I love cooking with Lil Hoot. Yes, cooking with kids takes longer, makes a bigger mess and can often yield more unpredictable results, but we have already made so many fun memories and have so many great pictures. She actually started in the kitchen with me just before her first birthday. Our first recipe together - Monkey Bread!
I am certain that the reason I choose Monkey Bread is in no small part because of my fond memories of making Monkey Bread with my grandma as a kid. We may have only made it once - I really don't know, but I loved the name, the process and the end result so the whole thing sticks in my mind. We used canned biscuits and cut them up, but since I have a fondness for making things entirely from scratch, I used this Monkey Bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen. You can, of course, just substitute canned biscuits, most recipes I have found call for 2 cans, usually Grands! biscuits (which are by far the best of the canned taste-wise). I might have bought a bundt pan just for the purpose of making this bread.
First, Lil' Hoot was only a year old so I made up the dough during her nap and let it rise so it would be ready for her to help afterward. If you have older children and are just using biscuits then grab the kitchen scissors and let 'em help with the whole process!
Second, if you do choose to make the dough from scratch - I did not own a stand mixer at the time and I did mix it all by hand, totally doable. It is better that it be slightly wet rather than slightly dry (as I found out later).
Third, who needs a fork? Prepare for butter everywhere. Prepare yourself that your child will eat plenty of butter and sugar throughout this process. We just dipped the pieces in each bowl with our fingers.
Fourth, she does note this in her recipe - taking it out a smidge earlier is better than later otherwise you get a dark (rather tough) crust. Personally, I found the glaze can make up for some dryness though.
And, in keeping with tradition, we made this Monkey Bread to take to a family gathering at my grandma's house. She helped me make the glaze and I know we added some extra vanilla but I don't recall how much. The glaze isn't too picky, just add a little bit at a time until you get it to the point that you like it.
Then serve and enjoy! Happy baking and don't forget to include your kids. They learn valuable life (and math) skills while bonding and making memories that everyone will love for a lifetime.