Last week, our son, Lucas had friends coming over and he was thinking creatively about a special snack... no more pretzels and juice boxes for this teen. His Family Consumer Sciences class at the end of the school year made Monkey Bread, but he wanted to make it even better at home by modifying my basic pizza dough recipe into a sweet bread dough. Good idea. He went to work.
I helped him modify my Basic Thin Crust Pizza Dough with the following changes:
Warm water was increased to 1 - 1/2 cups.
We added 1/2 cup of whole milk.
Instead of the honey, we added 1 tablespoon sugar to the yeast when proofing, and an additional 3 tablespoons sugar to the flour in the mixing bowl.
For flour, we used only bread flour--about 3 - 3-1/2 cups until you get a rather sticky dough.
When mixing the yeast and flour in the bowl, we added 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted. Melt the other 1/2 stick of butter and set aside for the cinnamon coating.
Other than that, make the dough as you would in my Basic Pizza Dough recipe. After the dough rises, use olive oil to coat the insides of a non-stick cupcake or muffin pan.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the 1/2 stick of butter with a cinnamon-sugar mix... about 1 cup should do. If you don't have cinnamon-sugar, use 1/3 cup cinnamon and 2/3 cup sugar. If you like, you can add another spice... a touch of allspice, perhaps.
Turn out the dough onto a well floured work table, then cut 2" thick "ropes" and roll them thinner to about 3/4 - 1" thick. Cut them into 2-3 long pieces. Coat them with the cinnamon-sugar and butter and place them randomly in each compartment of your pan... pile them just over the top of the rim.
When done, you can either spray the top with a butter spray, or place a couple of small dabs of butter on top. When done, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 1 hour.
When doubled in size, bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 35 minutes or until nicely browned and when a cake tester comes out clean.
These are best when served warm. If making the day before, wrap in foil and re-heat in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes.
--Jerry and Lucas Finzi
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