Pizza monkey bread

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Every once in a while, I come across a recipe for monkey bread. If you have never heard of it before, it’s usually a dessert that’s made of little pieces of homemade bread dough, covered in butter and cinnamon sugar and then baked in a tube pan. Once slightly cooled you rip off a piece and dip it in caramel. Sounds amazing, right? I always want to make it, but I never do. I came across a savoury version of monkey bread where the pieces of dough are filled with pepperoni and mozzarella, rolled in butter and herbs and parmesan, baked and then dipped in marinara sauce. Kids love monkey bread because it’s small and they can pull it apart and dip their own pieces. This food needs to be played with. My husband loved this monkey bread because it tasted like mini-garlic breads with a pizza surprise! It was also a perfect snack for our after-school pre-dinner play date.

This recipe is good, but takes a bit of time, so don’t leave it to the last minute and be sure to pay attention to your type of yeast. The recipe calls for instant quick rise, but I use traditional yeast and had to proof it by following the directions on the package and then proceeding with the recipe as indicated. Also, don’t stop at pepperoni and cheese – add olives, or mushrooms, or your other favourite pizza toppings to up the flavour!

On April 1, 2012, my family became weekday vegetarians. We are (ovo-lacto) vegetarians from Monday to Friday and on Saturday and Sunday, we occasionally allow ourselves to enjoy responsibly raised meat. We eat eggs and dairy products (again, organic or free range where possible) and a whole bunch of vegetables but are very selective with the meat we put in our bodies. WIth an almost 5 year old and an almost 3 year old, we thought this would be a huge, exhausting challenge but it ended up showing us that we don’t really need to eat meat, nor do we want to. My children eat very balanced meals and snacks and enjoy their weekend meat time, but for the most part, are happy little vegetarians. This recipe falls into the non-vegetarian category, but it is very easily adjustable to be vegetarian. However you make it, I hope you love it. Adapted from the Fall 2012 Robin Hood Booklet.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) instant quick-rise yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Filling

  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup assorted vegetables, chopped

Bread Topping

  • approximately 1 cup freshly grated parmesan (not the powdery stuff, but real cheese)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Marinara sauce for dipping. Side note: I prefer to use pasta sauce instead of pizza sauce because an organic pasta sauce can have approximately one quarter the sodium content than a pizza sauce.

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a dough hook) mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix together the oil and water in your measuring cup and pour it into the bowl of your mixer. Start the mixer on low to get all the ingredients together, then increase it to medium for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. If your dough is still sticky, remove it from the bowl and put on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it is elastic but no longer sticky. More than likely, your dough will be good to go from your mixer and can be placed in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap and left to rise for 30 minutes.
  3. Grease your tube plan.
  4. Divide dough into 36 equal pieces. Flatten each piece with your hands and place a mixture of the topping (pepperoni, cheese and vegetables) into the centre. Close the dough around the filling and roll it to form a ball. Set aside. Continue in this way until all your dough pieces are filled.
  5. In a large bowl, place a third of the balls and drizzle with a third of the butter. Toss until every piece is coated. Then sprinkle with the parmesan-herb topping. Once finished, gently place the filled dough pieces into the tube pan. Do this two more times until are your dough pieces are topped and placed in your pan. Drizzle with the remaining butter, parmesan and herbs, if there is any.
  6. Let rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the pan to loosen any stuck pieces. Place a plate on top and invert pizza monkey bread onto the plate. There will be a convenient hole in the middle which will fit a little bowl filled with your marinara sauce. Enjoy!
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