Here’s the thing about real world cooking as opposed to TV cooking or Pinterest cooking. Sometimes you have grand ideas for things. Sometimes they even look rather pretty. But sometimes they don’t end up tasting all that good.
Such was the case with the Savory Dill Monkey Bread I attempted to make for this month’s Bakers Anonymous meetup. Our chosen theme was Yay for Yeast!, an invitation to all the self-proclaimed lovers of bread making in our group to show off their skills. Apparently those claims were all hot air as only two members were brave enough to sign up and try their hands at leavening.
My problem wasn’t that my dough didn’t rise, but that it didn’t monkey. The defining characteristic of monkey bread is that it’s composed of small balls of dough that you pull apart to eat. Because I didn’t feel like spending tons of time kneading dough, I chose to use a recipe for no-knead rolls from Joy of Cooking that had proved to be delicious in a previous trial. After the first rise the dough was far too sticky to do anything other than thoroughly coat my hands, so I abandoned the idea, put the dough into a muffin tin, and proceeded to overbake it. Dang.
Fortunately, my other big attempt was successful. I was stumped as to what sort of ice cream to make for a yeast themed event until it hit me: beer! Stout, in particular. It turned out fantastically. Imagine a creamy base, infused with vanilla, with just a hint of bitter stout on the palate. I don’t even like stout and I would absolutely make this again. (For those of you stout lovers, I propose the following idea from one of our members: a stout float. Stout ice cream in stout. You’re welcome.)
I based my recipe on this Serious Eats one, using the milk:cream:beer ratio to inform the recipe for Basic Vanilla Ice Cream in my Cuisinart booklet. (I didn’t feel like dealing with all those pesky yolks.) Because of the amount of substituted liquid, the result is more of a soft serve consistency than the rock hard one I prefer, but no matter. For a flavor as delightfully different as this, I can accept that.
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ cup stout (I used Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Add the heavy cream, stout, and vanilla extract and whisk gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker to churn. The churned mixture will be quite soft, so I do recommend you freeze it overnight before serving. It will retain the soft serve consistency.