First, we had peppermint brownies. Then, carmelitas. Now, these cranberry walnut bagels. In other news, I am officially set for the winter with carbs (lolololololz, just kidding. I can never have too many carbs).
Speaking of carbs, a story: Last week, my husband approached me with an idea. “I’m reading a preview of this book,” he said. “OK,” I said, probably while eating one of the aforementioned carbs. “It’s called ‘Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog.’ I think I want to order it,” he said.
Here’s where you think I’m totally kidding about the title of the book. I am not. This is real life, guys.
Continuing: “From what I’ve read so far, the writer says you should eat more fatty foods like bacon and cheese and fewer carbs like bread and bagels. What do you think?”
You know what they say about Thanksgiving — eat all the turkey and green bean casserole and cranberry sauce and pie, twice, then make cherry cheesecake monkey bread and eat that, too. At least that’s how we do/did this year.
Because my husband works in the medical field, and we need medical people even on holidays, he worked on Thursday afternoon so I ended up having two Thanksgivings: one on Thursday with his family and one on Saturday with mine. My belly = SO FULL, and my heart = so thankful. And nestled right in between the two days of festiveating was the making of (and, also, eating of) this monkey bread.
Please excuse me while I collect myself as I think back on those fond memories of eating said bread warm from the oven with cherry pie filling and cream cheese icing and soft, pillowy, baked-from-scratch pull-apart dough and GAH. Maybe we all need a moment.
Think of this recipe as the result of the fact that a) I love carbs and b) because of my carb love, I couldn’t decide between pumpkin pie and dinner rolls. So I combined them.
Genius/crazy/this is my brain on Thanksgiving? It’s probably all of the above.
Thanksgiving has looked a little different for us every year for the last five or so years. While growing up it was always at my parents’ house, since Elliott and I got hitched it’s also been in our tiny apartment in Iowa, at his parents’ place and this year, we are hosting again. Except on Saturday, instead of Thursday (because the husband has to work on the holiday, boo).
Another new tradition that’s popped up somewhat unplanned-ly is the fact that I always end up making the dinner rolls and at least one of the desserts. It’s not like we even decided, “Hey Steph, these are the things you make.” It just happened that way — which means those are just the things I tend to make for funsies. Someone else can be in the charge of the turkey; I’m very good at eating that, though.
This year, these pumpkin pie brioche rolls will obviously be gracing the Thanksgiving dinner table as the dinner roll portion of the evening’s eating festivities. If they can make it that long. I’ve already polished off three of them for testing purposes, ahem.
I really like the term “baker’s dozen” when it comes before words like “bagels,” or “doughnuts,” or “slices of cake.” But it’s also pretty nifty when it refers to 13 baking tips and tricks that come in handy for, well, baking. In case that wasn’t obvious.
Having a list of baking tips and tricks isn’t something I conjured up overnight. You can refer to the times I’ve baked molten lava loaves or challah crowns on wax paper (!) as proof (side note: shield your eyes from the horrid photography) that this journey of learning the baking knowledge has been years in the making. And I still have much to learn. Still, what good is all this knowledge I have thus far acquired if I can’t share it with you? Mostly because I want you to avoid the pitfalls I’ve had along the way — though I think you all are smarter enough than me to know that wax paper does not go into the oven.
Not only am I sharing a recipe with you that is, quite honestly, the best thing I’ve baked all season, it’s also the day I get to share with you the awesome partnership between Red Star Yeast and Stop Hunger Now and their joint campaign to bake the world a better place.
Oh, AND there is a giveaway at the end. AND it’s Friday. Let’s dance the Carlton for all o’ that.
Sometimes I think the food that I make doesn’t really matter or make a difference. I mean, yes, there is nothing I love more than to provide a meal to my family and to anyone who comes over — it’s what I love most about food, really, that it brings people together in a joyful and intentional way. But at the end of the day, I don’t feel like my enchiladas are going to save the world, just my hangry-ness.
That’s why Red Star Yeast and Stop Hunger Now are coming together to raise awareness of their mission: To end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources. Did you know that 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat, and that every day, more than 25,000 people die abroad of hunger and hunger-related causes? It is why Stop Hunger Now aims to provide nutritional, filling meals worldwide. In 2013, roughly 125,000 volunteers worldwide packaged more than 42 million meals for recipients in 30 countries. Also in 2013, Stop Hunger Now sent more than $9 million worth of donated goods — including antibiotics, birthing kits, water filters, school desks, projectors, fabric and solar lights — to countries in need.
In 2014, they — and we — want to make those numbers even bigger. And it can happen starting with the food we make in our homes.
Sometimes I wish I had one of those potions from Alice in Wonderland so I can make myself small enough to lay on a slice of this Italian bread like a pillow. A heavenly soft, carbolicious pillow.
But seriously, how wonderful would that be? Because not only are you totally comfy-cozy, you also have a snack right there to munch on as needed. And then when you want to eat the bread as a sandwich or make it into a yummy baked French toast or strata or something, you can take the potion that makes you big again. It’s perfect.
Aaaaaand I’ve lost you. But homemade, soft-on-the-inside-crusty-on-the-outside classic Italian bread, remember? Yes, let’s focus more on that.