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Monkey Bread-Yay or Nay?

Many of you may be familiar with a delicious treat called Monkey Bread. It is a bundt cake style bread of cinnamon goodness, baked in a brown sugar syrup and often topped with a drizzle of vanilla frosting. In searching for the perfect try it out recipe, I also saw a number that added nuts and/or raisins for extra flavor.

For myself, I had never had it before, but my husband raved about it and was nostalgic about the days his grandma would make it when he was a kid. I thought, awesome, memory making for sure. Fun Friday was coming up so I thought I would give it a try. I even decided to try it completely from scratch, after all, I am a home baker, this is my element right? Wrong. I came to realize that making breads takes a whole other level of patience I hadn't reached yet in my baking experience. I should have recognized the error of my ways when the recipe time was 3 hours and 20 min. 3 HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES. What was I thinking? Even for me a seasoned baker, this was probably not the best idea considering this crazy busy household. I'm used to spending this kind of time decorating creations but never on the baking of a single product. I wasn't sure it would be worth it but I pressed on.

After much internet scouring I finally settled on a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction found here. Her stuff is always amazing and her recipe details are second to none, and so the adventure began.

First step was to make the dough. Now to be fair this really is the most time consuming part of the recipe. It has a lot of wait time. I started by proofing my yeast. This just means I had to check out if my dry yeast packet ( I used Fleishman's active dry yeast) was still alive and could do its job. I did this by combining the yeast packet with some warm milk and some sugar. After about 5-10 minutes it became foamy, letting me know it was good to go. If it hadn't, I would have had to toss it and try again with another packet. Since mine was ready, I was able to move on to mixing the dough in my stand mixer and then on to the second stage, letting my dough rise.

Dough ready to rise

This step took approximately 2 hours so I was glad I planned ahead. It's important to read all the way through a recipe before starting. Make sure you have the time and ingredients to make it work. Can you imagine if this was meant for breakfast that morning? It would have been #mommyfail. I left mine on the counter covered with a clean, dry, dish cloth and it doubled in size just as the recipe predicted. Next, I punched down the dough to release the air and I was ready for Phase #3. Time to make the dough balls.

In this step, I pulled off dough pieces, shaped them into little balls, and dunked them into melted butter and rolled them in a cinnamon sugar mixture. I placed these balls along the bottom of my traditional bundt pan and continue to do so until I was out of dough. The balls filled my pan about 1/3 of the way up. I then let them rest for another 20 minutes while my oven preheated and I moved on to Step #4.

Time to cover your dough in a brown sugar syrup mixture. Anyone who knows me, knows brown sugar is life. It gives so much warmth and depth to flavors that I love when I see it in a recipe. It is the brown sugar sauce that gives this bread, that ooey gooey goodness, that makes it Monkey Bread. It is a mixture of melted butter, white and brown sugars, cinnamon and a little vanilla which I poured over the top of my rested dough balls before finally popping this pan into the oven.

Time to bake.

At this point, I am just under 3 hours into the process when I finally get to bake this puppy. I baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, although for full disclosure I think I let it get a little too brown. The recipe warned about this because individual ovens vary so I should have kept a better eye on it, but you know it was a test and life happens.

I let it cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes and then turned it out onto a cake board. Now it was ready for the final step.

The vanilla frosting is the piece de resistance, and probably my kids favorite part. I made this icing with confectioner's sugar, milk and vanilla extract. I poured it over my cooled bread and let it drip down the sides. Now it was ready to serve. Yay.

I have to say the recipe I used from Sally's Baking Addiction was amazing. She gave clear, detailed directions and the flavors were everything. My husband and kids raved about it and made quick work of pulling off pieces. It was eaten not only for breakfast but some even made it into the lunches boxes, for a sweet dessert for days after. Would I do it again? Yes definitely, but I think next time I will try it with pre-made biscuit dough as found here on the Pillsbury website. It allows you to skip the dough making part and straight to the dough balls and brown sugar topping. This would be great during hectic times and days when I don't have the three hours to wait. Either way, this was definitely worth the effort and I'm looking forward to the next time these monkeys get a little monkey bread.

Let us know if you have tried a Monkey bread and what is your favorite recipe.

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