In the The Willowbee Tree story “Sharing a Meal,” the Willowbee children resist the idea of attending a potluck party and sharing their mother’s delicious nutty cinnamon rolls. The Willow Tree takes them to Tasmania to meet a Tasmanian devil, a Tasmanian tiger, a few quolls, echidnas, and other curious animals that are happily sharing a bounty of local food — teaching the children that food is ever so much better when shared!
Confession time: I realize that I'm pretty much alone in this, but I could take or leave most cinnamon rolls and breads. I don't hate them, but I would never seek them out. Nevertheless, I have such happy memories of sitting around the table with my cousins as a kid and devouring my grandmother's cinnamon-y “Monkey Bread.”
It wasn't about the bread — it was about the ritual: the warm smell of the bread baking in the oven, the anticipation of watching it thunk from grandma's bundt pan to a plate, the fun of picking apart the little balls of dough as we children giggled together. Just like the Willowbee kids in the story, sharing the food really did make it better.
This week's recipe takes that sharing concept one step further. In a nod to the story we're calling it “Quoll Bread,” but it's essentially Monkey Bread made with gluten-free flour. And because it's gluten-free, you can share it with that many more friends!
A quoll is a marsupial — different from a monkey, but still a pretty cute critter. Similarly, as with most gluten-free baked goods, the texture of this bread is a little different from conventional Monkey Bread but — considering all the traditional sugar, spices, and butter — it's just as yummy in its own way. Give some a try when you need a delicious breakfast bread or sweet snack that can truly be shared by all.
Gluten-Free Quoll (Monkey) Bread
For the biscuit dough:
1 22-ounce bag 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 ½ cups buttermilk
To complete the bread:
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon quoll spices: (your own mixture of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Separately, melt the butter in the microwave, then pour the cold buttermilk into the butter and stir. With the mixer on low, pour the butter mixture into the flour. Add the eggs one at a time, and continue mixing until combined, scraping down the sides as necessary. Once the dough is finished, use a 1-ounce scoop to spoon it out onto a parchment covered baking sheet and refrigerate the dough balls for at least 10 minutes.
While the dough chills, combine ½ cup white sugar with the quoll spice mixture. (For the spices, you can adjust the amounts of each spice to suit your taste, but you should have 1 tablespoon total.) Preheat your oven to 350° and lightly grease a bundt pan.
In a saucepan or small skillet, combine the butter and brown sugar. Warm them over low heat until they're melted together, then remove from the heat and stir in the honey.
Now remove the dough balls from the fridge. Dip each one in the sugar and spice mixture, then place it in the bundt pan.
When all the balls have been dipped and placed in the pan, pour the melted butter mixture over the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top of the bread is a deep caramel brown. Let the bread cool for about 5 minutes, then invert the bundt pan over a large plate and give it a good thunk to release the bread. Unlike conventional monkey bread — which is irresistible right out of the oven — we found that the texture of this bread improved a bit if you let it cool slightly. All of my taste testers agreed that if you can stand to wait half an hour, you'll be glad you did.
Not yet a subscriber? Try a free trial HERE.
About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.