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Sugar and Spice Monkey Bread

Sweet Thang told me that he doesn't like this bread.  He loves it! Ha ha ha...from the mouths of babes.  I mean, you expect that sometimes when it's coming from an adult, but he was so serious.  It shocked me that he didn't "like" it since he asks me weekly to bake a loaf of the cinnamon-sugar pull-apart ricotta bread that he craves.  And yes, this is along the same lines. He totally gets his sense of humor from me. {wink, wink}  In all seriousness, though...the actual taste, texture, and consistency of the actual bread hiding inside that glimmering layer of cinnamon-sugar goodness is to die for.  It's substantial, yet soft...enriched with eggs and butter...and would make a great base for many sweet breads.  Do I need to tell you that this was gone in much less time that it took to make it?  I thought not.
Sugar and Spice Monkey Bread
adapted from The Artisan Bread Machine
yield: 1 loaf

½ c. sugar
¾ tsp. fine sea salt
2 large eggs, beaten
⅔ c. lukewarm buttermilk
⅓ c. unsalted butter, softened
3½ c. bread flour
1½ tsp. instant yeast

scant ¾ c. granulated sugar
1 heaping Tbs. ground cinnamon

½ c. unsalted butter, melted
Add the dough ingredients, in order listed, to pan of bread machine (ending with yeast).  Select the dough cycle and press start.  When the cycle is finished, turn dough out onto work surface and punch down gently.  Divide dough into 20 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball between your palms.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small, wide dish/bowl.  Dip each of the dough balls into the melted butter, then roll each in the cinnamon-sugar.  Arrange them in a silicone (or well-greased) bundt pan in even layers.  Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise for ~30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F during last 15 minutes of rise time.  Slide remove plastic, slide into oven and bake until lightly browned on top and 190° F in center, ~35-40 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for ~15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
There are many theories as to why monkey bread is called monkey bread.  Once you've made it, all suspicions will be confirmed.  The scent of the loaf baking will start to drive the little monkeys mad.  They will all be eagerly awaiting the moment it can be turned out onto a serving plate.  And it will be totally irresistible sitting there beckoning from its perch.  Hands will reach out and in the seconds that follow,  you will hear "ooooh...ooooh...aaaah" as those tender fingers try gingerly (yet madly) to pull steaming bits of sticky bread from the loaf sitting in front of them.

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