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Hi Bold Bakers!
Monkey bread is big and bold to begin with, as its a lot of little pieces of sweet yeasted dough baked together in a pretty bundt tin. Just the fact that monkey bread is served in a pull-apart fashion gets me going, but cover it all with sticky bun flavors, add in toasted nuts, and I am over the moon.
Trust me, you and whomever you share this with will be too!
Why is it called monkey bread?
Named after the way it’s eaten, when digging into monkey bread you pull little parts of it off and eat it one by one as opposed to taking a slice. Like a monkey!
My Monkey Bread Recipe is made possible by lots of little individual balls of yeasted dough being shaped, dusted in cinnamon sugar then proofed all together in a bundt tin. The cinnamon sugar creates a barrier between each ball of dough allowing them to be pulled away from one another after baking. Making the dough is similar to making a yeasted donut dough, but instead of being shaped into a circle and fried the dough is rolled then baked. The flavor is somewhere across between a donut and a sticky bun, and I can’t really imagine anything better than that.
Before I pile the cinnamon sugar dusted pieces of dough into the bundt tin, I pour caramel sauce in the bottom of the tin. This sticks the dough together, but also glazes the dough and caramelizes it just like a cinnamon roll or sticky bun. This might sound unlike anything you have ever had before, because it is unlike anything you’ve ever had. Seeing as there is no store-bought copycat, you have to make this at home and I am telling you it is well worth it.
How do you shape monkey bread if you don’t have a bundt pan?
To Shape the monkey bread you really let the dough do the work. After the yeasted dough has proofed for the first time, you punch it down. Next, I use a dough cutter, but you can use a knife to cut the do into a bunch of little pieces. After I cut the dough I roll each one using the palm of my hands, tucking the seams of the pieces underneath themselves to form a perfectly round ball. After this, the shape of the tin is what dictates the shape of the finished pecan monkey bread.
This is why I use a bundt tin as it just looks iconic and pretty. If you do not have a bundt tin, you can use a regular large cake tin, but the effect is not quite the same. It’ll still taste GREAT though!
How can you tell monkey bread is done?
This monkey bread bakes up perfectly. Even though the balls of dough may be different in size, they still bake up in the same amount of time. Once the pecan monkey bread has cooled slightly I turn the tin out, revealing toasted nuts and a beautifully caramel glazed monkey bread. This monkey bread tastes every bit as good as it looks.
It’s one of my favorite things to serve to people because it’s not only super gorgeous, but so much fun to eat!
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Secret Monkey Bread Recipe with Pecans & Caramel
To Make the Sweet Dough:
- 3 1/4 cups (1 lb 1oz/461g ) all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoon (6g/1/4 oz) active dried yeast
- 1/4 cup (2oz/57g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup (8floz/225ml) milk
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2floz/71ml) water
- 2 tablespoons (1oz/28g) butter , divided
- 1/2 cup (4oz/115g) cream cheese (for stuffing)
- 1 cup (5oz/142g) toasted pecan , chopped
To Make the Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup (8oz/225g) butter
- 2 cups (12oz/340g) packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (4floz/115ml) heavy cream
- pinch of salt
To Make the Cinnamon Sugar:
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
To Make the Sweet Dough:
- Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
- In a microwavable measuring jug, heat together the milk, water, butter until luke warm and the butter is melted.
- Turn the machine on low and slowly add the milk mixture. Mix for 2 minutes to wake up the yeast.
- Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6-8 minutes. The dough is supposed to be saggy and on the wet side.
- Coat a large bowl with vegetable oil (or any flavorless oil). Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 ½ -2 hours.
To Make the Caramel:
- by combining the ingredients in a pot and heating until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. set aside to cool.
- To form the bread, gently remove the dough from the bowl and knead lightly on a floured surface knocking out the air.
- Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into big and small pieces, a nice mix.
- For the secret ingredient: Smear some cream cheese in the middle of some dough pieces (do as many as you want).
- Wrap the dough around the cream cheese sealing it in a ball. Pinch to secure closed.
- In a large bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon and toss in your dough pieces covering each piece generously.
To Assemble the Monkey Bread:
- In a Bundt pan, Drizzle in a layer of the caramel sauce and ⅓ of the pecans.
- Layer in ½ of the dough pieces.
- Repeat the second layer by scatter on another ⅓ of the pecans and go another round with the caramel sauce.
- Top off with the remaining dough pieces, pecans and the last of the caramel sauce.
- Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and let the monkey bread rise at room temperature for 25-30 minutes or until puffy and they have risen 1-2 inches from the top of the pan (To make the day before refrigerate the bread once assembled, bake the next day)
- Heat the oven to 350oF (180oC). Unwrap the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is beautifully brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges.
- Cool the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes (any longer and the bread will be too sticky and hard to remove!), then turn out on a platter or large plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Enjoy straight away!
- Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 3 days.