Sunday, February 28, 2010

For the first time in my life, the basement in my house flooded last week.
Yes, I'm serious. It did. This past week's Nor'easter dumped 2 inches of rain PER HOUR late Thursday afternoon. Most of which ended up in my back yard......on top of the frozen ground......then into my basement via the ground level laundry room window. Sigh. What a "bleepin" mess, but thankfully the water never reached the carpeting in the adjoining room. Thank god for my neighbors, Bob and Doreen! After using their Wet-Vac to remove hundreds of gallons of water from the floor, I was able to divert the continuing flood in my yard and keep it from flowing back into my basement by running two borrowed submersible pumps every 25 minutes throughout the night. Yes. All night long. Me. In my giant zebra-striped rubber rain boots and bright orange rain slicker. In the yard. All night. Alone. I want to go home. Oh wait, I am home. Crap. "Auntie Em, I'm frightened". I felt like Kate Winslet in Titanic. Only not as beautiful. The only thing missing was my life jacket.

And Leonardo DiCaprio.

........and come to think of it......maybe Noah.

Because just as I was getting ready to assemble the animals in pairs.......the rain finally stopped. Actually, it was 2 am and it slowed, then the temperature dropped about 15 degrees and it changed over to snow.


Anyway, the following day, after self-medicating with Ibuprofen and a giant cup of coffee I had both of my "oars" finally back in the water, I was ready to do some baking. Something fun. Something to take my mind off of anything to do with WATER. Hmmmmmm, something chocolate.

Enter Chunky Chocolate Monkey Bread!

Now, before I tell you the long version of this recipe, I have to tell you that this bread can be just as easily made with a couple of tubes of refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. But since I was still feeling the "high" of working off my narrow escape from going down with the Titanic, I was feeling a little more adventurous than usual. Hence the long way 'round......

This recipe was adapted from Lara Brody's fabulous cookbook, Chocolate American Style. It's a fairly easy recipe to follow with a mouth-watering result. You'll see.

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

3 extra large eggs

20-30 Hershey's Kisses

Cinnamon Sugar for rolling

1 stick butter melted and cooled slightly for dipping

Mix the flour,

sugar and salt,


three extra large eggs,

..and 2/3 cup very warm water.

This measuring cup belonged to my mother. Although it's very worn and cracked, I love it. It makes for the coldest drink of water ever!

I used the bread hook attachment for my Kitchen Aid.

Start the mixer out on slow speed, just until everything is combined,
then turn it to high until the dough is moldable.

Form it into a ball. I looks like something else here, doesn't it? Anyway, shake that image from your mind and leave it in the bowl, covered tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate anywhere from four to twenty-four hours.

After about four hours, I took the refrigerated dough and split it into four sections. Then I floured an area of the counter and rolled out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

Now comes the fun part. Hershey's Kisses. You know them. You love them. So unwrap them. A bunch of them. Milk chocolate please!

...and because I'm a rebel, I unwrapped a few Dark Chocolate Kisses too.

Then mix them all together.

I used a two-inch round cookie cutter and placed a Kiss in the center of each one. Then pinch the sides together, making sure the chocolate Kiss is completely sealed inside.

Then melt some butter and coat each little ball of dough.

Then roll each little ball in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Then stack them in a loaf pan. Or an Angel Food pan.....if you're feeling angelic. I was able to stack them about 2-3 layers high. I finished by pouring what was left of the melted butter (not alot) over the top and shaking the last of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake in a 275 degree oven for about 60 minutes. If it looks like the tops are getting too brown, lightly cover it will foil while the bread is finished baking.

Then take the bread out and let it cool a bit. But not too much. This Monkey Bread is best when it's eaten warm from the oven, or at the very least the same day that it is baked. Yeah, right.

I have willpower. I think I can wait it out.

Can you?


Aunt Grace said...

Oh boy do you create memories! Remember Nana taking her old tin cup, filling it with water on a hot summer day and telling us to drink from it, it was so cold and deliciouse. Of course you don't remember, but I do. I just love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I love KISSES! Lots of 'em and a few HUGS too! Don't you get Hugs with your Kisses?? They sell them at CVS! ;-) Yum! In fact there was a time when SOMEONE would visit us in the south and leave KISSES in our Ice BOX!! Hmm.... WHO WAS THAT??

Oh yeah - Simply Sweet! ;-) Sending kisses and a few hugs your way! Looks delicious! Love, Marg

Lisa said...

OHHH Hershey's Kisses!

We are definitely going to have to try this one!

AND you are just a beautiful as Kate! Even in your "giant zebra-striped rubber rain boots and bright orange rain slicker." You are! You are! You are!

I bet you bake better then Kate!

Wouldn't you know...The house is going to start fighting back:) Stupid House!

The Amazing Trips said...

Oh good heavens, Anne Marie.

Do you have any idea what you're doing to my waistline?!?!? I'm gaining weight just looking at these pictures. Awesome, beautiful, chocolate monkey bread. Well done!!

Auntie's note above totally reminds me of my mom serving me water out of a measuring cup! She'll do it with our kids, too. Sometimes, she serves it straight out of a pot. Which makes Charlie raise an eye brow because his family never served their children water out of a POT. I love how these things are passed down...

Now pass over some of that monkey bread! :)

Anonymous said...

This is so sinful, it's Satanic!
And I mean that in a good way!