I ran across this recipe for cinnamon sugar pull apart bread a while ago and have wanted to make it so bad. Today, I said to heck with the fact that its a yeast dough and takes longer to make, it looks darn good.
Brown Sugar and Spice Pull Apart Bread
For the dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (divided uses)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
1 cup brown sugar sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste) (I used this because I had, for some unknown reason, bought a bottle of this and need to use it up. Use what ever spices you want.)
1/4 cup butter, melted until browned
- In a large mixing bowl mix together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. Whisk together eggs and water set aside. Melt the butter with the milk over medium heat until the butter is almost melted. Remove from the heat and add the water and the vanilla. Let cool until it’s between 115 and 125 degrees.
- Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir for about 2 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky, this is the way it should be.
- Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below. (I didn’t do this, but the original instructions say that its ok, so I don’t see why not.)
- While the dough rises, mix together the sugar pumpkin pie spice for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned and nutty smelling. Set aside. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
- Punch down the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with a clean kitchen towel (or the same one you used above) and let rest for about 5 minutes.
- On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough into a rectangle roughly 20 by 12 inches. Brush to the browned butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar mixture. Use all of it. Press into the dough to keep it from coming up in the next step.
- Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Yeah, I didn’t do this. I used my pizza cutter (got to love finding another use for a pizza cutter) and cut the dough into six short rows and 4 long rows. They were uneven, it wasn’t too pretty.
- Then I used a spatula to stack them into stacks that were six pieces high. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan. I found it helpful to stand the loaf pan up on edge and use my spatula to transfer the stacks of dough into the pan.
- Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
- Preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well. I didn’t do this either. I pulled it too soon (the kids were impatient…and so was I) so the middle was a little doughy. It’s ok, the kids ate it anyway and are none the worse for wear.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes (yeah, right, my soon tore off a piece of the top not even a minute after it came out of the oven). Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and slide it onto a plate to serve.
It is the best warm, right out of the oven, it sticks together better if you let it cool slightly before trying to pull it out of the pan. It’s good the next day, but I’d recommend reheating it int he microwave for a few seconds to get the sugar all gooey again before eating it.