Happy Fat Tuesday! I am definitely in the fat mood today and I was craving some Kings Cake, but with just my husband and I in the house, I felt that making a whole Kings Cake would be a waste. The more I looked at recipes, the more I realized that Kings Cake was basically the same as Monkey bread- just with the “monkey” on the inside (Monkey bread = bread coated in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar :: Kings Cake= bread filled with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar). So I combined the two into a mini Pull Apart Kings Cake Recipe. This recipe has the best of both worlds- the yummy buttery brown sugar-ness, the soft almond bread, and the traditional Mardi Gras frosting! Fat Tuesday Indeed.
1/8 cup water, warmed to approximately 110*F
1 1/4 t. active dry yeast
2 – 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 t almond extract
2 T sugar
1/3 c. apple sauce (or you could substitute an egg – we were out of eggs, so I used apple sauce)
1 t. baking powder
1T butter, melted
1/2 c. milk, warmed to approximately 110*F
1/2 c brown sugar (you may need more based on how well you coat the dough balls)
1T ground cinnamon
2 T melted butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar
3 t milk
Begin by warming the water to approximately 110*F. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let stand for about 5 minutes or until frothy.
In a stand mixer with a dough hook attached, combine the yeast/water, salt, sugar, baking powder, apple sauce, warmed milk, melted butter and the almond extract; mix well. Add 1 cup of flour and mix until smooth, pausing mixer to scrape down the sides. Add the additional cup of flour and mix until dough pulls away from the sides. You may have to add up to an additional half cup of flour to achieve this. Continue mixing to knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Remove bowl from mixer, cover with a dish cloth and allow to rise in a warm area for 30 minutes.
After about 25 minutes have passed, begin to prepare the pan and coating. Spray a 9″ loaf pan with non stick spray and set aside. In a bowl mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon – in a second small bowl, melt the butter. I like to set up an assembly line at this point – my bowl of dough, the bowl of melted butter, bowl of sugar and my loaf pan.
Once dough has risen, punch down and break of bits of dough to roll into small (one half inch to one inch) balls. Dip the balls into the butter, and then roll in the sugar mix to coat. Place the dough into the loaf pan. Continue until you have used all of the dough. Preheat the oven to 350* and allow the balls to rise for a few minutes in the pan while the oven heats up.
This is what it should look like pre-baking
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. While the bread is cooking, prepare the frosting (optional). In 3 small bowls, place 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1 t milk. Mix well until it is a drizzling consistency (note that the food coloring will water it down slightly). Place a few drops of food coloring in each bowl to make the three Mardi Gras colors- purple, green and yellow. (The frosting is completely optional- it is definitely sweet enough as is, but the extra pop of color is fun for Mardi Gras!)
When the loaf is done, remove from oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Turn loaf pan over onto plate, and drizzle with the colored frosting for that Mardi Gras look. Serve immediately while it is still warn and revel in the joy that is Mardi Gras Monkey King Cake.
How did you celebrate Fat Tuesday? Did you make something delectable? Let me know in the comments!