Sunday, January 16, 2011

Can’t. Stop. Eating. … Monkey Bread (and an interesting fact about me)

I already told you about our Snowpocalypse 2011 here in Georgia.  Well after the third day of being trapped inside our apartment mostly alone because the Hubs had to work, I decided I needed to bake something.  I had always wanted to try to make some monkey bread.  Hubby’s mom had made it before and it looked, smelled, and tasted delicious.  However, I wanted to take it one step further and make the dough also.  Most people use refrigerated biscuit dough, which is great in a time crunch, but I had all the time until the ice melted in the world.   


Yeah, I know, it looks freakishly good, right?  Well believe me when I say it definitely was.  

I found this recipe while surfing the web.  It is from

Like the marshmallows this recipe requires a good bit of waiting.  And while I told you I’m usually a very impatient baker, I was getting so bored being cooped up that I was willing to wait for this masterpiece.
First I made the dough.  Normally I would show you pictures of the dough making, but there really weren’t any pictures to take… yeast in water actually looks kind of gross.  Plus, you are constantly adding flour into the mixture to make sure the dough forms correctly.


After preparing the dough you will wait for it to rise for 1 hour.  While the dough is rising, prepare the coating.  Place the butter in one small bowl and light brown sugar and cinnamon in another, medium bowl.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 tsp of cinnamon.  I found that this was not enough to coat all the balls of dough.  So I would do 1 1/2 times this amount, or 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tbsp of cinnamon.  Once the rising is finished, you break the dough into balls and coat it, which in my opinion, is the fun part (other than eating it, of course)! 


The recipe said to take the dough and cut it into 1/2 inch pieces.  I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t figure where to even start with cutting a huge round piece of dough into 1/2 inch pieces.  Very confusing.  So, with Hubby’s input (he had finally returned home from work!), we decided to just pull off pieces and eyeball it.  We did balls the size of a golf ball.  Next time I would actually even do them a little bit smaller.  I had totally forgotten that we had to let them rise again.  Once they had risen the second time they were a little too big to eat in one or two bites… more like three.  Which, I think, for a finger food is too big.

IMG_2283 Not the best picture in the world (my f-stop was too low), but you get the idea of the size of the balls we made in Hubby’s hand.
Once you have your balls, that’s what she said you will take them one at a time and coat them in the butter first and then the sugar mixture.  As you finish each piece, you will place them in a well greased bundt or tube pan.  You don’t have to pack them in too much, but make sure they are touching.  You will probably have two to three layers of them.

IMG_2284 IMG_2285
Now you let them rise for one more hour.  I know, I know, it’s painful having to wait that long to bake those tasty little brown sugary, cinnamony, doughy things!  In case you are dying at this point, the sugar mixture tastes pretty good too ;-) 

Preheat your oven to 350F.  After the hour of rising, bake them for 30-35 minutes.  While it’s baking, make the icing.  All it is is sugar and milk.  The recipe called for whole milk, but I used 2% and it was just fine.  *Tip: When a recipe calls for whole milk, usually you can use any fat content except skim.  It just needs some fat to make it work.

And you want to hear something even more crazy (about me)… I’m lactose intolerant.  I also have other digestive problems that don’t allow me to eat fried foods and a few other random things. Yup, it totally sucks!  And I’m not talking just a little bit, I have a very severe form of it.  Like so severe I can’t have any: cheese other than a little parmesan or lactose free swiss (there is only one kind made by Boars Head),  milk/cream/half and half other than a small amount of lactose free milk in baked items, any cream sauces at all.  If I do eat any of those forbidden items I get very very sick.  So sick that I can’t leave my house.  And even when I eat the items that I can have a small amounts of I still have symptoms, just not so bad that I can’t function.  I know, I know you’re probably wondering why I bake and how the hell I manage with this.  I’ve just managed to work around it and have found that it’s really not that big of a deal as long as I’m careful.  I also have a few different medications that can help if I do get sick.  So, now you know, in all of my recipes that call for milk I use lactaid milk (except cornbread, in which case I use rice milk because it sweetens it up… so much so that the Hubby prefers that cornbread to any other kind).  Power to the lactose intolerant!  hahaha.  I know I’m not the only one, so I hope this helps others who have dietary restrictions.  You can almost always work around it!

Anywho… back to the monkey bread:  Two minutes after removing from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack.  Don’t be intimidated by this step.  All you have to do is put the rack on top of the open side of the pan and, with pot holders, flip it over.  That’s it!  Easy peasy.  After cooling for 15 minutes on the cooling rack, transfer to a serving plate.  Then, take the icing you made with a spoon and drizzle that tasty stuff all over the monkey!  I prefer to do this while it’s still warm because it drips prettier, but you could probably do it once it’s cool too.

IMG_2290      IMG_2291

Now EAT IT UP!  I wanted some so bad that I took a bite before I even took a picture.  Bad Jenny!  It was SO. FREAKIN. GOOD!

Monkey Bread (adapted from
It said it serves 6-8. I think that totally depends on how much you want.  It could definitely feed more.

1 envelope active dry yeast                   1 egg
1/4 cup warm water                              1 cup warm 2% milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar                       1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 tsp salt                                                 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted                             
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup 2% milk

To make:

1.  Prepare dough:  In stand mixer bowl, stir together yeast, water, and a pinch of sugar.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add sugar, salt, egg, milk, and 3 tbsp of butter.  Attach the flat beater, and mix on the “stir” speed.  Then mix in 2 cups of flour in 1/2 cup increments, until a dough forms.                                                  

2.  Remove flat beater and attach dough hook.  Set to speed 2 and mix in remaining flour, in 1/2 cup increments.  Continue beating/kneading about 1 minute on speed 2.  Using hands, form dough into a ball and then rub with remaining 1 tbsp of butter.  Place back into the mixer bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for one hour.                                                         

3.  While rising, prepare coating:  Place butter in a small bowl and melt in microwave.  In another medium sized bowl, stir together brown sugar and cinnamon.  After coating is ready, prepare the pan.  Grease a bundt or tube pan well.  (I used smart balance butter from tub, but you can use any kind of butter.                  

4.  When the dough is finished rising, remove from bowl and place on cutting board.  Pinch off dough and roll into balls a little bit smaller than a golf ball.  Just use your best judgment… you won’t mess it up.  Coat balls in melted butter then roll in sugar mixture.  Place in prepared pan as you go, with balls touching in layers (you will have 2-3 layers).  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour.                                            

5.  While rising, prepare icing.  In small bowl, stir together confectioner’s sugar and milk until smooth.  Then, preheat the oven to 350F.  Once ready, bake for 30-35 minutes.  After two minutes of cooling in pan, transfer to cooling rack.  Let cool on rack for 15 minutes then transfer to serving platter.  Immediately take icing on a spoon (you may need to give it a little stir) and drizzle all over the monkey bread. 


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