Monkey Bread

A rare moment when they’re all looking at the camera. From L to R: Henrietta, Big Bird, Louise, Little Grey, Little Brown, Zeb, Penny, Riley

I’m sure you’re thinking, now what in Monkey Bread could possibly have come from a garden?? And you’d be right- absolutely nothing in this came from my garden. But I’ve had a craving for it lately, so I decided that I would make it from scratch. Its a stormy, rainy Friday, and spending the day at home baking seemed like the perfect plan. Oh yeah, and I get to play with the chickens in between! (I have two of the chipmunk bantam ameraucanas perched on my arm as we speak). There are three that I’m pretty sure are roosters, and one more I’m starting to think might be… but I’m trying not to think about it!

Chipmunks – the one in the back is a pretty definite rooster

I knew that I wanted to make the monkey bread dough from scratch, as opposed to buying refrigerated biscuit dough like most recipes call for. Although I’m sure that method is easier for some, I know that I am fairly adept at making bread from scratch. I also wanted a recipe that had lots of gooey-goodness in between the balls of dough, and I liked the idea of baking them in muffin tins. So off I went on my google search.

I found a yeasted bread dough recipe at Baking Bites which looked doable, and then instructions on making muffin-sized monkey breads at Dine and Dish. Usually combining recipes works out fine. In this case… well, there were technical difficulties. Completely my fault: yeasted bread expands (hence two rises). So jamming all the dough balls into 12 muffin spots just because I don’t want to get out another pan, means they expand A LOT. Not normally a problem, except when you’ve just drizzled them with a melted butter/sugar mixture, that then starts flowing over the entire muffin tin and dripping below (right into a cookie tin I had thoughtfully placed for just such a purpose). So in my instructions below, I am going to post what I SHOULD have done…

Monkey Bread Muffin-Style, from Scratch

1/4 cup water, warm (100-110F)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (.25-oz)
3 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 2 1/2 cups bread flour)
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup milk, warm (100-110F)

Lightly grease a 12-muffin tin and a 6-muffin tin. Set aside.
Combine warm water and yeast. Let stand for 2 minutes, until yeast is slightly foamy.
Stir in 1 cup of the flour, along with the salt, sugar, vanilla, egg, 2 tbsp melted butter and warm milk. Mix well, until dough is fairly smooth. Gradually add in the remaining flour, until it begins to come together a bit. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Cover the bowl with a dishcloth, and let dough rest for 30 minutes somewhere warm (I turn the oven to 200, turn it off, and after 5-10 minutes put the bowl in there).

1 cup sugar combined with 2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, melted
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Handful of pecans, chopped or halves

Punch down dough, and start to tear off small pieces and roll into balls (I liked 1/4-1/2″ size). Dip the balls into the butter quickly, then roll in the sugar/cinnamon mixture before placed in the muffin tins. Only fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way full!!! Critical for the glaze that follows (if you eliminate the glaze, you could potentially stuff the tins fuller). Sprinkle and stuff the pecan pieces into the dough balls. Set aside in a warm place for at least 30 minutes to allow the dough to rise a bit (I did not do this. I should have though!).

Heat the remaining butter and brown sugar over medium to low heat. Allow to boil for one minute. Then drizzle over the dough balls. If you need more, make up a bit more.. but remember, the balls are going to continue to rise while baking!

Alternative method: While you are rolling the balls in sugar, halfway through drizzle in some of the butter/sugar glaze. That way more gets to the bottom bits.

Bake at 350 for 15-25 minutes – check them often to make sure they aren’t overflowing too much. If you are worried about spillover (and you probably should be), put a cookie sheet or two underneath the pans to collect any dripping. Scraping burned sugar off the oven floor is no fun. Once they are done, let rest for a few minutes in the pan. Then scoop out and flip over onto a plate (scooping up any leftover drizzle too). Enjoy!


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