Omnivore - Get in Ma Mouth: Monkey Bread Edition
Pulling apart the sweet sweet monkey bread at Proof Bakeshop
? If you've ever tried monkey bread, chances are you've been seduced by its sweet, soft and buttery, cinnamon spell. Not familiar with the treat? I particularly like its Wikipedia entry, which may not tell you that much about monkey bread itself, but at least provides a litany of amusing alternate names:
? Monkey bread, also called monkey puzzle bread, sticky bread, African coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me cake, pluck-it cake, bubble loaf, Legal Brioche and monkey brains citation needed is a sweet, sticky, gooey pastry served in the United States for dessert or as a treat. It consists of pieces of soft bread with cinnamon sprinkled on it and is often served at fairs and other parks. ??
? The distinguishing factor of monkey bread is the fact that it's made up of many individual orbs of dough, mushed together, but easily pulled apart. Imagine a gaggle of donut holes snuggling together on a comfy couch, draped in a warm blanket of buttery cinnamon and sugar, and slowly but surely... one by one... the donut holes depart the comfy couch and plop right down into the confines of your mouth. Pleasure ensues. That is monkey bread.
? Most home recipes for monkey bread (like this one from the Pioneer Woman, or Martha's, or even Betty Crocker's) involve enough individual orbs of dough to make a sweet snack for a full family, using a bundt pan or round cake pan. But Proof Bakeshop in Inman Park makes a phenomenal personal monkey bread ($3.25). And by personal, I don't mean that this monkey bread is particularly more intimate than other monkey breads, but rather that its proportions are well suited for one individual to consume at one sitting. Preferably alongside a mug of steaming hot coffee.
? Abigail Quinn, Proof's co-pastry chef alongside David Garcia, came up with her monkey bread while she was still working out of the kitchen at Cakes & Ale (the mother ship for Proof Bakeshop). "We originally did a traditional large monkey bread," she shared, "and thought we could just sell pieces of it, but the best part about monkey bread is breaking off the pieces for yourself, so we thought it would be fun for our customers to have a mini monkey 'experience' so to say." Brilliant move, Ms. Quinn.
? Proof's monkey bread is perfectly chewy and avoids the over-sticky goop that many monkey breads fall into, though you are sure to need to lick your fingers as you pull the glazed balls of dough apart. Quinn's secret is using an enriched dough similar to that found in brioche, and then coating the mini-balls of dough in cinnamon sugar and a bourbon-brown sugar glaze. If you want to try her monkey bread (and you should), you'll need to swing over to Proof on the early side - they often sell out of these sweet little monkeys by around 9:30 AM.