Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mama Kern's Monkey Bread

On my first day of college I met one of my favorite people on the planet, Mike Kerner. Not that I want to blow up his ego anymore than it is but he is probably one of the funniest and coolest kids I know. And I must say- he gets it all from his parents!! The Silver Fox and Mama Kern's are one of the reasons I return to the Outer Banks every summer- they are genuinely amazing people. And Mama certainly knows her way around a kitchen. She introduced me to delicious seafood lasagna and her famous monkey bread. And although I know her recipe is different than mine- this is my ode to her and her famous monkey bread. Thank you Mama and Papa Kern's for always putting up with us crazy kids taking over your home for a long weekend! You guys are the best!! 

Mama Kern's Monkey Bread 

3/4 cup milk plus 1 1/2 tbs for frosting
1/4 oz package rapid rise yeast 
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tbs butter melted plus 4 tbs melted butter, separate 
1 tbs butter, softened 

1/2 cup warm water 

1/4 cup white sugar plus extra separate 1/4 cup 
1/3 cup brown sugar 
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups ap flour plus extra to sprinkle on counter for kneading 
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup minced pecans or walnuts (optional) 
Canola oil spray 

Large mixing bowl
Plastic wrap 
3 small mixing bowls 
Bundt pan 
Large plate 
Measuring cups/spoons 

First add the warm water to a small bowl and pour in the rapid rise yeast packet. Allow to sit and bubble up for 3-5 minutes. This allows the yeast to begin to waken up. 

In the large mixing bowl- add flour, salt, and 1/4 cup white sugar. Mix well. Make a well in the center and add 3/4 cup of milk, 2 tbs melted butter, cream cheese and yeast water mixture. Using a mixing spatula begin to mix until it can't come together anymore. Sprinkle a little flour on a clean surface and dump the dough on it. Begin to knead together the dough. If it's too sticky sprinkle a tiny bit of flour at a time. Too much flour will make the dough tough- so be careful. Your goal is too have a tight dough but that is very smooth and easy to work with. You want it to be shiny and smooth (see photo below). Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes straight. This takes work and muscles- can be fun to get others involved at this point. 

Once dough is kneaded, spray the large clean bowl with canola oil and place dough in the center. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for 1-2 hours so it can double in size. 

Grease your bundt pan with 1 tbs softened butter- make sure to get into each nook and cranny. 

After dough has risen, begin to take 1-2 inch pieces off the dough and roll into small balls. I made 36 small dough balls. In a small bowl add the 4 tbs melted butter and on the large plate add 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Add the minced nuts to this plate if you are using as well. Roll each dough ball in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar plate. Place into the greased bundt pan. After you cover the bottom of the pan with balls, stagger the next layer in between the bottom layer dough balls. Continue to do this until all the dough balls are buttered and covered in cinnamon sugar. Cover the bundt pan with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for 1-2 hours again. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees once the dough balls have almost doubled in size (see photo below). Remove plastic wrap and place in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes. 

Remove from the oven once the top is golden and bread is firm but spongy to touch- allow to cool for 5 minutes to set up and then flip the bundt pan onto a large serving tray. Try some while still warm- it's soo good!! 

Quick cheat method: instead of homemade dough- you can use store bought biscuit dough and begin at the buttering and cinnamon sugar stage. 

Dough while kneading 

Before and after first rise 

Before and after second rise 

You can see how the dough balls are staggered- makes it easy to just pull a piece off like a monkey. 

Beautiful end result- great to take to a brunch! 

The kids obviously loved this!! Who wouldn't?? This is definitely a great addition to weekend breakfast/brunch!! Xo

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