going ape for monkey bread

When I first saw this recipe for Vanilla-Orange Monkey Bread, I was totally intrigued by the concept of zesting the oranges into the sugar. I have no idea why, but zesting is one of those little things about cooking and baking that I consider cool.

But what I absolutely loved? Was the concept of cutting up the well-refrigerated biscuit dough (v. making my own dough). What??? I know, I know...biscuit dough is going in the completely opposite direction of healthier, cleaner eating.

Let's just put biscuit dough (and cinnamon roll dough) in the category of "conveniences that I am willing to sacrifice a bit of healthiness for." Thankfully, that list continues to grow smaller...but I think it's fair to say that refrigerated doughs will stay on the list indefinitely.

Besides, it was pretty fun to take all those quartered biscuit pieces, toss them in the Ziploc bag with the orange sugar and shake it. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, I should admit that vigorously shaking the bag to fully coat each piece was the peak of my activity last Saturday morning.)

Look at all that butter! With two whole sticks of butter, it seems like Ms. Pioneer Woman is giving Ms. Paula Deen a run for her money!

Mmmm. Take all that butter, mix it with brown sugar and vanilla, and pour it over all that sugar-coated biscuit dough. How can this not turn out deliciously?!?!

While the monkey bread was cooking into its full state of deliciousness, I realized that the oranges deserved better than just being used for their zest. So I gave each of them a few good rolls across the counter, sliced them in half...

...and squeezed away. (Okay, so maybe I got a little more exercise than I thought.) From those two oranges, I got just enough for a small glass of orange juice that I popped into the freezer for a little while to chill.

Note to self - when flipping the bread onto a plate, be aware that some of that buttery, sugary glaze will still be liquid. I was so relieved that I'd done the flip over the counter (not over the floor).

Mmmm. This was such a tasty balance between fresh flavor and satisfying denseness. I really like traditional monkey bread with its rich cinnamon roll-ish flavor; so this was obviously different - but in a unique and wonderful way. That difference also meant that Wildcat Guy really liked it (since he's not as much a fan of the traditional flavor).

The only thing I would change the next time I make this for breakfast is to serve it with something - maybe some sausage or bacon? - to cut the sweetness a little bit. Just slightly.

Where I am: home
What I'm reading: the most recent issue of Self magazine


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