Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

Being married to a cinnamon lover means that I’m constantly on the lookout for both sweet and savory recipes that call for an abundance of the fragrant spice. When I stumbled upon Monkey Bread in this month’s Cooking Light, I immediately ran into the kitchen to see if I had all the ingredients on hand. After baking my share of snickerdoodles and cinnamon rolls, I was excited to try a cinnamon-laced sweet that was completely out of the ordinary.

Whereas traditional Monkey Bread is made from canned biscuits, this healthier version builds a base from scratch using a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Waiting for the dough to rise two times will test one’s will and patience, but the end result is certain to make it all worth while.

Monkey Bread is an indulgent marriage of sticky buns and doughnut holes. Served hot out of the oven, it’s a gooey, golden, and unabashedly sweet affair. While it may be civilized to eat it with a fork and knife, I prefer to monkey around with my fingers, pulling each nub apart, slowly and deliberately. Monkey Bread is the ultimate brunch time centerpiece.

  • 13 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
  • 4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup very warm fat-free milk (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup very warm orange juice (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Monkey Bread

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined. With mixer on, slowly add 1 cup milk, juice, honey, and 2 tablespoons butter; mix dough at medium speed 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Monkey Bread

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Monkey Bread

Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Combine 3 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.

Punch dough down; divide into 8 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll into an 8-inch rope. Cut each dough rope into 8 equal pieces, shaping each piece into a 1-inch ball. Dip each ball in milk mixture, turning to coat, and roll in sugar mixture.

Monkey Bread

Layer balls in a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 7 dough ropes. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.

Monkey Bread

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of bread; invert onto plate. Combine powdered sugar, remaining milk, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until warm. Drizzle over bread.

Monkey Bread

Serves 16.

Recipe from Cooking Light, October 2011. [For Printable Recipe Click Here]

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13 Responses to “Monkey Bread”


  • you need to call me when you make things like this so I can help you eat it! Love the dough hook attachment this looks soooooo good!

  • Dare I say there’s no better marriage than one of sticky buns and doughnut holes? So ummm brunch party soon? I’ll bring the quinoa cereal, you bring the monkey bread and then we’ll drown our mouths with mimosas. ;)

  • I get a sense monkey bread is an excuse to eat a huge slice of doughnut holes with a fork.

  • That’s so funny! I saw a recipe on TV last night for monkey bread and thought I should try it, and here’s a healthy recipe!

  • I purchased my first Bundt pan this past weekend, but I didn’t have a recipe on hand that uses one. Now I do… thanks! :)

  • Do you think somehow I could make this work by preparing most of it the night before and putting it in the fridge? Or, would it be a complete fail?

  • Mary - I’ve never tried this before, but my gut is telling me that it wouldn’t turn out well. Yeast is a fickle beast and I think a cold refrigerator may tamper with it’s rising properties. Anyone try this before? If so, holla at Mary, please. Thank you!

  • Great monkey bread! Thanks for including weights. As for Mary’s question, what I’ve done in the past for cinnamon rolls is: make the dough, let it rise, do the cinnamon-sugar thing, cut into individual rolls, let rise. Then refrigerate overnight. The following day, let them come to room temp for about 1.5 hours (or shorten this time by placing them in a turned-off oven with a cup of very hot water for 30 to 45 min). Then bake them.
    You could also make the dough, let it rise, and refrigerate it. The next day, while cold, do the cinnamon-sugar thing, cut into rolls, let rise, and then bake.

  • Hello Cathy,

    My name is Emilie, I work for Little Next Door Restaurant. We are really interested in our cook, that’s why we would like to have your email address and show you what we do!

    Thank you very much.

  • Interesting. I’ve had what was called “monkey bread” once before, and it was buttery, there was no cinnamon or sweetness involved. I think I was misled.

  • Great pictures – this looks really appetizing!

    I think that the overnight cold rise will, in fact, benefit this by giving the dough a more complex flavor (and, in fact, with a long rise, you can often use less yeast, which will give the result a less strong “yeasty” flavor).

    But you do need to bring it back to room temperature before shaping / proofing as Hanaa says.

  • I’m going to try this in extra large muffin pans – since I don’t have a large bundt pan. Hopefully each person with their own tower of monkey will work out great.

  • @EastSideFoodBites….
    I have several recipes that call for “garlic & cloves”
    not sweet monkey bread.

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