mousse pie. Oh! And you can use sugar/fat free varieties of all the ingredients! WIN!

* As many of you know, I have some conflict about the whole Santa Claus thing, because really [SPOILER], it’s a big lie we tell the kids and I feel pretty strongly about not lying to the kids. Which is not to say that I insist on smacking them in the face with the truth, but just straight up lying really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I realized this year that if I could switch out “Daddy” (or “Mommy”) for “Santa” in the sentence, I can live with it. For everything else, I waffle between “I don’t know” and just outright changing the subject. So far, so good. Honestly, I’m kinda hoping my kids are smart enough to figure it out early and relieve me of this burden. I do plan to carry on the Santa tradition even after they’ve figured it out…”Santa” isn’t really about the fat guy in red velvet and fur to me, it’s about generosity and love and fun, and I’m totally un-conflicted about wanting my kids to have those things in their lives, always.

Recipe

(from the Jell-O Pudding box)

Ingredients:

  • 1 crumb pie crust
  • 1 1/4 skim milk, cold
  • 2 3.5 oz pkgs instant pudding (whatever flavor you want your pie to be)
  • 1 8oz tub whipped dessert topping, thawed

Combine milk, pudding, and half of whipped topping with whisk in a large bowl. Whisk for 1 minute (mixture will be thick). Spoon evenly into crust. Top with remaining whipped topping.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Taste&Create Two-fer

October 20, 2011 § 3 Comments

Preview of the noms

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been a bit under the weather…it’s a chronic problem we’re still trying to diagnose, yadda yadda yadda. But I was finally starting to feel better and damned if I didn’t get a nasty virus that laid me up for about a week. Now I finally seem to have beaten that down, so I’m going to blog about a whole buncha stuff and hopefully get a nice backlog of content ready to go.

First and foremost, though, I still owe my Taste&Create for September. I feel so bad about how late it is (almost a month!) — and also I had so much trouble picking just one recipe from The Bad Girl’s Kitchen — that I decided to make two of them: a pear crumb pie, and peanut butter cookies.

First up, the pear pie. This came out delicious…the crumb is outstanding, and I’ll probably substitute it for the crumb on my apple pies in the future, which is decent but not quite as nommy. Instead of the crust recipe included, I used my standard go-to butter pie crust, with the addition of some cinnamon and nutmeg. (This is one of my favorite things about making pie…customizing the pie crust so it accents the flavors in the pie.) I think I’ll try the included recipe next time, but I was getting a little fuzzy around the edges from meds, so decided to stick with what I know this time.

Mmmmmm...pie

The crust recipe I used (note: I made a double batch because I was also making a pecan pie. For a single crust, halve everything.):

  • 1 c. butter
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7-8 Tbsp ice cold water/vodka/rum (this time I used rum, for the flavor)
  • Any additional desired spices/flavoring
When you’re making pie crust, the colder everything can be, the better. I generally just use refrigerated butter, but in deep summer I do throw  it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Also, pre-measure your flour and toss in the freezer for 15 minutes as well.
Cube the butter (remember to keep your fingers off it…body heat from your fingers’ll warm it right up). Add to flour (plus additional flavoring if desired — this time I used about 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg) and combine, either in food processor or with a fork or pie crust tool (I used to do everything by hand, but the food processor is soooo much easier, not to mention faster. If you’re using one, though, be extra careful to work the flour as little as possible). Now begin adding the water or booze (the alcohol will cook out, don’t worry). Start with about 4-5 Tbsp, then leave the processor going (or combine fully) and continue to add 1 Tbsp at a time until you have the correct consistency. In the food processor, that will look like this:

Stop it as it just comes together. If you keep it going, you'll end up with a ball of dough rather than the rather crumby mass you see here, but it completely overworks the dough and will make it very tough)

Grab about half and wrap it in plastic wrap, gently forming a disc. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour, then roll out on a floured surface or a Magic Dough Pastry Mat (I cannot tell you how much I love this thing). You can refrigerate for longer, but I personally find the dough very difficult to roll out if it gets fully chilled so I prefer to roll at the 30 minute mark, then fold in quarters and re-wrap/re-refrigerate if I’m not ready to make my pie yet.

—————————————————————

Next, the cookies. These are AMAZING, but sadly only made about 2 dozen (so next time, I double the batch 🙂 ). I forgot to fork the last batch (to make the traditional cross-hatch pattern on the top), but it turns out I actually liked those better, because the granulated sugar remained on  more of the surface. I did flatten them after removing from the oven, but I think they would have naturally flattened as they cooled anyhow. I think I might try these with non-nut butters one of these days for my nutter (allergic to nuts — thanks, CarolAnne!) friends.

COOOOOKIEEEEEEE!

Huge, huge apologies to Min, the coordinator of Taste&Create for my tardiness on this — it won’t happen again, I promise! This whole thing is just way too much fun.

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