Friday, July 10, 2015

Cinnamon and Sugar Monkey Bread From Scratch!


If you're familiar with the ooey, gooey, super sweet breakfast bread known as monkey bread, then you know as well as I do how easy it is to get hooked after just one bite. However, if you haven't had it, please don't let the cutesy, animal name fool you, this dangerously delicious pull-apart bread isn't just for kids. Okay, well, it shouldn't be just for kids and in this house it definitely is not! Monkey bread is one of my favorite sweet breads. 

In our family, it's one hundred percent accurate to say that I'm usually the first one to suggest pastries or bread for breakfast on any day of the week. Otherwise, my little clan would be happy to eat scrambled eggs every, single morning.  Believe me, I do mean every morning. They really love their eggs! I like a good, savory egg breakfast too, but sometimes something sweet just helps me get going in the morning. 

Plus, any parent with small children knows how important it is to shake things up and add variety to daily menus. Offering kids lots of different foods helps to avoid the inevitable, unpredictable battles that come with food burnout.  And yes, I am aware that I'm reaching here.  And yes, I am just looking for any excuse to try to justify my well-documented baking addiction. It's true. Sweet breakfast breads just give me another excuse to fire up my oven.  But, it was a great spin for a minute there wasn't it?

Most batches of monkey bread I've eaten before were made with canned biscuit dough. I never complained and believe me, I ate it.  Lots of it. But, the last time I decided to make monkey bread I was determined to break the habit of using canned biscuits. I really wanted to find a good scratch recipe instead.

I found lots of variations of the monkey bread recipe online and in my recipe books. Some versions were called bubble loaf, bubble bread and on and on. They all called for making yeast dough which involves lengthy rise times and a few other steps I really didn't have the energy to take that particular morning.  I almost gave up and made a run for the corner store to get that convenient can.

That's when it dawned on me to substitute the prepared biscuit dough with my own quick, scratch baking powder biscuit recipe instead. Seriously, I make baking powder biscuits pretty regularly on the fly and I couldn't believe it had taken me so long to make that connection. Well, it worked like a charm!  So, here is my solution for a fresher, quicker, sticky, sweet, classic monkey bread!

Cinnamon & Sugar Monkey Bread
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • extra flour for kneading
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1. Pre-heat oven to 350ยบ. Combine the flour and the baking powder in a large mixing bowl.  Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the softened butter into the flour mixture until it's course and crumbly.

2.  Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk.  Fold and gently stir the ingredients until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a generously floured surface and knead about 3-4 times, adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth. 


Biscuit dough after kneading

3. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or a disposable plastic storage bag. Now, tear the dough into one-inch pieces and form into balls. Generously coat the dough balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place the dough balls into a greased bundt or tube pan.   

Almost ready for the oven.

4.  Mix the brown sugar and melted butter together in a small bowl.  Pour the brown sugar mixture, as evenly as possible, over the dough in the pan.


 



5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the bread is firm to the touch.


mmmm! All done. Your kitchen will smell like cinnamon heaven!

6.  Allow monkey bread to cool for about 20 minutes. (You may have to use a soft spatula to loosen the sides)  Turn out onto a plate and enjoy!

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