Guest Post: Monkey Bread

I have a guest blogger today - my brother Craig! You may remember Craig from the time I beat him in our family's chili cookoff.

Aww, poor Craig.

I'll be fair, though. Craig's chili was excellent and I was scared for a little while that I might not win. Cooking ability clearly runs in the family and Craig has surprised me on many occasions with his concoctions. To boot, he's a hilarious writer. Hopefully this won't be the last time he contributes - what's a little good-natured ribbing between siblings, anyway?

Cinnamon-Sugar-Pull-Apart-Bun-Roll-Shaped-Thing (Name not cool)

I think there is an official recipe for this, but I'm not certain. All coincidences are unintentional.

I was a third-grade plumper when I started playing baseball with Austin's little league program. I played for the Oakland A's; this was back when little league was allowed to use actual baseball team names, not this new business where every other team is either a Shark or a Jet, West Side Story notwithstanding. The first year we were terrible but we kept our hopes high, mainly because we were all nine or ten. The games were usually on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, meaning during morning games we either had to wait until after our beating to eat or some team mom would bring granola bars or a poster board with syrup on it. We would usually get by with Big League Chew or sunflower seeds. But one day, one fateful day, our catcher's mom brought in the coolest breakfast for us: it tasted like a gigantic cinnamon roll that we could pick chunks from and run off while we finished our pre-game warm up. As fate would have it we won that game, maybe. I actually don't remember. But the season ended and it faded away.

The next year came around and all the younger players were now the older players and we had that magic meal before every morning game, and the parents forced us to eat it with oranges so we at least got something good in our systems. For every handfull of it you also got a handfull of oranges. We finished second place that year, and I now blame the losses on not having our magic snack with us during night games.

Time went by and it was forgotten about, and on a trip to Disney World it hit me again: There it was, but this time in the shape of Mickey Mouse. And it was free! Every morning we were there I would rip off his ear and drop it on my plate, remembering how badly I played baseball but also remembering how much fun I had at sucking.

Again, time went by and I had forgotten about it then one day earlier this year it hit me on how to make it. I went from a third grader who only got on base by a walk or by being hit by the pitch to a Premed college guy who still freakin loved it. Think of it as the Madeline story from that French guy.

After raiding the grocery store for the stuff I needed, I paid about three dollars. If that, actually. If you're like me you have two containers of cinnamon but barely started on the first one because, let's be honest, no one does an inventory of their cinnamon supply. I bet you also have regular sugar, brown sugar and butter. All you need now is the dough. I admit I get a head start by buying store brand giant biscuits, sans the flaky layers. Get yourself some type of baking vessel, be it a bundt pan or a bread pan or even a tall cake pan, anything you can stack and flip works fine. Get the biscuits and open it up (the trick is to smash it against the counter really hard) and cut the biscuits in half, then four slices across each semicircle. Start off using one roll of biscuits, but if your pan is bigger you may need to use two. When it's uncooked it should come up about halfway up the pan. Make yourself a mixture of the cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar. Do about one tbsp of the cinnamon, about ½ cup of regular sugar and a whole cup, yes a whole cup of brown sugar. Lightly wet the biscuit pieces and toss them in the mixture, a hand full of chunks at a time. Make sure they're covered. In the cooking pan, spray it with some nonstick spray and add four thin pats of butter to the bottom. Add the hand full of dough and add some extra mix and the same amount of butter. Do that until you're out and toss it in a 375 oven for about 20-25 minutes.

This is not healthy. Serve with thickly-sliced oranges because your mom says to.

Editor's note: because I prefer a list of ingredients to a paragraph, and because I want to:

1-2 canisters refrigerated large biscuits (the poppin' fresh kind)
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tbs butter/ 8 pats

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