SMiLes by Meg

Pull Aparts

I love holidays. Everything about them. I like to decorate for them. I like to wear silly themed earrings for them. I like to listen to Christmas music on repeat until I annoy everyone around me. I obviously like to bake for them. But more than anything else, I love that they mean I get to spend lots of time with my family.

This weekend, I got a full 4 days with my parents and brother, and it was awesome. As we’ve gotten older, times where we are all together are getting further and further apart. My brother goes to school in Chicago, I live in New Jersey, and my parents live in Massachusetts, so its not exactly easy for us to all get to one place. But I am never happier than when we are. We may bicker occasionally and fight over the TV, but there is no one else I would rather do those things with. My family gets me, and this Thanksgiving, I am most grateful for them.

So, it makes sense that this post is a family tradition that we’ve had for as long as I can remember: Pull Aparts on Thanksgiving morning.

Pull Aparts are the same thing as Monkey Bread, for those of you more familiar with that name, but I think better because the recipe comes from my grandmother and is wonderfully particular about a couple of things, most significantly the emphasis on walnut-sized balls of dough.

First, rinse the bowl of a stand mixer in warm water, and add the 1 3/4 cups warm water to the bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir in the sugar and salt until completely dissolved.

Pull Aparts - 1Next, add the egg, butter, and 3 cups of flour. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth using the paddle attachment.

Pull Aparts - 2Add the remaining 3 cups of flour and switch to the dough hook, beating additionally until of desired consistency. It should be together and slightly sticky.

Pull Aparts - 3Pull Aparts - 4Brush the top of the dough with melted butter and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Alternatively, you could grease a separate bowl and put the dough in there, covering it with the damp towel.

Pull Aparts - 5Pull Aparts - 6Put the bowl in the fridge and allow to rise at least 2 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down and return dough to the fridge to rise overnight.

Pull Aparts - 7The next morning, the dough should have risen a bit more, like this:

Pull Aparts - 8Preheat the oven to 350°F and melt 3/4 stick of butter, putting it in a bowl. Combine cinnamon and sugar “until it’s the right color”. I deferred to my mom on this:

Pull Aparts - 9Then, set up an assembly line. Roll the dough into walnut sized pieces (see walnut in photo for reference), dip in butter, roll in cinnamon sugar, and put into baking pan.

Pull Aparts - 10Pull Aparts - 11We have a pull apart pan that we’ve used forever, I think its about a 10 inch round cake pan with high walls, but you can really use anything. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes or “until they look done”. (That’s directly out of the recipe)

Pull apart and enjoy!

Pull Aparts - 12 Pull Aparts

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 stick butter, melted, divided
  • cinnamon and sugar for coating

Directions:

  1. Pour warm water into large bowl of electric mixer rinsed in hot water. Sprinkle yeast over water; add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved completely.
  2. Add egg, soft butter, and 3 cups flour with electric mixer at medium speed using the paddle attachment for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  3. Gradually add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, and beat using a dough hook until dough comes together.
  4. Brush top of dough with melted butter and cover bowl with a damp towel. Allow to rise in fridge for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down and return to fridge overnight.
  6. Melt butter and put in bowl. Mix cinnamon and sugar to make coating and put in separate bowl. Roll dough into walnut-sized pieces, dip in butter, roll in cinnamon sugar, and place in baking dish.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes or until they look done.

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