My kids asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, and it didn’t take me long to answer. “I want you to cook with me.”
It’s was birthday, they couldn’t refuse.
It’s a huge value for me to have my kids in the kitchen for two reasons:
First, I strongly believe that cooking is excellent for our mental health. It uses the senses- taste, touch, smell. It doesn’t allow us to be distracted by other pursuits (something might burn), so we have to focus. It is an embodied activity – something that requires us to use our minds and bodies to do it. In an increasingly digital world, all of this is so good!
Second, I want my kids to have life skills that they can carry with them their entire lives. I don’t know if there is a more practical life skill than cooking.
Plus, bonus, it builds relationship – my ultimate goal and mission.
Do my kids always jump at the chance to cook with me? Um….. that would be no. I have three teenage boys in the house right now. However, whenever I get the chance, I talk them into rolling sushi by hand, helping turn meat on the grill, and into dipping rounds of dough in butter for monkey bread.
Yes, monkey bread. A true motivator for all kids no matter what age! Who doesn’t love it? Mountains of dough balls covered in a buttery, cinnamon, sugar sauce? Pretty awesome.
This recipe is foolproof. and so dang good. It won’t be hard to get the kids in the kitchen for this one.
After making the dough, roll it into balls and dip in butter, then in cinnamon and sugar. You can stack them in either bundt pans or bread tins. If I’m doing smaller “stacks” then I use loaf pans.
These are stacked three layers high and have not gone through the second rise.
This is what they look like after they’ve risen again. We left the room and let them rise just a little too long!
Here is the recipe – way to go mamas! Keep those kids in the kitchen with you – it does so much more than put food on the table.Print
Monkey Bread Mania
Delicious balls of gooey dough that taste like cinnamon rolls, but are even better!
1 package dry yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
2 cups hot water
1/3 c. Crisco
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 cups all purpose bread flour (if you have it)
3/4 c. buttter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. half and half
1 1/2 chopped pecans (optional – my kids don’t like them)
1/2 c. butter, melted
small bowl of cinnamon and sugar
Dissolve yeast and 2 Tbsp. sugar in 1/4 cup warm water and let stand 5 min. Set aside. Dissolve salt and 1/4 cup sugar in 2 cups hot water. Add the Crisco and mix well (do not add yeast mixture yet). When the water is a bit cooled, add the egg, 2 cups flour, and yeast mixture and beat until smooth. Add 2 cups more flour and beat again. Add remaining 2 cups flour and work until all dough is moistened.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise for an hour or in the refrigerator overnight.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add brown sugar and half and half. Bring sauce to a simmer. Set aside.
After the dough has doubled in size, divide it in half and deep one half in the bowl covered. With the other half, roll into 2 in. ball pieces. Dip each ball into the melted 1/2 c. butter. Roll in the bowl of cinnamon and sugar. Place rolled balls into a greased bundt pan or greased loaf pans. Continue stacking the balls until the container is filled.
Pour the sauce over the balls. At this point you can let it rise again for an hour, or put it straight into the oven.
Bake at 375 for 20-25 min. Watch carefully. Monkey bread should NOT be overcooked.
After the pan cools a bit, invert on a plate.
Watch them disappear!
*You may want to double the sauce to have some to drizzle on the finished product at the end.