Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Monkey Bread and a computer crash.

It was a Friday morning, 8:45.  I had the snack set out, the coffee made and 60 (yes, 60) people sitting waiting for me to start at 9:00.  I had a quick 30 minutes to cover the powerpoint and data discussion I had prepared.  I went to print a sign in sheet and the spinning wheel of death hard drive was dead. (Hmmm, something about computers dying on me is the theme this month)

It was not a pretty moment and to say I freaked out is an understatement!  Our network services department was in the middle of a staff meeting and they ALL heard me.  One of our very patient techs left the meeting and tried to help me.  But when the hard drive is dead, it is dead.  I got a loaner computer, stumbled through part of what I wanted to cover and turned it over to the "real" presenter.

There is a happy ending, like network services retrieved the data from the hard drive from my computer, replaced the hard drive, re-loaded the data and then one of our techs went to the store and got me an external hard drive and set it up with time machine. (I won't mention that 7 or 8 months ago, the said tech told me to do this back then and I never got around to it.  He didn't even rub it in that I didn't do that, he is a nice guy.)  So, after a few days with my fixed computer I really felt I owed them.  I usually make these sticky buns but wanted to do something a little different, but knowing the sticky buns are a favorite I wanted something similar.  I came across some pictures of monkey bread made with store bought bread or biscuits and wanted to do a homemade version.  I came up with this.

The pumpkin bread is wonderful on it's own, or rolled with cinnamon and a little sugar for a great cinnamon bread, but as monkey bread, it is a little taste of heaven.  The pull apart pieces studded with nuts and dripping with the caramel is so wonderful, not to mention the smell of the pumpkin pie spice with the cloves and cinnamon...YUM!

So, while I don't think I've fully recovered, I do feel better knowing time machine is backing up all my precious data every hour on the hour.  And this monkey bread will be in the rotation when the boys come home over the holidays.

Did I tell you the curly haired boy and the baby boy are coming home over the Christmas/New Year Holiday? And they are bringing their chicks? Can you imagine how obnoxious I am about waiting?  Feel very sorry for my husband.

Pumpkin Monkey Bread
adapted from the DAK advertisement book from 1992 (yes, I still have it, but never bought a bread machine)

for the bread
1 pkg. or 1 scant Tbsp. dry yeast
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1 1/3 c. warm water
1/4 c. apple juice
orange zest from one orange
1/2 c. pumpkin

Mix dry ingredients together. Add butter, egg, water apple juice, orange zest, and pumpkin.  Mix well.  Flour a table or board an kneed bread until soft but no longer sticky.  Place in oiled bowl and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

for the caramel topping
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped nuts, divided

for rolling the bread dough
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Mix sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together.  Pour into large ziplock.  Set aside.

Mix melted butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream.   Pour half the mixture in the bottom of a well buttered bundt pan.  Top with 1/2 cup nuts.

After the first rise, pull small balls of dough (I used my smallest scoop to help with this), roll in a ball and toss in cinnamon/sugar mixture in ziplock bag.  Place sugared balls in bundt pan, covering the bottom.  When about 1/2 the dough is used, pour in rest of butter/sugar mixture and top with nuts.  Continue with the dough balls rolled in cinnamon/sugar mixture and place in bundt pan.

Let rise about 1 hour, or until balls have doubled in size.

Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes or until top is very browned and bread is done.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Turn bread out upside down on platter, large enough to hold bread and catch any caramel that drips down side.  Cool about 30 minutes (or risk burning your mouth) and serve.

I'm all about doing the work the night before, so I make this, cover with plastic wrap, sprayed with cooking spray, and put in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, I take the pan out of the fridge, pre-heat the oven for 20 minutes, and bake (you may need to add 5-10 minutes to baking time).

That business about kneeding the dough is a lie, I let my Kitchen Aide do all the work, and I leave it in the bowl for the first rise, I don't even take the dough out to oil the bowl.

October 26, 2012     Daylight  8 hours, 26 minutes, 31 seconds     Temp.  14º F

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