Yup, monkey bread. I have also heard it referred to as “monkey brains”.
I have no idea where the name came from, but I stopped thinking it was important after the first bite.
This treat is essentially balls of sweet bread coated in butter, cinnamon and sugar. That sounds scrumptious on it’s own.
Then you discover it’s also topped with a cream cheese glaze. Oh. My. Lanta.
I absolutely love monkey bread! It’s fun and easy to throw together, especially if you space it out over a couple of days. And of course, every bite is doughy buttery bliss.
Make the dough in the evening, and pop it in the oven the next morning for a super duper sugar coma breakfast.
(Makes 64 dough balls, and fills a bundt pan. Should be enough to serve 6-10 people.)
2 tbsp butter, melted + approx. 2 tbsp for greasing pan
1 cup warm milk, around 110 degrees F
1/3 cup warm water, around 110 degrees F
¼ cup sugar
1 packet or 2 ¼ tsp of yeast (I used active dry yeast, just noticed the recipe asks for instant or rapid rise. Whoops. Either one works, apparently.)
3 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
8 tbsp butter, melted
Cream Cheese Glaze:
3 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
dash of vanilla extract
1. In a small bowl, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast. Stir until sugar and yeast are mostly dissolved, then let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be giving off a lovely bread-y smell after sitting.
2. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the flour and salt. Set the mixer to a slow speed, and gradually add in the milk mixture.
3. After the dough comes together, increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for at least 5 minutes. The dough will be shiny and smooth, and a little bit sticky.
4. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead a few times to create a smooth ball.
5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and let rise in a warm, enclosed space for about an hour.
If you don’t feel like finishing the monkey bread on the same day, you can cover the risen dough in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for 1-3 days. No problem mon.
When you’re ready to go, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Gently form the dough into an 8” square. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 64 pieces. Be sure to separate the pieces as soon as they’re cut, or they will glob onto each other again. Roll each piece into a ball, and you’re ready to get sticky.
The Delicious Coating.
1. Easy peasy. Melt the butter in one bowl; combine the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.
2. Butter your bundt or ring pan.
3. Working with one piece at a time, coat each piece in butter, letting the excess drip off. The best tool for this is a fork.
4. Roll your buttery ball of dough in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Make sure it’s thoroughly coated. Too little sugar would be a disaster.
5. Layer the completed dough balls in your greased pan.
Prepping & Baking.
1. Cover the pan (filled with finished balls of unbaked dough) with a clean towel or plastic wrap, and place in warm, enclosed space to rise for another hour. Dough will have risen noticeably and look puffy.
2. Heat oven to 350F.
3. Bake dough for 30-35 minutes. Watch for over-browning bread.
4. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, but not much longer or you’ll have issues getting it out of the pan. Turn out onto platter and let cool for about 10 minutes before glazing.
Cream Cheese Glaze
1. Beat the soft cream cheese with icing sugar until smooth and light. Add milk and vanilla, adjust ingredients if you think it’s necessary. A little milk, a little powdered sugar. It should not be thick like frosting, but not runny enough to to run right down the sides.
2. You can pour the glaze overtop of the slightly cooled bread and give ‘er.
OR. You can put the cream cheese glaze in a cute bowl on the side, stick sturdy toothpicks or lollipop sticks in the monkey bread, and dip your troubles away. Up to you.