Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Orange-Pecan Whole Wheat Monkey Bread

I do not bake sweet-dough breads very often, preferring to stick with my whole grain loaves (less fat, less calories, less temptation!). This past weekend we visited friends and I offered to make cinnamon rolls to take for Sunday breakfast. However, very ominous weather forecasts posted on Friday made us think that the trip would need to be postponed (the snow we can handle; ice and sleet accumulations are very nerve-wracking, not to say dangerous, to drive in). I didn’t want to make cinnamon rolls and end up with them sitting here, incessantly calling me, instead of being taken away.

On Saturday morning, however, the severity of the storm anticipated for our area was downgraded and we decided to make a go of it. Although we were driving an hour north, we hoped that the delayed weather front would give us a chance to arrive safely.

I did not have time to make the cinnamon rolls. Instead, got online to see what I could make with frozen bread dough. During the holidays, I had made several batches of whole wheat bread dough and still had 2 loaves in the freezer. I discovered something called Monkey Bread. :) The name was amusing, and it was a simple enough premise—balls of bread dough baked in a tube or bundt pan. There were several variations and, seeing what ingredients I had on hand, I chose 2 recipes and merged them with an addition of my own.

It went together way too easily. I made cinnamon syrup before leaving, and also mixed together cinnamon and sugar. I then chopped some toasted pecans. I just needed to remember to put the frozen dough in the refrigerator after dinner that evening.

Well, I did (!!!) and the following morning all I had to do was cut the loaves of dough into pieces, roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, layer the dough balls in a bundt pan (of which I had coated the bottom and sides with orange marmalade and then sprinkled chopped pecans on the bottom). After the dough balls had been added, I poured the warmed cinnamon syrup over all, covered, and set it to rise for 45 minutes. It took about 23 minutes to bake (I actually remembered to check early since I was using a dark pan), and I removed it from the oven where the bread cooled for 5 minutes. After loosening the sides and middle with a spatula, I placed an inverted serving platter on top. Holding both pan and platter together, I held my breath and flipped it over. Then I realized that everyone, kids and adults, had come into the kitchen to watch. I took a deep breath and gently eased the pan from the bread. Perfect. Absolutely gorgeously perfect! I would have liked to shout and take a jump into the air, but that would have given the impression that I was not confident about this recipe. I wasn’t, but I like to pretend (remember, this was the first time I tried such a bread). ;)

Look at this mass o’ gooey deliciousness!

Although the saturated fat amount is low, the calories per serving is high (and remember, this is for 2 rolls per serving). Still, I took a little comfort in the fact that this was made with whole-wheat dough… hey, 3g of fiber per serving-- practically a health food!

The bread was tender, and the topping a heavenly sticky mixture of cinnamon and orange and pecan.

Anyway, it was a big hit and I definitely will make this again. It is best eaten shortly after baking (the leftovers get soggy), so it is a perfect bread to make for a special brunch or breakfast with family and friends. I’m going to try to remember this recipe for when we visit my parents in March.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Orange-Pecan Whole Wheat Monkey Bread

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 12

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

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Whole Wheat Bread -- dough; 2 pounds (can use frozen)

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup 2% low-fat milk -- (skim milk may also be used)

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup orange marmalade

1/3 cup chopped pecans

If frozen, thaw the bread dough in the refrigerator for 12-14 hours. Otherwise prepare dough through second rising, then punch down and cover.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a small saucepan, mix the next five ingredients (sugar through butter) and heat until boiling, then turn down the heat a bit and simmer for 2 minutes (stir frequently). Pour into a small bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

Mix the next 3 ingredients (sugar through cinnamon) in a small, shallow bowl and set aside.

Spray a large (12-cup) Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spoon the marmalade into the bottom of the pan and spread it around a little. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the marmalade. Set aside.

Place the dough on a cutting board. If using fresh dough, divide into 2 pieces and form each, on a floured board, into an approximately 8" long log. For both fresh and frozen dough, cut each log in half lengthwise. Turn each of the four pieces onto the cut side and cut again lengthwise. Cut each log-quarter across into 6 pieces. You will have a total of 24 roll-sized pieces of dough (alternatively, you can divide the dough into 24 pieces, then roll each piece into a ball, but I feel that this way is easier).

Use the same cutting technique for the frozen, thawed bread dough. Most of the commercially-prepared doughs come in 1-pound loaves.

Dip each piece of dough into the dry cinnamon/sugar mixture and roll until coated. Place each piece into the Bundt pan, arranging them evenly. When finished, pour the (warm) liquid cinnamon/sugar mixture over all. Spray with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove from oven to a rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the outer and inner edges with a spatula. Invert a large serving plate over the top and, holding both plate and pan firmly, flip over. Wait for about 30 seconds, then carefully remove the pan. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Per serving: 272 Calories (kcal); 7g Total Fat (3g saturated); (22% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 51g Carbohydrate; 6mg Cholesterol; 128mg Sodium; 3g fiber

Food Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates

1 Comment:

Laura said...

Ooooh, what a yummy variation on monkey bread. Growing up, we called it Pull Apart Cake and it was a special treat. I will have to give this a try....