The first time I made this, the sticky, cinnamon goodness overtook me, and I ended a feeding frenzy by ruefully remarking, "I should never have touched that monkey bread." This prompted John to share a theological insight about Eve's original sin and her feminine wisdom in recognizing that touching leads to eating leads to regret, which was a morally acceptable result of my gluttony. (Y'like how I just justified my gluttony?!)
Also overheard at the table the first time I made it were little girls saying,
"Oh, I'm so full, but I wish I wasn't."
"If only I wasn't too full for more."
I put this under both the labels "breakfast" AND "dessert."
If these anecdotes don't convince you that Monkey Bread is worth making, I don't know what will! Aunt Karen is to blame for this recipe. She gave it to me several years ago, and we give her our sticky-fingered thanks.
Note: To make it easier on yourself, ignore my directions for homemade yeasted dough and just use 4 cans of store-bought refrigerated biscuits (simply quarter each biscuit with scissors before rolling in the coating). That's what her recipe calls for, but we never have them in the house, and we always have yeast and flour, so there you have it.
Mostly Aunt Karen's Monkey Bread
For the sweet bread (source-- Mel's Kitchen Cafe):
- a couple tbsp. of melted butter for greasing the pan
- 1 cup warm-to-the touch milk
- 1/3 cup warm-to-the-touch water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the sticky, cinnamon goodness (Aunt Karen all-the-way):
several tbsp. melted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
plus an additional
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
For the glaze (Also Aunt Karen):
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsp. milk
*If using refrigerated biscuits, skip straight to the cinnamon sugar part at #5 after greasing the pan.
- Grease a bundt pan with melted butter. Make sure the entire surface (including in between those ridges) is well-greased.
- Mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl or mixer. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the liquid mixture slowly, breaking to stir and incorporate (if by hand) or by using dough hook attachment on mixer. After the dough comes together, mix by machine or knead by hand on a floured surfaced until smooth. If you think the dough is too wet (i.e. having a hard time forming a cohesive mass), add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together. The dough should be sticky but not wet. Coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly with the cooking spray. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm 'til doubled. ( I usually let my dough rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150-200 degrees and then turned off. Just don't forget to turn off the oven! I warn from experience...)
- While the dough is rising, mix the 3/4 cup white sugar and 3 tbsp. cinnamon together in a bowl. Place a few tbsp. melted butter for dipping in a second bowl and set aside.
- Once dough has risen, place on a floured surface and and press it into a rough 8-inch square. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut the dough into 64 pieces.(Alternately, just pinch off pieces like I do. It's messier, but it works).
- Roll each dough piece into a ball (it doesn't have to be perfect, just get it into a rough ball-shape). Working one at a time, dip the balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll the dipped dough balls in the sugar/cinnamon mixture, then layer the balls in the Bundt pan, staggering the seams where the dough balls meet as you build layers.
- Then, because there can never be too much when butter and sugar are involved, mix the 1/2 cup melted butter and 3/4 brown sugar. Pour this mixture over the stacked dough balls.
- Cover the Bundt pan with greased plastic wrap and let the monkey bread rise until puffy and it has risen an inch or two from the top of the pan, about 1-2 hours. (Skip this part if you're using refrigerated biscuits and proceed to the baking part.)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes (any longer and the bread will be too sticky and hard to remove!), then invert on a platter or large plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. (Sometimes a few pieces fall off. Don't fret; just pick them up and plop them back on once the whole thing is out of the pan and on the platter.)
- Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth and pour over the warm monkey bread. Serve to the adulation of anyone with a sweet tooth.
*Aunt Karen also adds raisins and curshed nuts throughout while placing the dough pieces into the pan. We haven't yet tried it like this, but it sounds delicious.