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As I’ve mentioned before, growing up we pretty much ate non-sugared cereal or bagels for breakfast. On weekends, my mom would sometimes make French toast or German pancakes with apples and cinnamon and sugar, but things like cinnamon rolls and monkey bread were never a breakfast food for us. Then, during high school, I got a job at a Mrs. Fields bakery called La Petite Boulangerie. I opened the store every weekend morning and was there while the baker made the cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. What a delicious smell.
And that was the beginning of my demise. That cinnamon roll is a weird shape? Guess we’ll have to eat it for breakfast. That sticky bun was a little too burnt? Save it to take home to my dad. My love of sticky cinnamon and sugar began.
This monkey bread is similar to a sticky bun, minus the nuts, with a glaze. Since it’s 64 pieces of dough in a Bundt pan, it’s easy to tear apart and eat with your fingers, and sticky and gooey just like it should be. If you’re planning on making this, just remember it’s a yeast dough with two rises, so it does take a while to make but is so worth it!
4 tablespoons butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (I used active dry yeast)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt
Brown Sugar Coating Ingredients
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Butter a Bundt pan with the 2 tablespoons softened butter. Use a pastry brush or a paper towel or anything that will really help get inside all of those nooks and crannies. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If you think the dough is too wet (i.e. having a hard time forming a cohesive mass), add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together (it should still be on the sticky side, just not overly wet). Coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly with the cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1-2 hours (alternately, you can preheat the oven to 200 degrees, turning it off once it reaches 200 degrees and place the covered bowl in the oven to speed up the rising time).
For the sugar coating, while the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place the melted butter in a second bowl or shallow pie plate. Set aside.
To form the bread, gently remove the dough from the bowl and press it into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 64 pieces.
Roll each dough piece into a ball (it doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it into a rough ball-shape). Working one at a time, dip the balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl or pie plate. Roll the dipped dough ball in the brown sugar mixture, then layer the balls in the Bundt pan, staggering the seams where the dough balls meet as you build layers.
Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and let the monkey bread rise until puffy and they have risen 1-2 inches from the top of the pan, 1-2 hours (again, you can use the warm oven approach to speed this up).
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (remove the pan from the oven if you placed it there to rise). Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes (any longer and the bread will be too sticky and hard to remove!), then turn out on a platter or large plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
For the glaze, while the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk together in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the warm monkey bread, letting it run over the top and sides of the bread. Serve warm.
Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.