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Breakfast on Christmas Morning: Monkey Bread Muffins

My mom has made monkey bread for breakfast on a few Christmas mornings. There is nothing better than waking up to the sweet sugary smell of monkey bread baking in the oven. It's sticky and sweet, and each little bite melts in your mouth.

Making monkey bread from scratch can be a bit challenging if you've never done it before, and sometimes some family members grab more pieces than they should, leaving you with a sorry amount of delicious monkey bread for breakfast...not that that has happened to me before.

But, thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, I have discovered a method of making monkey bread that's easy to execute and ensures everyone gets the same amount. Rather than making one giant monkey bread in a bundt pan, make individual monkey breads in muffin tins. Each person grabs a "muffin" and has their own miniature version of monkey bread. It's a win-win situation: It's easy for you to make and everyone gets their fair share.

First, place an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Next, prepare the ingredients to coat the monkey bread balls in. Melt four tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl, then combine 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1/3 cup of brown sugar and one tablespoon of cinnamon in a separate bowl. Place these bowls aside and begin to make the dough.

Either in a stand mixer with a dough hook, or a food processor, mix two cups of all-purpose flour, one tablespoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of granulated sugar. Once this mixture is combined, cut one stick of butter into small chunks and blend into the flour mixture. You want to form small crumbs as the butter blends into the flour.

Once the flour mixture and the butter are incorporated, mix in 3/4 cup of buttermilk. I did not have buttermilk in my refrigerator, but you can substitute buttermilk with a combination of milk and cream of tartar. So, to every one cup of milk, add 1 3/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Buttermilk has more acid than milk, so adding the cream of tartar adds the acidity the milk needs to behave just like buttermilk.

The dough will form together after the buttermilk is mixed into the flour and butter mixture. Place the dough on a floured surface and shape it into a ten-inch square. Then, cut the dough with a pizza cutter into quarters and cut each of the quarters into 10 to 16 equal squares. The blogger's original recipe calls for 16 squares, but those were too small for me, so I cut my dough into about ten squares in each of the quarters.

Roll the pieces into balls, then dunk each into the melted butter and maple syrup, then roll them in the sugar mixture you previously made. Place about four balls into each muffin tin, then place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the muffin tin and bake for about 15 minutes. The tops of the muffins will be golden and the dough should bounce back when you touch it.

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Once the muffins are out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack and drizzle the tops with a powdered sugar and milk glaze. Combine one cup of powdered sugar with two tablespoons of milk.

Each muffin serves as an individual monkey bread. Everyone will love to have their personal monkey bread on Christmas morning. You can prepare these ahead of time, then stick the muffin pan in the oven on Christmas morning for a delicious and easy breakfast.

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