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November 3, 2012

Culinary Conversation: It’s time to stop loafing and bake some bread

NEW CASTLE — When a note arrived by email, I was reminded that it’s been awhile since breads were discussed in Culinary Conversation.

So let’s talk.

Baking bread is time consuming, yes, but it is so therapeutic. There’s something about kneading dough that is somewhat of a stress reliever. And it produces wonderful results.

Breaking bread is fun, too. And it’s even easier when there are so many shortcuts and creative ways to embellish purchased puff pastry. Also, that easily recognizable baking mix that’s been around for years is about as versatile as any convenience product can be.

Parmesan supper bread is a recipe that is made from a biscuit mix. It’s from one of the first cookbooks I ever received as a gift years ago. The bread is simple and good — two of the best requirements for many cooks.

The explanation for gorilla bread — a takeoff on a similar tasty concoction called  monkey bread — is that it has cream cheese stuffed inside biscuits and the outside is covered in butter, cinnamon sugar and nuts.

The buttermilk biscuit recipe is from Dorie Greenspan, renown cookbook author and winner of six James Beard awards.

And cheese straws sound like a great appetizer to prepare for upcoming holidays.

Culinary Conversation would love to hear some of your favorite quick bread recipes.

It was President James A. Garfield who said, “Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”

 I’ll second that.

Gorilla Bread

  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 2 12-ounce cans refrigerated biscuits (10 count)
  • 11⁄2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over low heat, stirring well; set aside. Cut the cream cheese into 20 equal cubes. Press the biscuits out with your fingers and sprinkle each with 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Place a cube of cream cheese in the center of each biscuit, wrapping and sealing the dough around the cream cheese.

Sprinkle 1⁄2 cup of the nuts into the bottom of the bundt pan. Place half of the prepared biscuits in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, pour half of the melted butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle on 1⁄2 cup of nuts. Layer the remaining biscuits on top, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, pour the remaining butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄2 cup of nuts. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top and invert.

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