What's Going on Today: Morning at the High Line, then home to start organizing for our trip to Charleston next week - yippee!
Naptime Goals: Prep pecans, cut up biscuits and prepare spice mix to assemble Monkey Bread with daughter once she wakes up.
Tonight's Menu: Fresh Tortellini with Perfect Pesto, Roasted Asparagus (first of the season!), Monkey Bread for dessert.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: It is not just children who want to eat dessert first sometimes...
The other day my friend Melissa sent me a box of dinnerware sets from this awesome new company called ZOOCCHINI. She works for them, but this is not a paid product endorsement. She sent these to my daughter since she knows I'm always on the lookout for awesome new kids dining sets, especially ones that are BPA free and dishwasher friendly. In the spirit of spring, I am giving away three ZOOCCHINI dining sets, see entry details below.
My daughter was immediately smitten with the cool colors and designs, especially the jungle themed set with the monkey on it. In fact, she's become a touch obsessed with monkey's lately and, since she always loves baking with me, I decided to parlay this new interest into a fun project - monkey bread.
Monkey bread is not a particularly gourmet or exotic baked good, but it is a lot of fun to make and even more delicious to eat. It is a great baking project for my daughter since all she has to do is shake the dough chunks with abandon to coat them with spices, then drop them in a bundt pan in no particular order. This is the perfect activity for a toddler who is not yet ready to operate heavy machinery like a KitchenAid or blender.
To prepare things while she was asleep I first toasted and chopped the pecans and placed them in the bundt pan. Then, I sliced the uncooked biscuits into quarters and prepared the spice mix in a sturdy ziploc bag for when she woke up. After that I moved on to spring cleaning and putting together three bags for the Salvation Army (!), I also pulled some pesto out of the freezer to toss with fresh tortellini, along with some fresh local asparagus to roast for our dinner.
As you can see here, when my daughter finally woke up I let her have at it with the dough and the spice mix. Then I melted some butter in a pan, pour it over the whole thing and placed it in the oven while we dove into a fun arts and crafts project. After it was finished baking we let it cool and enjoyed it for dessert after dinner. Everyone loved it, especially my daughter who ate it on her favorite ZOOCHINI monkey plate.
ZOOCCHINI Place Set Giveway (3 winners!)
1) Leave a comment below with your email address and favorite baking project story.
2) Sign up for the ZOOCCHINI newsletter here (we'll be checking!)
3) Contest runs from 3/25/10 at 7:00am ET to 4/1/10 at 11:50pm ET.
4) The Random Number Generator will be used to pick winners. They will be announced on April 2nd!
Monkey Bread with Kids
adapted from a recipe from my friend Char
3 cans of Buttermilk Biscuits, each biscuit cut into quarters
3/4 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1 (3.4 oz) package Butterscotch Instant Pudding Mix
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a bundt pan and set aside.
2. Toast pecans in a small skillet or in the toaster. Once they have cooled, chop them finely and sprinkle in the bundt pan.
3. In a large ziploc bag add the pudding mix, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Shake to make sure they are mixed in the bag. Then, slice the buttermilk biscuits into fourths and add the chunks of dough to the spice bag. Close the bag and shake it vigorously to make sure all of the dough is evenly coated with the spices.
4. Remove the dough and place it, somewhat evenly, in the bundt pan. Pour any of the remaining spices over the dough.
5. Melt the butter on the stovetop of over the microwave and pour it over the dough.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until dough is fully cooked through and fragrant.
Naptime Recipe Variations and Ideas: If you can't find buttermilk biscuits this recipe also works well with frozen dinner rolls, or you can use biscuit dough you make from scratch. Feeling like changing up the flavor? No problem! Try using more nutmeg, cardamom or other warm spices to give it a new taste.
Naptime Make-Ahead Tips: If you don't want to bake the cake immediately after assembly simply leave it, covered, in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. It will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.
Naptime Stopwatch: Preparing the dough and spice mixture takes approximately 15 minutes.Naptime Reviews: This is a great recipe for kids and adults. It is especially great to serve when entertaining for brunch!