This weekend my best friend Ashlyn came up to visit from North Carolina, and for our goodbye breakfast this morning (with both of our younger sisters), we made cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread with cream-cheese frosting. (We made the dough the night before, so that it was easy to put together in the morning.) The recipe from the bread is from Joy the Baker, and the recipe for the frosting is from Smitten Kitchen. Although the bread is undoubtedly delicious on its own, it was greatly enhanced by the frosting. The recipe for both is below.
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread:
- 2 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup whole milk (I used 1% because it was all I had!)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and set aside.
Melt together the milk and butter until the butter has just melted. Add the water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until it is approximately 115-125 degrees (this is so it will activate the yeast).
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Now add the eggs and stir until well-combined. (It may seem like it’s never going to come together, but just keep stirring until it does!) Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture should be sticky. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and allow to rise in a warm space until doubled in size, about one hour. (If you’re preparing this the night before, at this point put it in the refrigerator overnight for use in the morning. In the morning, let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the rest of the steps.)
While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling, and set aside. Melt 1/2 stick of butter until it browns, and set aside. Grease and flour a regular-sized loaf pan, and set aside.
Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it’s about 12×20 inches. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. (I ended up using only about 3/4 of the mixture, and it was still plenty sweet.)
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, until you have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow to rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.
Although the proper directions suggest letting the bread rest for 20-30 minutes, running a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it, and releasing it onto a clean board, we kept the bread in the pan and spread the cream cheese frosting over it.
Cream cheese frosting:
Cream together two ounces of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, two tablespoons of butter, and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla in medium bowl. Spread glaze over the bread, placing in the oven to melt if necessary.
Delicious served with a cold glass of milk!