Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cinnamon-Walnut Sweet Bread

This is like a much healthier version of monkey bread! Very yummy. It works well for breakfast if you want to send the kids into the kitchen and buy yourself a few extra minutes...
First, you need 4 ounces of dried cherries.
Cover them with boiling water and let stand until they are at room temperature. You won't actually use them for several hours.
In a liquid measuring cup, or large mug: 3/4 a cup warm water, sprinkle over the top 1 tablespoon active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let sit about 10 minutes.
Take a lemon and grate off the peel, then juice it. I have never had success with the "zest" side of the grater, so I usually use the smallest grating..
In a large bowl: 1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour, the lemon zest, 1/3 a cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Continue by adding the lemon juice, 1 large egg, and 1 cup of plain yogurt, along with the yeast mixture.
Take 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (room temp, or you can also stick it in the microwave 8-10 seconds to soften it. It you do this watch it carefully so it doesn't melt!!) Cut it into pieces and add several at a time to the mixture, mixing well.
Don't worry if the butter doesn't completely dissolve while you are mixing...
Then add the remaining 4 cups of flour 1/2 a cup at a time. Mix well with each addition. I usually switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon after 2-3 cups have been added.
Knead about 1 minute, until dough is soft and springy. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic.
Let raise 1- 1 1/2 hours. Or until doubled.
When the dough is ready melt 1 stick of unsalted butter and set aside.
In a bowl mix together 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) of finely chopped walnuts.
Pour the water off the cherries and pat dry with a paper towel. I chopped mine.
If you have kids let them peek through the 10 inch tube pan before greasing it well.  (he he)
Gently deflate the dough, then grab enough to make a ball the size of an egg. Dip in butter, then in cinnamon mixture.
Place in the pan.
Continue until you have a nice full layer (about half the dough) then sprinkle all the cherries. Then cover with another layer of balls. Drizzle any leftover butter over the top, as well as sprinkle any remaining walnuts.
Cover with plastic and let raise 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. I ended up only raising mine an  hour because I had a fairly warm kitchen from making dinner.
Preheat oven to 375 F. If you are using a tube pan with a removable bottom place on a cookie sheet and/or cover the bottom with foil. Bake 40-45 minutes for the tube pan. OR you can also use two regular 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 pans. They would bake about 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit about two minutes, but no longer. Then dump out. Serve warm, or at room temp. I warmed them one at a time in the microwave, about 10 seconds on day two.

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