I made a batch of monkey bread (or pull apart bread as some call it) many years ago, but since I used refrigerated dough I decided that I couldn’t count it on my top 100 list. I have been itching for a chance to make monkey bread from scratch for quite a while and I decided that Christmas Eve was the perfect time. Cream cheese cinnamon rolls Christmas morning, monkey bread Christmas Eve; pretty perfect for a holiday weekend if you ask me. And yes, I did run two days in a row just to make up for the calories obtained making these items! Yep, you read that right, making them not even eating them.
This monkey bread is AMAZING! It smells so good while baking, and it looks absolutely perfect as soon as you plate it. I think it looks beautiful without the glaze, but I went ahead and drizzled a half of a batch over the top. It sure doesn’t need the sweetness as it already has plenty of that, but I thought it would add some contrast. I was also torn because I wanted to make the monkey bread with the traditional cinnamon and sugar, but I also wanted to add finely chopped apples. I decided to get the best of both worlds and make half of the loaf traditional and half with apples. Both halves are tasty and I couldn’t recommend one over the other! Enjoy!
**I’ve submitted this to Sweet As Sugar Cookies Sweet Treat Link**
Source: Slightly modified from Brown Eyed Baker
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees F)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees F)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package instant yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt
Brown Sugar Coating:
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 slices of apple, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk
In a large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free area until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
For the sugar coating: While the dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.
Use 2 tablespoons softened butter to thoroughly coat Bundt pan. Set aside.
Gently remove the dough from the bowl, and pat into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.
Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll in the brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in the Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers. Sprinkle chopped apple on alternating layers if using.
Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in draft-free area until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
For the glaze: While the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl until the lumps are gone. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the monkey bread, letting it run over top and down the sides of the bread. Serve warm.
Makes 6 to 8 servings