Caramel Monkey Bread

In the past, I made a monkey bread that had chocolate chips and caramel bits in each piece, with a thick icing on top. Lately I’d been pondering a monkey bread that has Milk Duds in each piece, and just changing the inside didn’t seem enough, so I also made a caramel sauce to go on top instead. The way it worked out, most of the chocolate of the Milk Duds melts away, leaving a softer-than-before blob of tasty caramel, plus the thick caramel coating, which sure works for me!

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

Filling and Topping:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box Milk Duds

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt

To make the dough, combine the milk, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for five minutes. While you wait, lightly grease a bundt pan and set aside. Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead together until smooth. Cover and allow to rise for an hour.

Gently knock down the dough. Divide into four portions, then roll each quarter into a rope and divide into ten pieces. Roll each of the 40 pieces into a ball, then press Milk Dud into each and fold the dough around to completely cover the Milk Dud, rolling in your hands to seal. As you seal each piece, place it into the prepared bundt pan.

Stir together the melted butter and vanilla and pour over the dough pieces, then cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Place a plate/platter over the bundt pan and invert, turning the monkey bread out onto the platter, and let cool at least 10 minutes before topping with the caramel sauce.

The caramel sauce can be made while the bread bakes, while the dough rises in the first place, or even days before, you’ll just need to warm it back up if you do it earlier, to make it more flow-y. To make it, first heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until completely melted.

Once the sugar is melted, add the butter, which will bubble significantly.

Once the butter is completely melted into the melted sugar, very slowly drizzle in the cream while stirring, being careful of the continuing bubbling.

Once all the cream is added, allow to boil 1 minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the salt.

Cool slightly before using. You will (probably) have leftover caramel sauce, depending on how wild you go – you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to a month, reheating in the microwave or on the stove as necessary.

If it can hold fingerprints, probably it needs to be reheated!

Pour the prepared caramel sauce over the baked monkey bread, let cool at least enough that it won’t burn your fingers, and enjoy.

Caramel Monkey Bread

Caramel Sauce from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

Filling and Topping:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box Milk Duds

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt

To make the dough, combine the milk, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for five minutes. While you wait, lightly grease a bundt pan and set aside. Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead together until smooth. Cover and allow to rise for an hour.

Gently knock down the dough. Divide into four portions, then roll each quarter into a rope and divide into ten pieces. Roll each of the 40 pieces into a ball, then press Milk Dud into each and fold the dough around to completely cover the Milk Dud, rolling in your hands to seal. As you seal each piece, place it into the prepared bundt pan.

Stir together the melted butter and vanilla and pour over the dough pieces, then cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Place a plate/platter over the bundt pan and invert, turning the monkey bread out onto the platter, and let cool at least 10 minutes before topping with the caramel sauce.

The caramel sauce can be made while the bread bakes, while the dough rises in the first place, or even days before, you’ll just need to warm it back up if you do it earlier, to make it more flow-y. To make it, first heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until completely melted. Once the sugar is melted, add the butter, which will bubble significantly. Once the butter is completely melted into the melted sugar, very slowly drizzle in the cream while stirring, being careful of the continuing bubbling. Once all the cream is added, allow to boil 1 minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Cool slightly before using. You will (probably) have leftover caramel sauce, depending on how wild you go – you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to a month, reheating in the microwave or on the stove as necessary.

 

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Angel Lush Trifle

No easier way to party prep than to make a trifle the day before! This one is extra simple, and quite delicious! I didn’t wind up taking many pictures, but once you’ve made it, you’ll be able to see it yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1 ounce packages vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 20 ounce cans crushed pineapple
  • 8 ounce tub cool whip, thawed
  • 1 angel food cake, cut into chunks (my mom managed to find a gluten-free one, I think at Whole Foods)
  • strawberries, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the dry pudding mix and the canned pineapple, adding both the fruit and the juice. Stir together, then add the cool whip and stir until well mixed.

Place about 1/3 of the cake chunks in a large trifle dish, then top with 1/3 the pineapple mixture.

Repeat 2 more times, using up the remaining cake and pineapple mixture. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 12 hours, giving the cake time to absorb some of the pineapple juice.

When ready to serve, either place the strawberries on top, or serve on the side if, say, someone you’re feeding hates berries. Enjoy!

Angel Lush Trifle

Adapted from Kraft.

  • 2 1 ounce packages vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 20 ounce cans crushed pineapple
  • 8 ounce tub cool whip, thawed
  • 1 angel food cake, cut into chunks
  • strawberries, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the dry pudding mix and the canned pineapple, adding both the fruit and the juice. Stir together, then add the cool whip and stir until well mixed.

Place about 1/3 of the cake chunks in a large trifle dish, then top with 1/3 the pineapple mixture. Repeat 2 more times, using up the remaining cake and pineapple mixture. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 12 hours, giving the cake time to absorb some of the pineapple juice.

When ready to serve, serve with berries on top or on the side.

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Maple Candy

Did an event at work this past weekend at which visitors were able to sample maple sap, some partially cooked down sap, finished maple syrup, and then also maple candy (plus listen to me yammer about the history of maple syrup/sugar and how to tap trees themselves next year). I made a batch of maple candy for this program and it came out delicious, although next year I’ll have to get some maple leave shaped molds to get the looks nice enough to match the taste!

Samples of the various sap stages, not actually jello shots.

Dealing with syrup, both getting your sap condensed enough and then turning that syrup into a solid, is apparently all about knowing at what temperature what boils where you are. For most of us at sea level, that will be 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but it changes if you’re at altitude, and can even change if you’ve got crazy weather conditions going on. So, the first thing to do when you’re making maple candy is to put some water in a large pot, clip on your candy thermometer, and keep an eye on it to see at what temperature water boils near you, just to make sure, then dump out the water. Take the number you observed and add 23 (so, for many of us, 235 degrees) and keep that in mind.

“Ingredients”:

  • You can do this with any amount of maple syrup (not ‘pancake’ syrup made of corn syrup), but 4 cups is a good amount – gives you 2 pounds of candy, which is enough to be worth the effort, but not so much that it will firm up before you can get it in molds, if desired.
  • 2-3 drops melted butter or vegetable oil, if needed

Lightly grease silicone candy molds or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour the syrup into a large pot – while cooking it will foam up substantially, so be sure your pot can hold at least twice the volume of the liquid. Clip on a candy thermometer, then put over high heat. Heat without stirring until the syrup reaches 23 degrees above the boiling point of water. If the foam threatens to expand outside the pot, add 2-3 drops melted butter or oil and it should subside.

When you reach the goal temperature, remove from the heat. Let cool, still not stirring, until the temperature drops to 190 degrees. Using a wooden spoon, then begin to stir at a medium speed, stirring for several minutes until the syrup becomes thicker and mostly opaque due to the sugar crystallizing.

Then, working quickly, pour the syrup into the prepared molds/dish.

Really sweet photography work here…

Let cool 1 hour, then gently remove from the molds/dish onto a wire rack to cool and dry completely.

Store in an air tight container.

As expected, it tastes like syrup, but is crunchy without being hard. We had leftovers, and I’ve been enjoying them when I need a distraction at work!

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Bulgogi Cheesesteak

Is this something you’d find in an authentic Korean restaurant? Well…no, don’t imagine it is. Is it friggin’ delicious? Yes, 100% it is! I’ve made other bulgogi recipes before, and this one’s a bit simpler than some, but makes a really deliciously marinated meat that happens to pair wonderfully with the melty American cheese. Even just the meat is worth making, but if you’ve already gone that far, might go all the way to cheesesteak at least once!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes (now that I have gochugaru, I’d use that, but if you don’t have a Korean option, just use regular crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste, this one is also available at my supermarket, if not you can get it on Amazon, and it’s worth having/putting in EVERYTHING)
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 pounds shaved beef (I wasn’t sure, but this was something just for sale no problems at my regular supermarket)
  • 1 green pepper (skipped this, I hate ’em)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots (I just had a pile of baby carrots, good enough)
  • 1 additional tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 12 inch French loaves
  • at least 12 slices American cheese

Press the garlic through a garlic press and finely mince the ginger into a large bowl or large ziplock. (The original recipe called for grating them with a microplane, but my garlic was already minced and it didn’t seem worth the hassle?) Add the pepper flakes, brown sugar, gochujang, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the bowl/bag and mix well.

Add the shaved beef and mix until the meat is well covered. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the pepper, onion, and carrot. A mandolin would work nicely here. Add the extra tablespoon of sesame oil to a large pan over medium heat and add the thinly sliced vegetables. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, starting about 10 minutes before the meat is done marinating.

Place another large pan over medium-high heat. Once warmed, add the marinated beef and cook until cooked through. Tongs work well to stir here, ensuring all the meat is cooked evenly.

Slice your bread open and line with a layer of cheese slices.

When both the meat and veggies are cooked, add both meat and vegetables to the bread, then let sit 2 minutes so that the heat of the meat has a chance to partly melt the cheese, and some of the oil can soak into the bread.

I really liked the melty cheese with the salt from the soy sauce! 6 inches is probably enough for most people for a meal, so this will get you 4 servings, or two greasy, smiley stomach aches!

Bulgogi Cheesesteak

Slightly adapted from Tablespoon.

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 pounds shaved beef
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 additional tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 12 inch French loaves
  • at least 12 slices American cheese

Press the garlic through a garlic press and finely mince the ginger into a large bowl or large ziplock. Add the pepper flakes, brown sugar, gochujang, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the bowl/bag and mix well. Add the shaved beef and mix until the meat is well covered. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the pepper, onion, and carrot. A mandolin would work nicely here. Add the extra tablespoon of sesame oil to a large pan over medium heat and add the thinly sliced vegetables. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, starting about 10 minutes before the meat is done marinating.

Place another large pan over medium-high heat. Once warmed, add the marinated beef and cook until cooked through.

Slice your bread open and line with a layer of cheese slices. When both the meat and veggies are cooked, add both meat and vegetables to the bread, then let sit 2 minutes so that the heat of the meat has a chance to partly melt the cheese, and some of the oil can soak into the bread.

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Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cookies

Another cookie, because I decided I needed peanut butter chips in things. These are soft and relatively thick, and there’s enough banana in the batter that all the different flavors are noticeable, which is the ideal. I actually baked them twice, as I thought for some reason it might be worth chilling the dough before baking, and…nah, skip it, no benefit! Get those cookies eaten sooner!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment/silpats and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the banana, followed by the egg and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.

Fold in the oats and chips by hand.

Scoop into roughly 1 1/2 tablespoon sized balls on the lined sheets (I used this medium sized cookie scoop).

Bake 12 minutes, rotating once halfway through.

Cool several minutes on the pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment/silpats and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the banana, then add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, beating until just combined, then fold in the oats and chips by hand. Scoop into roughly 1 1/2 tablespoon sized balls on the lined sheets. Bake 12 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Cool several minutes on the pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Orange Cookies

Another old recipe, this one’s from a 1937 Ohio cookbook available online. They went over very well at the board meeting I brought them to, people took thirds at a program that night, and they made a good lunch the day I made them at work! The original recipe said to roll them out and use cookie cutters, but I found the dough too soft for that, even after a day in the fridge, but as cookies shaped by hand they are perfect – thick, puffy, with a bit of crunch to the bottom. The orange flavor is light, but noticeable and enjoyable!

Out of 2 batches of dough I got 56 cookies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs until smooth.

Sifted plain flour to the side…

In a medium bowl, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

Add the zest and juice.

The flour may not all incorporate until you’ve added the juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Grab approximately walnut sized portions of dough, shape into balls, and then gently press between your hands to flatten and place on the lined sheets.

It just wasn’t a good cookie cutter dough!

The cookies only spread slightly, so you don’t need to leave a ton of space between them on the pans. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown at the edges, rotating halfway through.

Transfer baked cookies to wire racks to cool.

Orange Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs until smooth. In a medium bowl, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then add the zest and juice. The flour may not all incorporate until you’ve added the juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Grab approximately walnut sized portions of dough, shape into balls, and then gently press between your hands to flatten and place on the lined sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown at the edges, rotating halfway through. Transfer baked cookies to wire racks to cool.

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Crock Pot Chicken Lo Mein

A ton of food with not a ton of effort! I really liked the sauce for this. Unfortunately I took most of this week’s pictures from TOO CLOSE, but you get the idea, and you can see it yourself after a quick jaunt to the supermarket!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger root minced
  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch plus enough cold water to make a slurry
  • 10 cups mixed vegetables of choice, fresh, frozen, or canned (a frozen stir-fry mix is good, canned baby corn and/or water chestnuts are nice, I happened to be somewhere with enoki mushrooms recently so threw those in, snow peas would also be a good addition if it’s not in your frozen mix)
  • 8 ounces dry lo mein noodles

Combine the broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger in your crock pot and stir.

Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook on low 8-9 hours, until you get home from work.

Stir together the cornstarch and water, then open the crock pot, remove the chicken, and stir the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Add the vegetables and return the cover, turning the heat to high.

Cook 30-45 minutes, depending on if you added frozen vegetables, until the veggies are hot and sauce has thickened some. Meanwhile, shred the chicken and cook the noodles according to package directions.

Drain, and add the shredded chicken and cooked noodles to the heated vegetable mixture. Stir together, and serve.

Crock Pot Lo Mein

  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger root minced
  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch plus enough cold water to make a slurry
  • 10 cups mixed vegetables of choice, fresh, frozen, or canned
  • 8 ounces dry lo mein noodles

Combine the broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger in your crock pot and stir. Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook on low 8-9 hours, until you get home from work.

Stir together the cornstarch and water, then open the crock pot, remove the chicken, and stir the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Add the vegetables and return the cover, turning the heat to high. Cook 30-45 minutes, depending on if you added frozen vegetables, until the veggies are hot and sauce has thickened some. Meanwhile, shred the chicken and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain, and add the shredded chicken and cooked noodles to the heated vegetable mixture. Stir together, and serve.

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