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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.