Saturday, July 2, 2016

Monkey Bread - Nutella and Cookie Butter versions

Monkey Bread - made June 11, 2016 (original hack)
I love all the décor associated with 4th of July. Not only do they prominently feature the American flag but I just like the red, white and blue, the stars and stripes, the whole thing. So it’s a surprise that I don’t have more Independence Day “stuff”. I have a serving bowl my sister gave me awhile back but that’s it. Until I fell for the Sur la Table catalog not too long ago and ended up buying a set of 4 stars and stripes ramekins. I love ramekins and have too many. But *cough* these were on sale and piffle on “too many”.
Popping out of the top

Usually I like to bake apple cobblers and lava cakes in ramekins but apples are best in the fall and lava cakes don’t really scream 4th of July to me (okay, they scream “year round” to me) so I thought I’d try a different dessert altogether.

Now you have to understand that sometimes the baking visions in my head don’t match the baking reality that comes out of my oven. Such is the case here. My original concept was to make 1 ramekin of Nutella monkey bread and 1 of Cookie Butter monkey bread. Brilliant, right? I was going to fill each piece of bread dough with either Nutella or cookie butter, dip in butter, roll in cinnamon sugar, arrange in ramekins, pipe extra Nutella over the Nutella-stuffed dough and cookie butter over the cookie butter-stuffed dough, bake to goodness then drizzle more Nutella or cookie butter over the appropriate ramekins.

After I took the top layer off and baked the rest
I stand by my vision but I’m afraid my execution left something to be desired. For one thing, I underestimated the rise and puff of the dough pieces as they baked so I overstuffed the poor little ramekins and the pieces of the top layer popped out during baking. My oven thanks me for the mess I made in it. Because of the overstuffing, the melted, baking butter also leaked over the sides of the ramekins and dripped onto my oven floor. The bottom layer of dough didn’t get a chance to bake as much as it should have before the top layer was perfectly baked and a bit crunchy. To add further insult to my baking injuries, neither the Nutella nor the cookie butter melted into flowy goodness in the ramekins as I had envisioned they would. Instead they baked to a more solid form because of the amount of time it took the dough to bake. They didn’t burn but they weren’t the ooey gooey “glaze” I had expected. The filling inside the dough balls remained fine but the additional dollops I had put between and over the dough balls laughed at my attempt at flowy.

So….much as I would’ve wished for a better outcome to christen my new 4th of July ramekins, the baked dough balls I did manage to salvage were actually pretty tasty. I always say failures teach as much as, if not more than, successes so for this one I learned it would to best to use less dough (only fill ramekin 2/3 full, max), don’t pipe extra Nutella or cookie butter before baking and instead, glaze the warm monkey bread with either as soon as you take it out of the oven. There you have it - Happy Birthday, USA!

1 package Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (any biscuit dough will do - if you end up with too much dough, freeze the rest or bake as normal biscuits)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Cookie Butter
4 large ramekins
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Lightly spray ramekins with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Have melted butter in a separate bowl.
  4. Cut each biscuit into quarters. Roll out or stretch each quarter slightly, place a teaspoon of Nutella or cookie butter filling in the center, pinch the edges together to enclose the filling completely and roll into a ball.
  5. Coat in melted butter then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Arrange dough balls in even layer in ramekin, filling each ramekin no more than 2/3 full to allow room for the dough balls to expand as they bake.
  6. Bake until tops are golden. Drizzle melted Nutella (or cookie butter) over top and serve warm.

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