Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe: Easy Monkey Bread "Cups" (Pull-Apart Muffins)

One of my favorite "even the kids can help" recipes is monkey bread.  I remember making these with my Mom when we were growing up (although we made one big one in a bundt pan).  Arm yourself with some store-bought refrigerated biscuits, have everyone roll-up their sleeves, and you can have a quick, fun, family weekend breakfast in minutes.  Here's how...

Monkey Bread Cups (Pull-Apart Muffins)
- 3 cans of refrigerated buttermilk or plain biscuits OR a double batch of your favorite homemade biscuit dough.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1) Combine cinnamon and sugar and place into a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid, a paper bag, or a zip-top bag.

2) Using a knife, bench scraper, or clean scissors, cut each biscuit into four pieces.  If using biscuit dough, cut into roughly 1x1x1 inch chunks.

3) Roll each piece into a rough ball and place into the cinnamon and sugar, stirring with your hands every so often so they don't stick together.

4) Seal the bag or bowl and shake vigorously until all the balls are well coated.  Allow to settle before opening or you'll have cinnamon all over the kitchen.

5) Heavily grease or spray a standard muffin tin.  Note that muffin papers will not work here.  Drop a few balls of dough into each muffin cup until they're even with or just above the top of each cup.  If you don't have enough to fill all the cups, clean the fat out of the remaining cups with a paper towel to make cleanup easier.

6) Sprinkle some of the brown sugar on top of each dough mound, dividing it evenly among all the cups.  Repeat with the melted butter, dividing it among the cups.  Don't skip the butter--no matter how decadent you may think it seems!  This makes the sticky sauce.

7) Bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until brown and crispy on top and they don't feel doughy when you plunge a sharp knife into them.  Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes so they set-up.  Otherwise, they'll just break apart when you try to remove them from the pan (and you'll burn your mouth on the hot sugar).

8) Gently remove from the pan by inverting the pan onto a baking rack.  Enjoy warm with a tall glass of milk.

  • Soak dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots, cherries) in warm water to rehydrate.  Drain and add to cups with dough balls prior to baking.
  • Add chopped nuts to the bottom of the cups before adding dough balls.
  • Make a dipping sauce using powdered sugar, a little cream cheese, and some milk to thin it out.

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