Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monkey Bread

More pictures here!

Bread for Monkeys! (I wouldn't give mine away, too tasty) Monkey bread is, in short, blobs of of yeasted bread dough dipped into butter and then sugar and cinnamon. The balls are piled into a pan and baked to result in a soft, sweet, yeasty, and most of all, addictive dessert or breakfast. The strange name comes from the way it is eaten: by individually pulling off the blobs with your fingers, just like a monkey eating lice of its neighbor's head. Some recipes substitute store-bought biscuit dough instead of the homemade yeast bread for the sake of time, but my family and I love the addictive flavor of yeast. The dough is easy to make, so I think the extra flavor and texture is worth the time.

So, the recipe is adapted from Cook's Country, but really any soft bread recipe will do. For example, I had a leftover egg yolk in the refrigerator from the soufflé, so I added it at the same time as the yeast mixture. If you add a whole egg though, you might need to compensate with extra flour.
The recipe said to use one cup of brown sugar and one stick of butter for the coating, but that seemed a lot to me. I prepared only a half cup of cinnamon sugar, but I melted the entire stick of butter. After having dipped all the little blobs, I had used exactly all the sugar, but I had a lot of butter left over. If you prefer desserts on the sweeter side, use more sugar, but the entire stick of butter is not necessary. The ratio of sugar to cinnamon I used was strong enough to taste the cinnamon, but not so strong that my mother did not like it. My mother does not enjoy overpowering cinnamon flavor.
Concerning the frosting: At first my mom and I were dubious, but in the end my dad convinced me to make some. I made half the amount from the recipe, a half cup instead of a whole, and added a splash of cinnamon. It truly is a simple glaze; just whisk confectioners sugar with a bit of milk or water; and it begged me for some flavoring.

The recipe used a bundt pan, but I do not have one of those. Instead I used another kind of deep pan, but I'm not sure what it's called. The dough overflowed after the second rise, so I was forced to put part of it in a loaf pan.

By the way, I'm getting more organized! I started a little notebook I'm going to write all my recipes into, and I just received the tripod I ordered! (the pictures here were taken before the tripod arrived though)

Anyways, Ingredients:

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 pkg rapid rise yeast
  • 3 1/3 c. flour
  • 2 tsp salt
Sugar Coating (I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, but a larger amount with the same ratio works too)
  • 1/2 c –more brown sugar
  • 1 tsp –more cinnamon (find a ratio you like)
  • 3/4 c melted butter
  • 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk or water
  • a pinch of cinnamon (if you need numbers, how about a 1/4 tsp)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200F. When the temperature is reached, turn off the oven. (later you will let the dough rise inside the warm oven)
  2. In a 2 cup measuring cup mix together the first four dough ingredients together in and microwave all of it on medium until the liquid feels warm to the touch (not hot). This may take 1-2 minutes. The butter will float on top and look gross.
  3. Add the yeast and stir.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture on the salt and flour in a large bowl. This is when you can add any leftover egg or yolk you have.
  5. Combine everything together and knead the dough for about ten minutes. The dough will be very sticky.
  6. Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour in the warm oven (the oven is turned off!)
  7. Butter the Bundt pan.
  8. Prepare the cinnamon-sugar mixture by combining the brown sugar and cinnamon. (Amazing!)
  9. When the dough has finished rising cut it into 64 pieces in the manner described below*.
  10. Melt the butter.
  11. Dip each piece of dough into the butter and then into the sugar-cinnamon. Layer the blobs in the bundt pan.
  12. When all the dough has been dipped and placed into the buttered pan, cover the pan and let the bread rise for another hour.
  13. Uncover and bake for around 30 minutes at 350F.
  14. Let the bread rest 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan.
  15. Make the glaze by whisking together all the ingredients
  16. Eat warm pulling apart the blobs with your fingers and dipping them in the glaze. :)
* To divide the dough evenly, first cut it into fourth, then each quarter in fourth, then each 16th into fourth again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Just a question...

I have been putting links to flikr for pictures I can't fit into the post, and I'm wondering if you guys are using it/understanding it. Are there any problems with this technique? Thank you for responding!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cheese Soufflé

more pictures on Flikr!

I made my first soufflé ever on Sunday! Last weekend in the airport my mom and I randomly bought some cooking magazines, and I came across an easy looking recipe for Cheese Soufflé in Bon Appètit. I had always herd that soufflés are really hard, that they always collapse, bla bla bla... but a daunting task is always the most attractive, and so I rose up to the challenge. I mean, how hard could a recipe be?
Since the article was from Bon Appètit, the recipe also appeared on Epicurious, at I cranked up my oven to 400 degrees as instucted and started cooking! First, it asks to make a roux, or sauce made of flour cooked in butter, then adding milk. I had never made a roux before, and had understood I needed to add the flour/butter to the milk instead of the other way around. Luckily my mom was helping me out. I used 2% milk instead of whole (generally the milk fat percentage in cooking is not very important). The roux turned out really weird, it was all sticky shiny, but I guess that's what it's supposed the be. Then I added the egg yolks, paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Note: for the entire roux part, I found it easier to use a wooden spoon than a whisk. Next I folded in the beaten egg whites and freshly grated gruyère.
I buttered and 'parmesaned' four medium ramekins and divided the batter equally between them, and the batter reached a bit over the halfway point before cooking. I placed the ramekins into the oven and lowered the temperature to 375. After 20 minutes of cooking, the soufflés had risen over the ide of the dish, but they were quite dark on top. My dad and I rushed the soufflés to the table and everyone dug in. We were all hungry because the recpe had taken longer than expected. I started cooking at 6:30 and the soufflés finished cooking at 7:25. That's 35 minutes prep and 20 minutes cooking time.
The crust on top of the soufflé was a bit hard, but the inside was light and fluffy. It tasted cheesy and eggy, and it was a delight to eat. We savored this hot cheese fluff with salad and... cheese! (manchego, petit basque, gruyère, and blues, but I don't like blues.)
I agree that soufflés are harder and more time consuming than your average weeknight menu, but they are worth it for a special occasion or weekend. Also, prior cooking experience is highly recommended: I had never made a roux and would have failed it if my mom had not helped me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tamagoyaki Part 2!

more pics on Flikr (the last 2 pictures are from the first time in January)
My dad recently came back from a business trip in Japan, and he brought back a rectangular omelet pan! Of course, this made me want to try making tamagoyaki (or rolled omelet) again. Last time it turned out fine, but my dad complained that it did not taste Japanese enough. This time I decided to follow exactly the recipe in the Japanese cookbook I have.
Now for the hard part: rolling the eggs. Because the rectangular pan was bigger than the circular pan I had used, I rolled the omelet in two times instead of three so that a good layer of egg would cover the entire pan. I started on a burner that was smaller than the pan, but the corners were not cooking, so I switched to another burner. I found that rolling in a rectangular pan is much harder than in a circular pan because the edges always stick! Plus, I burned myself on the burner I had stopped using. In the end, the tamagoyaki made in a rectangular pan did not look very different from the one I made in January. I don't recommend going out to buy a rectangular pan just to make this omelet, but since I have one I'll practice with it until I can use it properly.
The recipe I used this time made a more 'Japanese' omelet. Its from "Let's Cook Japanese Food" by Amy Kaneko.
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 dashi broth (See First Post )
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • pinch salt

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shiny Medal and Tapioca Express!

I won a medal!!!!!!! At the Science Olympiad Regionals! Scioly (Science Olympiads) is a science competition with different events. I participated in Astronomy (bleh) and Food Science(Whee). My partner and I got third place in Food Science out of 14 teams! So, we got shiny bronze medals pictured above. Since the my school got third place in the entire competition, team A (not me) is going to the states competition! To celebrate, we decided to go the Tapex (Tapioca Express). The menu there was very weird... There were several types of drinks, including Snow Bubbles. I don't know what snow bubbles are, but the top of the list was Avocado Bubble :-? That sounds "interesting". These strange snow bubbles and the milk tea sounded filling, and since I was already full, I decided to get honeydew juice. I saw them put slices of honeydew in a blender, and I thought "Ooh, real fruit!" Then I saw them add bright green liquid and sugar the fruit... I ordered the juice with tapioca because I wanted to try tapioca once again.
The drink was good, tasty, but a tad too sweet. The tapioca was amusing. I had trouble chewing it, and I think it grew inside my stomach.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Poll Results: Favorite chocolate drink!

Plain hot chocolate
5 (45%)
Mexican style (with cinnamon)
1 (9%)
Peppermint hot chocolate
3 (27%)
Cold choco-banana drink (bananas blended w/ milk and chocolate)
2 (18%)

Votes so far: 11

Sooo, Plain hot chocolate won the game! I guess people like the taste of chocolate. I'm surprised, I thought no-one liked chocolate!
Well, I don't have much to say, but Vote on polls! It makes me happy!
I had mucha tarea this week, but today there's less, probably because I accidentallly did the math homework due tomorrow yesterday...
Ok, have a nice day!