Saturday, June 7, 2014

Monkey Bread and What's In a Name?

Is it Monkey Bread? or Cinnamon Pull-Aparts as my cookbook describes it? Or is it ooey-gooey sweet bread waiting to be devoured, like it looks on my counter? Does it matter what we call it? What's in a name anyway?

Before I tackle that question with an illustration from the Nordic Ware company- here is the recipe I follow, without the optional nuts. [Nuts are never an option at our house. It's okay, really. We manage to get enough protein and for some of us, we don't even know what we are missing. For those of us who do know what we are missing - we eat peanuts on the sly when we are far, far away and will not be within hugging distance of our class-six-peanut-allergy-cuties.]

 Now, here is the recipe:

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 to 3 (12 ounce) cans refrigerator biscuits, quartered
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put cinnamon, sugar, and nuts, if desired, in a resealable plastic bag. Add quartered biscuits to bag and shake to coat biscuits. Place biscuits in a greased 10 inch bundt** pan.

Mix butter and brown sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. (Can also be put in a saucepan and heated together [I cook mine in the microwave.]) Pour sauce over top of biscuits, distributing evenly. Bake 30 to 40 minutes (Check at 30 minutes--3 cans of biscuits may take 40 minutes.) Turn pan upside down on serving plate to release the biscuit ring.

That little gem of a recipe is from Diane Wilson, out of the book "Remedies for the I Don't Cook Syndrome," compiled by Janet Peterson. Great book and great title, isn't it?

I must be waiting for the "Remedies for the I Don't Sew Syndrome," or the "I Don't Scrapbook Syndrome."

Oh well. Until those hit the shelf, my family and I can enjoy some Monkey bread.

**By the way, according to my handy research over at Wikipedia (don't judge)
 "The people credited with popularizing the Bundt cake are American businessman brothers: H. David Dalquist and Mark S. Dalquist, who co-founded cookware company Nordic Ware. In the late 1940s,Rose Joshua and Fannie Schanfield, friends and members of the Minneapolis Jewish-American Hadassah Society approached Dalquist asking if he could produce a modern version of a traditional cast iron Gugelhupf dish. [I looked this up to, but I won't go into it here, except to say it's something like a fruit cake.] Dalquist and company engineer Don Nygren designed a cast aluminum version which Nordic Ware then made a small production run of in 1950. In order to successfully trademark the pans, a "t" was added to the word "Bund". A number of the original Bundt pans now reside in the Smithsonian collection."
"Initially, the Bundt pan sold so poorly that Nordic Ware considered discontinuing it. ... did not gain real popularity until 1966, when a Bundt cake called the "Tunnel of Fudge", baked by Ella Helfrich, took second place at the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off and won its baker $5,000. The resulting publicity resulted in more than 200,000 requests to Pillsbury for Bundt pans and soon led to the Bundt pan surpassing the tin Jell-O mold as the most-sold pan in the United States. In the 1970s Pillsbury licensed the name Bundt from Nordic Ware and for a while sold a range of Bundt cake mixes."
"To date more than 60 million Bundt pans have been sold by Nordic Ware across North America. To mark the 60th anniversary of the pan the company designated November 15 as "National Bundt Day"."
And so what's in a name? How many people wanted to cook their cake in something called a BUNDT pan? Maybe not too many. But how many people wanted to be able to bake something called the "Tunnel of Fudge?"  Who wouldn't want to have the pan that could make that a reality? Looks like I have more research to do. Meanwhile, enjoy the Monkey Bread!


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