"Culinary" Spotlight: HC Bakes Monkeybread

There are always times in our lives when we think to ourselves, why don’t I try...something new, like skydiving, that new restaurant over there, or maybe even going to bed on time (ha!).

On a certain, dreary Wednesday, I thought, “why don’t I try baking?” So a couple weeks later, with the support of two friends, I ventured into unknown territory, and decided to enter the (gasp!) kitchen.

We decided that before tackling the Baked Alaskas and Mille Feuilles, we should start with something a lot more basic, like chocolate chip cookies, or monkeybread.

The recipe is from Leverett House itself, and can be found here: http://leverett.harvard.edu/wiki/Monkeybread_Recipe

Cooking time: we used about an hour, but there was admittedly a lot of goofing off, and general lack of productivity. I imagine it would take about 30-40 minutes.

 

What you’ll need:

 

  1. 2 cans of Pillsbury Grands! Buttermilk Biscuits. Not the flaky kind--just original. If you want to make 1 can or 3 cans, just multiply all the rest with a proportion, and everything will work out.

2.) 2 slightly-packed cups of dark brown cane sugar. Apparently, both brown and cane-sugar are important, we just used mostly brown sugar plus some good ol’ Domino’s white sugar. You have some wiggle room here in terms of quantity. We only ended up using 1.5 cups ish of sugar, and the monkeybread was already pretty sweet.

 

3.) ⅛ cup cinnamon. (There’s also wiggle room here, depending on how much you like cinnamon.)

 

4.) 2 sticks of butter.

 

5.) Baking trays, cups...etc. etc. (We eye-balled a lot, so it’s not really that necessary, but if you’re feeling the need to be especially precise...you’ll need measuring cups for ⅛ and 2 cups.)

 

Procedure:

 

  1. Cut the buttermilk biscuits into chunks with diameters of about 0.5 inches--essentially, cutting them into quarters. You can place them on the pan, directly, like us, or put it into a bowl.

Approved by the Mysterious Hand(s).

 

  1. Melt the butter. Microwaving it for 60-90 seconds should do the job.

  2. Pour the sugar into the butter, and stir well. Your concoction should have a thick, even consistency. Lumps of sugar is okay though, and even makes the monkeybread better, in my opinion! Feel free to taste as you go so that you can pinpoint the amount of sugar you want.

  3. Add the cinnamon. Taste as you go.

Lovely, isn’t it?

 

  1. Spread the butter-sugar-cinnamon goo over the monkeybread, and then gently toss, without ruining the shape of the dough-bits.

A fine work of modern art, no? Starting at $1000.

 

You can probably tell that the last picture is a lot more artsy and Instagram ready than any of the other pictures before. And if so, then you are astute. My friend noticed my painful failures at capturing quotidian beauty, snatched over my phone, and took this beautiful photo.

 

  1. Spread the cinnamon-sugar doused dough-bits into a pan, and bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes. (We cooked for 15--it’s always better to check earlier and cook for longer, unless you know how to uncook burnt bread. Then The Hunger Games would not have played out the same.)

    1. This is probably unacceptable cookbook etiquette, but oh well, I’ll cut my losses. Sometimes people bake monkeybread into a deeper pan, because you’re supposed to have a lump to pry apart. We chose not to because we were afraid that the middle wouldn’t be cooked sufficiently, and thus left them spread out.

 

Ta da! The end product, endorsed by the Mysterious Hand.

 

How’d it taste:

 

Really good, actually! The texture was great--buttery, kind of gooey, and the sugar lumps actually added a nice crunch. We’re really glad we didn’t use all the sugar, because it was definitely sweet enough. All three of us approved the taste, and I personally was very pleased, given we eye-balled the amounts for most of the process.

 

Monkeybread is surprisingly both easy and delicious--I would highly recommend. You can make a lot of it in a very short time, and could be a great addition to a party!