There wasn’t an autumn in California, only an endless summer and a few mornings with frost on the windshield. I wasn’t used to it, I never adapted to it. I hated it, the long drag of the same temperature. I got rid of all my sweaters the first month we moved out there. It never felt like home.
Autumn in Pennsylvania is different. Bright and dark all at once. Desaturated in the morning fog and then it burns up to reveal patches of leaves missing from the oak and apple trees in the backyard. It’s Fall now, with its promise of apple cider and corn mazes. Its promise of coffee to warm your one hand; a boy’s hand to warm your other one. A promise you can’t take for granted, because it’s a type of beauty that is a whisper, a mumble, and gone in an instant.
It’s the beginning of the time when we leave the windows open all day and night. When my mother lights apple-scented candles and the cat in the windowsill lazily watches the leaves fall to the ground. I used to ask for a pumpkin pie on my birthday instead of cake. I used to ask to stay home with her instead of going to school, to go for walks and jump in the leaves. Then come inside to fresh bread or cake or anything to warm us up.
Fall has always been magic. It’s my first time having one in four long years.
Roasted Sweet Potato Monkey Bread
Pillowy, sweet, delicate, yet filling. The very essence of comfort food.
Ingredients for Roasted Sweet Potato Puree:
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 TB brown sugar, dark
- Pinch of sal
Directions for Roasted Sweet Potato Puree:
- Preheat oven to 425*F
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
- Cut your sweet potato in half and cover each side with oil, sugar, and salt
- Roast for 15 minutes or until tender and caramelized
- Remove from oven, allow to cool
- Scoop contents into a food processor and blend until smooth; alternatively, smash with a fork
- Use for below monkey bread recipe
Ingredients for Roasted Sweet Potato Monkey Bread:
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 5 teaspoons active dry yeast (my absolute favorite brand to use is Red Star Yeast)
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup white sugar
- Roasted sweet potato puree (see above, yields about 1-1 ½ cups)
- 1 egg
- 4 TB melted butter
- 1 TB pure vanilla extract
- 5 – 5 ½ cups AP flour
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup mini marshmallow
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, pour in your water, yeast, salt, and sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until the top of the water is marked with bubbles
- Turn mixer on medium-low and add puree, egg, butter, and vanilla. Mix until all is incorporated
- Turn mixer speed down to low, add flour one cup at a time. You may need a little more or a little less of the flour, depending on altitude. You will know when you have enough when dough is not sticky and pulls slightly away from the sides of the bowl
- With floured hands, change the paddle attachment for the dough hook and turn on medium speed to knead for 3 minutes
- When three minutes are done, turn out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for an additional five minutes until springy and elastic
- Place in a well-greased bowl to rest for one hour with a tea towel to cover
- During this time, preheat oven to 350*F and grease a standard bundt pan with a lot of butter and flour. Pour ¼ of your brown sugar and a few marshmallows and nuts into the bottom of your bundt (which, when inverted, will be the top)
- When hour is done, punch dough down (it will inflate quite a bit) and use a sharp knife or bench knife to cut into small one-inch balls. To do so, cut dough into fourths, then cut each of these fourths into eight equal pieces (for a total of 32 pieces). Roll each one in your hand into a ball and place into bundt
- Repeat this for the remaining dough, alternating layers of dough with remaining sugar, nuts, and marshmallows
- Allow to sit for 10 minutes to rest a bit then pop into the oven to bake (here, I suggest placing on a cookie sheet to avoid any messes in your oven—the marshmallow can get sticky!)
- Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Your house will have the aromatic, yeasty smell of fresh bread and a slightly caramelized smell of brown sugar
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. With oven mitts, invert bundt onto a plate and gently remove pan, leaving only your doughy hodge podge of marshmallow, sugar, and bread
- Serve as immediately as possible, but definitely with a day or two
Thank you to Red Star Yeast for sponsoring this post. I believe in using quality products when it comes to baking and I am always confident my dough will rise beautifully with Red Star! Check out the active dry yeast I used for this recipe and others on their website, follow them on instagram and like their Facebook!