Warm, gooey, cinnamon-y caramel goodness….mmmm.
The first time I really remember having this exact monkey bread was at my Mother-in-Laws. Only my husband (boyfriend at the time) called it Funky Cake. I was trying to explain it to my mom, who finally said “Oh, Monkey Bread!” She had to explain to me why it was called Monkey Bread, picking it apart and eating it with your fingers. I like the name Monkey Bread much better than Funky Cake. After all, it is actually bread. We have burned our mouths more than once trying to dive into it when it’s still too hot.
Regardless of what name you call it, call it delicious. This can put a smile on the face of anyone in the family, and it is so easy to make. It takes a little pre planning just because it is made with a yeast dough, so it needs time to rise. I have seen recipes for it with canned biscuit dough, which I know is good, but not nearly as good once it cools. This is still soft and puffy after it cools. For a day or two. Don’t worry about that, it won’t last that long. Trust me. And you can add raisins, and/or apples, nuts (pecans, yes!) I didn’t add anything here because I wanted to just show the basic one. This one was made in a one piece angel food cake pan. You can make a smaller one in a bundt pan as well, or just a loaf pan. The hole in the middle give you more of the outside crust though.
Having said all that, there are several ways you can go about this, the easiest being two loaves of frozen bread dough, to make one in an angel food pan this size. A bundt pan would hold more like one loaf or a loaf and a half. For this one, I make a large batch of dough in my bread machine, then proceeded with the recipe using my own dough, but frozen bread dough works perfectly fine. Make sure you use up any leftover sugar and cinnamon, and butter so you get lots of that caramel on there. And remember, heat will cool if greed will let it…..
- For a large bread to fit on an angel food cake pan:
- 2 loaves of frozen bread dough, or the equivalent in other yeast dough
- 1½ cups of granulated sugar
- about ¼ - ⅓ cup cinnamon, depending on how much cinnamon you like
- 1½ sticks (3/4 cup) butter, melted, but not too hot
- Raisins, apples, nuts, if you like, to sprinkle throughout.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a small mixing bowl or large cereal size bowl.
- Generously butter a 1 piece angel food cake pan or large tube pan.
- Cut or tear the bread into pieces about 1 - 1½ inch diameter. Dip each dough ball all the way into the melted butter, so they are completely coated. Gently shake a little butter off, then dip into the sugar cinnamon mixture. Toss into the prepared pan. Keep doing this, making sure the dough balls are scattered evenly throughout the bottom of the pan. I usually put about 10 - 12 dough balls into the butter, then one by one dip them into the sugar and cinnamon mixture and toss into the pan. Once all of the dough balls are coated and in the pan, sprinkle the leftover sugar cinnamon mixture evenly over the top of the dough balls. Then drizzle the leftover butter evenly over the sugar, wetting as much as you can. If you don't have at least ½ cut sugar left, mix up a little more. Make sure you have at least ¼ - ⅓ cup of melted butter. If not, melt a little more. This will ensure you have plenty of caramel to run down the sides when you flip it out of the pan.
- Cover with a clean dish towel and set in a warm place and let rise until about 2 inches from the top of the pan. At least an hour, depending on how warm the area is.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 35 - 45 minutes, depending on your oven. The top will get fairly browned, and it will spring back from a firm touch.
- Let it rest for 3 - 5 minutes. Then, using a plate large enough to contain the diameter of the bread, put the plate over the top of the pan. Working quickly and carefully so you don't spill that sticky caramel, flip the whole thing over so the bread comes out on the plate. Have a spatula handy to get that caramel out of the pan and onto the top of the bread.
- Let it cool enough that you don't burn your mouth!