Now, here’s a monkey that you wouldn’t want to get off your back (read hands). Ever heard of a monkey bread? This sweet, sticky, buttery delight came to America all the way from Hungary via Hungarian immigrants, and hit the streets of southern California around the 1940s. Some even say Nancy Reagan took such a liking to the monkey bread that she served them to the White House guests in the 1980s. Whatever the tales may tell, the humble monkey bread has wowed food lovers all over the world. Many sweet, and savoury variations of the recipe are eaten worldwide, mostly because how it can be easily pulled apart with just your fingers.
But, why name such a sweet, sinful, delightful treat a ‘monkey’ bread? While there are way too many stories behind its naming, nothing holds a candle to the one you’re about to read. And, it’s got to do with monkeys, of course! Some say just like monkeys tear everything that they lay their hands on apart with their fingers, so do you while eating this bread. Hence the name, monkey bread. Traditionally cooked over coal fire in clawed pots, the more contemporary version of the monkey bread consists of blobs of biscuit, or bread dough, piled one upon the other in Bundt pans. If you like your sweet treats to be indulgent, and don’t mind all the sticky awesomeness, give the monkey bread a try. Take it a notch higher on the delectable scale, and add some whisky to your monkey bread. Considering the rich sugariness of the bread, a bourbon is the best choice when it comes to infusing your monkey bread with a whisky. The fruity smokiness of the bourbon, and its subtle notes of sweetness marries beautifully into the bread dough. A Kentucky Straight Bourbon works best with this recipe.
Dissolve the yeast in a tablespoon of warm milk with a sprinkling of granulated sugar. In a bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, and the sugar. Whisk in the egg with the milk and water. Gradually add the mixture as well as the yeast mixture to the flour. Knead to form a dough. Keep it covered under a clean kitchen towel, and let is rise for 2 hours in a warm place. Tear apart balls from the dough, and stack them up in a greased Bundt pan. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 45 to 50 min. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the packed brown sugar along with the butter and the bourbon. Drop the cinnamon, and let it bubble away until all the sugar dissolves. Remove the cinnamon stick. Generously brush the baked monkey bread with the bourbon glaze. You can add roasted pecans, or fried bits of bacon for that extra yumminess. Serve hot.
Elegance and the French go hand in hand.
If bourbon reminds you of the Wild West and dusty bars, then there’s a reason for it.