Monkey Bread

I love monkey bread, but who wouldn’t when you add butter, sugar, cinnamon and dough together. What’s better. Monkey bread is also know as puzzle bread, sticky bread, pinch me cake and several other names. Made of a sweet pastry with cinnamon and sugar and often served for breakfast and at fairs. The dough can be made from yeast or a quick bread style using baking soda and baking powder. The fastest way would be to use a store bought biscuit dough and this is simple. All you do is roll the biscuit dough into 1″ balls, coat with cinnamon sugar, add butter and brown sugar, bake it and you’re done. When the bread is done you just pick at it like a monkey would…..and there you have it, monkey bread. Here is a recipe I use which is the quick bread style. 

1 1/2 cups butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and slightly grease a bundt pan

In a sauce pan melt 1 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of butter, stirring well to incorporate. Once well blended and the sugar has dissolved remove from the heat and set aside. In a small bowl mix the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon together and set aside. In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. With a pastry cutter add the cold butter into the flour mixture until crumbles form then add in the buttermilk. Mix together to form the smooth dough. Pour half of the butter/brown sugar mixture into a greased bundt pan. Roll the dough into 1″ balls and then roll into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place half of the dough balls into the pan. Cover with half of the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture and the remaining butter/sugar mixture. Add in the remaining dough balls and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake in the center oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Allow the monkey bread to cool about 1 minute then invert onto a desired plate. 

Chef Brian Klauss







Every year when I was growing up our family would visit my aunts and uncles in the area on Christmas Eve and exchange gifts. I remember going to my Uncle Melvin’s house and always finding these German cookies. They were slightly hard and coated with powdered sugar. Coming from a family named KLAUSS I guess its no surprise that I’m German so I had to make these cookies. Now that I have, I think it’s going to be something I continue to make each year in remembrance of those family gatherings and of my heritage.

1/2 cup molassesIMG_7295
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon ground mace
2 eggs

Coating for cookies;
1 cup of confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons Milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, molasses and anise extract. In a medium bowl add the flour, baking soda and spices, mix well. In the standing mixer slowly add in the flour mixture to the cream mixture until well incorporated. Refrigerate for a least 1 hour. Lightly grease 3 half sheet pans and using a small scoop make 1″ dough ball and place 2″ apart onto the prepared pans. Bake at 375 for 12 – 14 minutes (tops should look cracked). Cool until slightly warm. With two small bowls mix 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar with milk and vanilla extract in one and place the remaining confectioners sugar in the other. Dip the tops of each cookie with the milk/sugar mixture then roll into the dry confectioners sugar…coat well. Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

Chef Brian Klauss





Tart Apple Sheet Pie

I decided to make a pie in a 16″ x 12″ baking dish instead of the traditional pie pan. This recipe has that sweetness with a little tart flavor and once you start eating it you will love it. You could also add chopped walnuts to add that crunch factor.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (cold) cubed
1/2 to 2/3 cup of ice water

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup water
4 1/2 cup apples, peeled, cored and sliced (granny smith or Gala)
4 cups frozen raspberries
2 cups frozen cranberries
3 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup orange juice
(small amount of orange juice and sugar to brush the top with before baking)

To make the pie crust add the flour and salt to a medium bowl and mix well. Add in the cubed butter and with a pastry cutter. Blend the butter into the flour to form a crumble mixture. Slowly add the ice water while kneading the dough to make a dough which is smooth and well together. Wrap into a ziplock bag and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the filling mix the corn starch with the water and blend well. Add the corn starch mixture into a medium stock pot along with the remaining ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Heat to a boil stirring occasionally then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. While the mixture is cooling pull the dough from the refrigerator. Divide the dough so that one half is slightly larger than the other. Take the larger dough and roll out on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Make the dough approximately 16 x 12, then place into the bottom and 1 1/4″ up the sides of the baking pan. Add the filling. Now roll out the second dough out to 14″ long and 8″ wide then cut into 1/2″ strips. Lay out some strips evenly one way diagonally, then  the remaining strips in the opposite direction forming a sort of weave. Pinch the top dough strips into the sides. Brush the top with orange juice and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 for 45 – 55 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.

Chef Brian Klauss









Pizza Pierogi

My son who was diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of six is now 31 years old and lives on his own approximately 1/2 mile from my house. He not only lives close to me but also to my daughters house. He has his independence but he still requires a lot from me including a good well balance meal, help cleaning his house and working together to pay his bills. That being said he keeps me busy making meals and keeping him away from fast food establishments. He loves pizza and pierogis so from time to time he requests that I make him Pizza Pierogis.

You will need a large pot to boil water in, Kitchen aid dough roller attachment, pierogi form press, slices of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.

3 cups flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of water as needed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

16 oz can tomato sauce
6oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, oil and water. Mix well with a fork then place on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is together and has a smooth slightly sticky surface. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. While you are waiting make the sauce by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. I make small package of the left over sauce with baggies and store them in the freezer for later use. Pull the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 4 parts. Using a pasta roller attachment on a kitchen aid mixer flatten each piece at the largest setting several times to form a smooth dough. You may need to dust the dough with flour from time to time to assist in the rolling process. Now set the roller setting to 3 and roll out and place on the floured surface and cut the dough to approximately 3 1/2″ round circles. Place the dough circles into a pierogi press, add 1/2 teaspoon pizza sauce, 2 pepperoni slices cut in half and 1 teaspoon mozzarella cheese. wet the other edges of the dough with water then fold the press together forming the pizza pierogi. Place them into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes until done ensuring that you flip them from time to time so that both sides cook properly. Remove to drain and cover with pizza sauce.

Chef Brian Klauss





Candy Tradition

Every year my wife’s family had a tradition at Christmas of making candy and over the last few years it has been passed onto my daughter Michelle. She will gather up friends and family, with food and drink as they embark on the productive activity of make candy to share with all who attend. Even though she is about to make this happen in the next few weeks I decided to make some today. I discovered something that would almost bring a tear to your eye. My wife who is the keeper of the recipe for the candy pulled out a recipe box. Thats right a recipe box. In the age of the internet, here is a box full of hand written recipes from her great grandma, her mother, her aunts, and even friends in the neighborhood. It was made in their handwriting and even had special notes to the person it was disigned to go to. When you stopped to think about it, schools today are avoiding teaching children how to write because of the advancement of the internet and computers. We are about to lose one of the most important personal treasures…. the hand written word. Reading and displaying each recipe my wife beamed with the remembrance of each relative who gave her the recipe. They were like love letters from the heart given to her in hope they would help feed her family. I realized that before the internet the only way to find a recipe was to go to your recipe box or cookbook. Anyways here is the recipe…. Don’t tell my wife I let this out……..


Hard Christmas Candy

1 1/2 cups of sugar plus 6 tablespoons
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon of candy flavoring
Powdered Sugar
Food coloring

Place a cloth sheet onto a large table and cover with a generous amount of powered sugar.

You will need a candy thermometer and a thick medium pot
Mix sugar, water and corn syrup in the pot and whisk well. On a high to medium heat bring the solution to 310 degrees. Remove the pot and add in the flavor of your choice and the food color to match. Mix well and pour a stream of the solution onto a cloth sheet covered with powered sugar. Allow the candy to cool completely before snapping into bit size pieces and place into a large bowl. Repeat the process until you have a good selection of color and flavors.

Chef Brian Klauss





Onion Rolls

1 package of instant yeastIMG_7217
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup warm water (100 degrees)
1/2 cup chopped diced medium onion
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

In a saucepan cook the diced inions with a little water until soft, then set aside. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water, set side. In the saucepan scald the milk and add in the butter, sugar and salt, whisk well then allow the milk to cool to room temperature.
In a stand mixer at low speed add the flour, celery salt, the yeast mixture and milk mixture until incorporated. Once mixed remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface and add all but 1/8 cup of the onion to the dough. Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes until a smooth dough is achieved. (if the dough appears to sticky add a little more flour) Form the dough into a ball and spray a medium bowl with vegetable spray add the dough flipping to coat both sides. Cover the bowl and place in a warm area until double in size (approximately 1 hour). Punch the dough down and separate into 12 equal parts, roll into a ball and place onto a greased sheet pan. Flatten slightly and sprinkle each dough with the remaining diced inions. Cover the sheet pan with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise once again almost double in size. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake in the center rack of your oven for 18 – 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with butter while they are still hot. Place onto a cooling rack.

Chef Brian Klauss






Our Little Stone Bakery

IMG_5034I fell in  love with the little stone bakery building in Port Sanilac as I drove by it over 8 years ago. The building even though run down slightly, with its wooden porch and old windows had that feel about it that you get when things feel right. The building was for sale on an online auction, so I stayed up late at my shop that night in Clinton Township (Flamingo Label) an entered the online auction. Even though the bid went higher than I anticipated I won the bid. Now was the beginning of a whole new experience. The building was last occupied by bakery and I thought that was exactly what I was going to do, a Seasonal Bakery.  I have owned several businesses including a full service restaurant  in East Tawas and a pizza take-out in Washington Township, Mi.,  how hard could this be. There was nothing in the building but an old bread slicer you had to have a fork life to pick up so I understood why they left it. I found that the building needed a few things; new roof, new heating system, new windows, so after a little investment I was off and running. As I worked on the building to bring it back to life there were plenty of locals with advice. The first thing I heard was are you going to make donuts? I thought about that for a little while and decided that making donuts was exactly what I was going to do. I looked around and discovered that one of the best production donut machine was a Belshaw Mark six conveyor. After searching around I purchased the machine. When it arrived I discovered that I only had single phase electrical in the building and I needed three phase for it to work. Detroit Edison the local utility company told me after they conducted a survey of the area that it would cost me around $3000.00 to bring it into the building. I also discovered that I needed a make up air system, exhaust hood, new electrical interior box and fire suppression system and of course paying to have everything hooked up.  Well I’m this far, why stop, so I went ahead and got things rolling. In the mean time I also purchased sinks, ovens, proofers, mixers, tables, and a whole lot of baking equipment too long to list. Over the years I also installed a handicapped porch and siding. The building dates back to at least 1938 when it was a library and at one time the fire department and city offices were there. When you enter the building you are confronted with hard wood floors, knotty pine walls and if it weren’t for the smell of the fresh baked donuts you could still smell the scent of the library. I hope you will have the opportunity to come and visit us this summer at the Bake Krazy Bakery downtown Port Sanilac, Mi and enjoy this little village on the shores of Lake Huron where you can relax all summer long while watching the sun rise each morning.

Chef Brian Klauss