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Rich and sweet, monkey bread is a ‘pull apart’ treat. I had it as a child a few times, the simian sound intriguing and repulsing me as I gingerly sampled. Not a tradition, my grandmother exposed us to the treats for several holidays during my teen years; I still remember all ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’.  Preparing this sweet gem as an adult was delicious gratification and an exercise in nostalgia.

Also known as Hungarian coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me cake and bubble loaf, the origin of the term monkey bread is uncertain. Most often served as a breakfast pastry, recipes for the succulent bread first appeared in American women’s magazines and community cookbooks in the 1950s. It is traditionally served hot so that the baked segments can be easily torn away and eaten by hand.

This recipe is not super gooey like other versions. Here, the dough is divided into smaller portions so that each bite has a higher concentration of butter and cinnamon.

Hands on   : forty-five minutes

Total time :  three hours (including rising time)


For the dough…..

Two envelopes of active dry yeast
Half a cup of granulated sugar
One quarter cup of warm water (115 degrees)
1 cup of milk, heated
Six tablespoons of butter, softened
Half teaspoon of salt
Two eggs, slightly beaten
Five and a half cups all-purpose flour

….and the topping:

One and a half cups granulated sugar
Half a cup of chopped walnuts
Two teaspoons ground ginger
One teaspoon cinnamon
Half cup of butter, melted

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and one tablespoon of the sugar in the water; allow the mixture to stand for five minutes. In a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, milk, butter, salt and eggs.

Now: add the yeast mixture.

Next, beat in the flour a cup or so at a time, using an electric mixer. Beat until smooth.

Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead.  Let the dough rest for ten minutes, then knead the dough for eight minutes more. When finished, place the dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough greased side up.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk….about thirty minutes or so.

Now to work on the topping….

In a small bowl, combine sugar, walnuts, ginger and cinnamon. Set aside.

Punch the dough down and divide it into forty-eight portions.

Roll each portion into a ball. Roll each ball first in the melted butter , then the walnut mixture.. Then place the balls in a greased ten-by-four loaf pan or bundt pan. Sprinkle any remaining topping over  the dough.

Cover and allow the dough to rise for thirty minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for fifty minutes or until golden brown. Allow your masterpiece to cool before serving.

monkey bread Pictures, Images and Photos

Serves ten.

~per serving:

621 calories (percent of calories from fat, 32), 11 grams of protein, 95 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 22 grams fat 11 grams saturated), 89 milligrams cholesterol, 303 milligrams sodium.



1       cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1       pound ground beef

1       medium onion, diced

1/4  cup chopped green pepper

1       (fifteen-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1       tbsp ketchup

1       tbsp steak sauce

2      tbsps dried or fresh chopped parsley

1      can cream of mushroom soup

1      cup of grated cheese  (cheddar or Monterey Jack preferably)

Preheat oven to three fifty degrees; cook the macaroni according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillit, brown the ground beef. Then add onion and green pepper and cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the tomatoes, ketchup, steak sauce and parsley.

Cook for ten minutes. Stir in cooked macaroni and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently fold in the cream of mushroom soup and transfer to a casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, then bake until casserole is bubbly and the cheese is lightly browned (about thirty minutes or so).

Serves EIGHT.

Hands on time = twenty minutes

Total time          = one hour, twenty minutes

per serving:

322 calories (calories from fat, 64), 15 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 23 grams fat (10 grams saturated), 63 milligrams cholesterol, 601 milligrams sodium.

Gayle ‘De-Licious’ Johnson has composed an excellent yarn of divergence and growth. There is Death here. There is also Life, Redemption, and Perseverance. Ms. Johnson shows superb balance in the texturing and shading of her creations. Her execution of a ‘full circle’ storytelling device in this coming of age tale was deftly implemented, injecting the reader with a sense of having traveled from there and back and then beyond; her music references pepper nostalgia throughout, cementing the period’s timesense.

Miss Johnson’s creation, the young heroine Nina, had some tough choices to make. Her clinical processing and basic fortitude, her steadfastness, was both uplifting and heartbreaking. Instilled with wisdom and a common sense uncanny for someone of her years, the entities she desired most in life were fully visualized and achievable; a certain naivety wouldn‘t allow her accept anything else, her focus laserlike and undaunted.

Guided by an internal barometer calibrated on bad influences and green eyed monsters, her counterpart was aimless and reckless. Driven by impulse and envy, Joi supplied the perfect balance, the ultimate foil. While the love made available to her was unquestionable, the firm and amorous resolve was resented and scoffed upon, returning in the form of disdain, disrespect, and deceit.

The villains: shadowy and sincere. Some in your face, others passive, causing doubt throughout, and continuing with dread when corruption surfaces. A fourth quarter revelation chimes in during the resolution, reminding us that the world is a tiny place, and that Time sheds light at its own pace.

A succulent read, this morsel satisfies like bowl of warm cobbler, draped in a dollop of your favorite topping.

Gayle Johnson delivers in What’s Past is Not Forgotten.

This fantastic read is a vivid, multifaceted glimpse into the life of R.F. Maldonado. Within, he  shares shamelessly and without hesitation. This man of many hats is beyond definition: singer, songwriter, entertainer, gangster, survivor.

I neither condone nor justify the use of drugs. As a member of the Sober Community, I know how critical and judgemental the masses can be; I would imagine that it’s a chore to love a heroin addict.

While reading this book, I found myself in downtown Atlanta, sitting outside a methadone treatment center. The motley mix of nine-to-five troopers that utilize ‘the clinic’ for the morning sessions are not much different from you or myself……..except that these people have an appointment they can’t miss; if they do, it’s going to be a messy day at the J-O-B.

Heroin addiction is a sickness; his continued sobriety is an accomplishment, a victory, and a testament to his strength.

There is a certain tenderness about his delivery that makes one want to embrace him. Life as he knows it, his testament and recollections of violence, a gangster’s violence, are looked upon as part of a distinct past, one he makes no move to distance himself from. Rendered with a conversational glint, his style of storytelling isn’t overly grandiose. Rather, you’re drawn in by his meaningful delivery, his ultra cool.

Plagued by childhood pains that caressed and taunted him for decades, they also subconsciously directed his self destructive patterns. His paranoia was instilled and prominent at an early age; someone of lesser constitution would be in no condition to spill his memoirs in an attempt to help the next man.

Mr. Maldonado is fascinating, his zest for life  unquestionable. He has a way of looking at things…sensitive and quirky, especially when considering factors of Murphy‘s Law. If Time steals a name from him, the loveliest details of the encounter remain to compensate and captivate.

Journey with the man. Allow him to take you with him as he revisits his most tragic moments. Along the way, he’ll share his joys, his passions, and the sweet flowers that he lingered  to sniff.

If you’re lucky, you might even get to hear him strum a tune.

The book began with a glimpse into the secret world of these teenage girls. In dramatic fashion, the terrors in the mind’s eye of any person raising a young lady were  personified , multiplied……. then juggled, the horrific images leering at you as they pass before your eyes onto the next page. These  ladies were  resourceful. They were also sweet, sinister, and oh so brutal.

Not sounding soft is is difficult. Seeing young teen girls in physically compromising situations with inappropriate male suitors was an instant turn off. The reality of the fiction is that some girls choose to play adult games, for whatever reason, and therein I found acceptance. The main character, Vida,  age fourteen and a mere freshman in high school, had plenty sense. Although her beginnings were profoundly tragic, she actually had a life long stability that went against some of the choices she made. Watching her evolve was pleasing, and a testament to her repressed benevolence.

As the stakes rise , the finesse of the crew shines in signature, cold blooded moments. the introduction of a male character elevates their operation to the next level. While I initially thought his inclusion was lateral move, his purpose served to lend  another facet of ruthlessness that the ladies were unable to manufacture on their own. His operational slickness and sense of friendship completed the group dynamic.

This story was told on a grand scale, bordering epic proportions,  the coast to coast jaunt peppering the tale with fresh locales, lending scope and new dimension as the viciousness of their deeds escalated.

~Nicely done.

Ð. Stylz

Editor in Chief

Chaklet Coffee Books