Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

by cakeduchess on April 4, 2011 · 52 comments

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“They will be grateful that you cared enough to make it.” Wise words. Words that inspired me to make this Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread.

Well, that’s not actually why I made this bread. But this was my fortune tonight from my fortune cookie at our favorite Chinese restaurant. We took my in-laws there tonight. It was the first time they had ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant. My mother-in-law was spooked by the roasted ducks hanging in the display behind her. My father-in-law ate half of his fortune because he didn’t know it was inside his fortune cookie.
I came across this pull-apart bread a few weeks ago. I saw it as an Orange Pull-Apart Coffee Cake on my friend Lizzy’s blog. I then saw this version on my friend Joy the Baker’s blog. Joy isn’t really my friend. But I know we would be great friends as we have so much in common. We both love baking. We both love cats. We both like to ride our bikes. Anyway… Lizzy is really my friend. I’ll keep fantasizing about eating cookies in person with Joy one day.

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I thought I would make this one Saturday morning before one of the basketball games. I made the dough the night before and left it covered in the refrigerator. It wasn’t as quick to put together as my regular cinnamon bread is. I carefully measured the slices and attempted to stack them neatly while not losing too much of the precious cinnamon sugar; not an easy task. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid that you are putting too much cinnamon sugar on it.
The kids were so excited to help prepare this with me. They love brushing on the butter. They fight over who gets a turn with sprinkling on the cinnamon sugar. It gets a little complicated. I have given up on having perfect looking sweets when I bake with my kids. In my eyes, they are perfect.

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You know how dreamy this smells while it is baking. I raved before about the smell of cinnamon with my Gooey Sticky Cinnamon Buns and my Cinnamon Bread. What’s fun about this are the pieces you just pull off and devour. It’s almost impossible to not pull off half the bread after you try the first slices.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
Makes: one 9×5×3-inch loaf

source: Joy the Baker/Recipe adapted from HungryGirlPorVida

For the Dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned
In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky and that is the way it should be.

Place the dough in a large, greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.
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While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9×5×3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.
Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  
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Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.
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Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar but it really isn’t! The more cinnamon sugar the better! You will thank me for not letting you skimp on thatWinking smile.
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Slice the dough vertically into six equal-sized strips.
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Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.
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Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. 
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Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.  Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the  upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Serve warm with coffee or tea.

This bread is served best the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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I watched Eat Pray Love last night. I had already read the book and was curious how the movie version was. I was smitten by the Italy part! My heart skipped a beat when I saw the character Liz first walk through Rome. I’ve been to Rome many times and I am still amazed when I see images of it. I felt I could relate to her looking for something more in life, as that is where I once was. I once was searching for peace. I was searching for my happiness. I traveled and lived abroad seeking what was missing. What was it that would make me whole?
I wasn’t on a spiritual mission as the author Liz was. I had to giggle when I saw her praying to God for the first time. It made me think about when I pray. I was fascinated watching how the different cultures pray and express their spirituality in the movie. I was more aware of how we express ours when I took my in-laws to church this morning. They don’t speak a word of English, yet they followed along just fine. I watched my mother-in-law’s lips move as she was quietly saying her prayers in Italian while we said ours in English. I thought maybe I should try to translate something for her, and then I thought it wasn’t necessary. Her heart knew just what to do.
As I watched the movie I was reflecting on what I was searching for 12 years ago when I was living in Italy. What was my story? Another favorite part of the movie for me was when Liz was in India and she listened to her friend’s stories. Everyone has a story. My husband teases me because I have a way of getting people to open up and tell me about their lives. I have a sincere and natural curiosity about people and what their story is. For example yesterday, I heard a story I wasn’t expecting.
I had dropped my daughter off at her class and was walking out with the man that assists the theatre company. He explained to me that he met his wife taking an improv class years ago. He was telling me about his two children and I found out his daughter is the same age as mine. As he must be about 60 years old, I wasn’t expecting to hear that. I asked if she also takes drama classes and he explained to me how both his children were born with the same neurological disorder and his daughter just learned how to speak at 9 years old. He wasn’t looking for sympathy and he talked about his two kids with joy and pride. That was part of his story. We ended our conversation there as we reached our cars and said good-bye in the parking lot. If I had been rushing to get to the next place as I usually do, I may not have heard his story.
This will be my last recipe until I feel better. I’m looking forward to having a quick recovery from my surgery and I have some fun guest posts coming up!
Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your constant support. Thank you for listening to my stories. Smile

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

El April 4, 2011 at 2:40 am

The bread looks amazing- so rich and delicious. It sounds like you have a natural way of getting people to open up to you. And I’m sorry you need surgery. Feel better soon!

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The Mom Chef April 4, 2011 at 2:48 am

Even though I won’t be reading you for a while, please know that we’ll continue to pray for you as you have the surgery and go through the recovery process. We’re praying for total healing for you and for strength and support for your family.

Thank you for sharing this recipe. It’s the kind that makes me smile. It’s fun yet absolutely delicious. I can see that just from the pictures. I will make it with Dudette and I will tell her about you while we prepare it.

Hugs and blessings upon you.

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Amy April 4, 2011 at 2:51 am

My Grandma used to make pull apart bread, but it was more along the lines of money bread. yours looks 100x better! I can only imagine the wonderful sweet flavor it has with the cinnamon and sugar! I love the way it is shaped into a loaf and almost pulls apart into slices :)!

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Cookin' Canuck April 4, 2011 at 2:54 am

How fun to be able to introduce your in-laws to a new cuisine! It sounds as though it was an experience.

This bread looks so tempting. Half the fun would be just pulling the layers apart.

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kitchenarian April 4, 2011 at 3:04 am

What a delicious bread and a wonderful post. I wish you the best on your surgery and will look forward to your return.

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A Thought For Food April 4, 2011 at 3:06 am

This looks fantastic, Lora! Who wouldn’t be excited to make this ;-)

Hope you had a good weekend.

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Kim - Liv Life April 4, 2011 at 3:41 am

Love pull apart bread! How can one resist?? The cinnamon and suger make it even more special, my daughter would love it.
Thinking of you this week! Sending hugs and positive thoughts your way.

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scrambledhenfruit April 4, 2011 at 3:45 am

What a beautiful loaf! I can see why anyone would be grateful that you cared to make it. :) I wish you all the best with your surgery- my prayers are with you for complete healing!

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Nelly Rodriguez April 4, 2011 at 3:52 am

This looks delicious! I might even be as crazy as slathering a piece with Nutella ;) nom nom nom!

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chefpandita.com April 4, 2011 at 3:54 am

What a fun looking bread, Lora! Wish you a quick and happy recovery, hope to have you back soon. xoxo

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Sandra April 4, 2011 at 4:52 am

Delicious, pretty and interesting looking cake! I enjoy reading your stories, most of the time I can relate! I hope you will have fast recovery dear friend!
I am sending you Best wishes..

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 4, 2011 at 7:33 am

I just want to dive in a rip that bread apart it looks so good! I have that same curiosity you have about people’s stories, I think people’s stories are fascinating and I always want to hear them. Good luck with the surgery, I’ll be thinking of you.

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JR/Mike April 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

I love cinnamon and sugar stuff, I’d probably pull apart half the loaf in one sitting it looks so good. Nice story at the end.

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Adriana April 4, 2011 at 9:45 am

I love the idea of the pull-apart bread… it looks like something a great treat to share with girlfriends over coffee. I wish you all the best, and all the strength for the coming weeks.

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Pegasuslegend April 4, 2011 at 10:20 am

Looks very soft and melt in your mouth delicious!

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 4, 2011 at 11:06 am

I’ve been craving this since I saw it on Joy’s blog and now I want it even more! I hope your surgery goes well and you are feeling well in no time!

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Lizzy April 4, 2011 at 11:08 am

Oh, Lora, you’ve made my day!!! I’ve been thinking of doing a cinnamon version, too…and what a fun project for your children.

I’ll be thinking of you this week, my friend…sending prayers, good thoughts and hugs.

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briarrose April 4, 2011 at 11:13 am

Wow this looks amazing. I need this for breakfast…neeeeeeed it. ;)

Crossing my fingers for a super speedy recovery.

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Lauren | Have Fork Will Eat April 4, 2011 at 11:42 am

That delicious. I agree about the smell of cinnamon-sugar anything baking—one of the best smells in the world!

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Noelle April 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I hope everything goes well!

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Susi's Kochen und Backen April 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I can only imagine of how incredible this bread smelled while baking :o) It is simply beautiful!

I’ll be thinking of you this week and sending you many healing vibes for a speedy recovery :o)

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foodwanderings April 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm

OMGoodness, love this bread and love the method. So funny your story of you rin laws at a Chinese place. I can so relate:). I never either had Chinese till I got to the States!

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Becky April 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Lora,
You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers this weeke, and I’m praying for a speedy recovery. Hugs:)

I love all that cinnamon and sugar in this wonderful bread, and I can smell it now. I als love your stories. Eat, Pray, and Love is on my DVR.

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Kimmy Bingham April 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm

This is so beautiful. I can imagine how lovely it would be sipping away on some coffee with this bread. Lora, thinking of you and I hope your recovery is quick and speedy. We’ll all try to entertain you while you recover! :-) ((hugs))

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Pretend Chef April 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

You’ll be in my thoughts! Wishing you a speedy recover. This bread looks incredibly delicious! Yummy!

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RavieNomNoms April 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Oh my gosh that looks SO fantastic!! WOW

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Susan April 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

A beautiful and sweet way to start the day! Nice project to have your kids help with too!

We’ll look forward to the time when you return to posting! Until then, take good care! Be strong and heal well!

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Rachel @ Baked by Rachel April 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I want this right now – seriously. Practically anything cinnamon/sugar I want. Is that bad? lol
I hope you’re feeling better asap!! Sending lots of happy wishes and hugs your way.

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Kate@Diethood.com April 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you this week… wishing you a very fast recovery… I am looking forward to your next post! xoxo

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Aggie April 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

the bread the bread the bread…not much to say but holy yum. my kids would freak if I made that for them (and let them help!)

I loved the movie…and of course was smitten with Italy as well. I loved Bali second.

Stay strong my friend and feel better quickly!! xo

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Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking April 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Wow, what a bread! This looks so divine, I would have trouble keeping away from it after breakfast, haha. Thanks for sharing, Lora. I’m wishing you all the best for a quick, healthy recovery from your surgery! :)

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Karen April 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

This bread looks amazing! All that cinnamon and sugar is bound to make this a winner!
I hope you have a quick recovery and are feeling much better soon!

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Erin April 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I could eat this whole loaf and still want more. it looks delicious!

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Angela@RecipesFromMyMom April 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Your cinny-sugar loaf looks rustic and inviting. It’s as if one of the slices is reaching out to me, asking to be peeled off and enjoyed. I’ll be keeping your in my thoughts and prayers throughout your surgery and recovery. Can’t wait to see who you have lined up to entertain us :>

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Heather Lynne April 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm

This looks to die for! All scrunched up crispy, gooey, cinnamon goodness!

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Wilde in the Kitchen April 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm

This is a fantastic recipe to take a hiatus on. It looks amazing and I’ll bet it tastes just as good! Focus on getting better and we’ll see you on the flip side!

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Spicie Foodie April 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm

This looks so so good! I love cinnamon sugar and this recipe is one I have to make. How fun taking your in-laws to a chinese restaurant for the first time. I love showing people things for the first time. I had to skip what you wrote about Eat, Pray, Love haven’t seen it yet so I don’t want to be surprised :) Thanks for sharing.

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Jennifer April 4, 2011 at 11:33 pm

This pull apart bread looks awesome. I love cinnamon and sugar and so I must make this bread. I’m sorry about your surgery, but hopefully it’ll make everything better. I’m thinking of you and sending your good vibes for a speedy recovery.

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sara @ CaffeIna April 5, 2011 at 12:21 am

I made pull-apart bread once and I immediately fall in love with it. you just reminded me I haven’t made it in a long time. I should try your version too because it look divine!

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EatLiveRun April 5, 2011 at 12:54 am

yum!! This looks amazing. Praying for a quick recovery for you, missy!

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Lo-mo April 5, 2011 at 2:12 am

This makes me want to go make something cinnamony right now but it is too late, perhaps tomorrow! The bread looks fabulous! My thoughts are with you. I am sending only wonderful, warm thoughts and prayers your way.

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kita April 5, 2011 at 2:43 am

I just tried your cinnamon bread yesterday and it’s super awesome. This pull apart bread looks like it would be right up there with it!

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Sandra April 5, 2011 at 2:59 am

Thank you Lora for this amazing recipe. I’m pulling for you and sending you lots of love and well wishes. Looking forward to reading your posts again.

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Celia April 5, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Oh wow. It’s like cinnamon buns and monkey bread had a delicious, delicious baby…

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Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} April 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Another great post. Sending hugs your way. So happy to see you in the kitchen with the kiddos!

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wendyweekendgourmet April 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Sending you get-well-soon wishes from Texas, Lora!

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Jean April 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I hope you’re recovering well, Lora. I love what you said, “her heart knew just what to do”. There are no language barriers with God, right? He surely knows what to do with your situation. Still, wishing you peace and strength until you’re back to 100%!

Your comment about your father-in-law eating half of his fortune made me smile! :-)

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Magic of Spice April 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I hope that your recovery is quick and you are feeling better soon. This bread looks wonderful and looks like the kids were having a great time :)

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Terra April 9, 2011 at 2:44 am

What a fun recipe to make with the kids! I love when kids can help in the kitchen. This looks so delicious!!!
Take care,
Hugs,
Terra

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marla April 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

This bread looks like waaaayyyy too much fun! Love the texture & playful approach. xo

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Alli Shircliff June 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I have always wondered how to make this…omg it looks so good. My stomach is growling for a piece, and I just ate lunch!

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