Monkey Bread

Monkey bread is a funny sort of food. When I am thinking about making it, I have an internal battle. I know if I make it, I will eat it all. Yeah, yeah. That’s been said before, but seriously… it’s true. This stuff is crazy good and is better than a cinnamon roll any day of the week. Actually, it’s like eating the only part of a cinnamon roll that is any good…the middle. The whole pan is that way! It just takes a little planning ahead but is a great thing to make on a Saturday morning while you are enjoying some coffee in your pjs and perhaps a few children running and making shooting noises snuggling and giggling.

Monkey Bread:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided, 2 T melted for dough and 2 T softened for bundt pan)
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees F)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees F)
¼ cup sugar
1 package instant yeast
3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt

Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (for fresh cinnamon look here)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk

1 tsp of vanilla paste (optional but yummy)

Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

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 a large bowl with oil. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with oil. 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.

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.

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.

Uncover and it will look like this –^

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, milk, and vanilla paste in a small bowl until the lumps are gone.

Adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Recipe

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