Monday, February 17, 2014

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread (or Elephant Ears Bread)

When I saw this post by RecipeSnobs, my mouth immediately started to water. I love cinnamon sugar, I love bread, but to actually make the loafs... I'm "meh"... so this was such a great alternative and trust me, it's an addicting one too. It's elephant ears without being fried, it's bread without the loaf, it's... it's... just... so... freaking... good...

Here's what you'll need:

For the dough:
2 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup whole milk (I actually used 2%)
1/4 cup water
2 eggs (original post recommends at room temperature but mine were straight from the fridge)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I only had enough for half and it was fine)
For the filling:
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 Tbsp. butter, melted (though I only used about 3Tbsp.)
First, combine only 2 Cups of flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt.

While those are mixing away, melt your butter and milk in a small pan.

Once melted, add your water and vanilla. As I said, I only had 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and it still turned out amazeballs.

Put the pan off the burner and let sit for 5 minutes. While that's cooling, whisk together two eggs in a separate bowl.

Once the butter/milk mixture has cooled, slowly add it to the mixer with the dry ingredients.

Then add the eggs and 3/4 C of flour.

When the dough is sticky, place it in a greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 30-45 minutes (however long it takes to double in size). Mine took about 40 minutes to rise.

While the dough is rising, combine your sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.

During this time, I recommend:
1. preparing your workspace (i.e. - cleaning the area where you'll be rolling out the dough and laying down flour) 
2. melting 4T of butter in a bowl and
3. greasing your bread pan

Once the dough has risen, add 2 Tablespoons of flour and knead it in. Cover the dough and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes.

Once the dough is ready, roll it out on a floured surface to the thickness you desire and cover the dough with the melted butter. As I said, 3 Tablespoons was plenty for me, 4 was excessive.

Next, take that sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg combo and sprinkle it all over the dough. Trust me, there's no such thing as too much!

Once covered, take your knife or pizza cutter and make approximately 2" squares. It's not an exact science so don't be worried if it's not perfect.

Stack your squares on top of one another and make a few piles so it's easier to put them in the bread pan.

Put your squares in the bread pan and cover with whatever excess cinnamon sugar might be on the table. Cover the dough and let it rise for a final 10-15 minutes before putting in the oven. Heat your oven to 350 degrees and place a baking pan underneath, in case any juices come out during the baking.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread is golden brown. I baked mine for 30 minutes and while the outside was done, the inside was a bit doughy so be mindful. Pull apart and enjoy!

I already had all the ingredients
1 hour to make dough and let rise
25 minutes to make dough squares and let rise

30 minutes in oven
EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 2 out of 5
The only "difficult" thing I found was making sure it wasn't doughy in the middle but if you just keep an eye on it, you should be fine!

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