I found this recipe in the Neiman Marcus Cookbook, and according to the author it’s called monkey bread because “the technique of eating [it] is somewhat reminiscent of a monkey pulling bread apart.” Whatever the reason, your loved ones will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of (apparent) effort you put into satisfying their taste buds.
Sugared Monkey Bread
- Ingredients: Items marked with an * have been modified or added
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 1/2 packages)
- 1 cup warm milk.
- 1/4 cup sugar plus 1tsp for proofing the yeast and more for dipping *
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup melted butter (1/2 for mixing and 1/2 for dipping)
- 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tsp honey *
Bakeware: Either a muffin tin, a bundt pan (what I used) or a small baking dish.
Directions: Sections marked with an * have been modified or added
Place the yeast, milk and 1 tsp of sugar in your mixing bowl. Make sure your milk is warm not hot, or the yeast won’t activate properly. Let stand for about five minutes, until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture has taken on a slightly spongy appearance.
Add 1/4 cup sugar, the salt and 1/2 cup of the melted butter. Slowly stir in the flour (as opposed to dumping it all in at once) until you have a soft dough. You can do this in a mixer with a paddle attachment, or by hand with a large spoon (which is how I did it.)
* Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough bounces back when you press your thumb into it. About 1 – 2 minutes tops. Shape into a ball and transfer the dough to a bowl that has been lightly greased with about 1tsp of olive oil or butter. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
* Just before the hour is up, warm the 1/2 cup remaining butter and add 1 tsp of honey to it. Also spread a fair amount of sugar over a large plate (about 1/2 cup) so that you can dip the dough pieces in it before baking.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Punch down dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. With a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 2-inch squares.
* Gather up four or five squares of the dough and press them together with your fingers, forming a vaguely flower-like shape. (Pressed very firmly together at the bottom and middle, and a bit looser at the top.) Dip the rolls into the butter, then press the tops into the plate of sugar. (You can put some sugar along the sides too.)
Transfer the roll to a medium-size buttered muffin pan, sugared side up. If you are using a bundt pan or baking dish, put the roll into the pan, sugared side up, then place all subsequent rolls directly next to the one before it. Once you’ve filled the muffin pan or bundt dish etc, let the dough rise in a warm place for 40 minutes, or until doubled in volume. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes, then enjoy!
This delicious recipe is from the Neiman Marcus Cookbook, with a few slight modifications. So far I’ve made about 1/2 of the recipes and I have not been disappointed.