Made With Love - Funky Monkey Bread

Made With Love is a column dedicated to first time cooking experiments. I love to cook and put my own spin on old standby recipes. Join me as I document the triumphs and failures of my culinary adventures. 

So there I was. Minding my own business. Reading tweets. When this guy  posts a picture of monkey bread.

I truly had no other option but to attempt making this fantastic looking treat myself.

Google produced its usual bazillion responses to my inquiry.  The ones I read were either time consuming yeast sweet breads or get it done quick with biscuits from a can recipes. I headed to my kitchen armed with a general idea of what went into this cinnamon sweet bread (cake?) and began to create.

Most of the "get it done quick" recipes called for 3 cans of biscuits (8 biscuits per can) so I decided I needed to triple my standard Saturday morning biscuit recipe. I also wasn't sure if the cinnamon sugar that coats the outside of this bread would make it sweet enough so I added sugar to the mix. I mean, come on, if you're going to make something this good you might as well go all in. Right?
 That's a lot of flour!

To the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder add chunks of softened but still cool butter.

Then dive right in and start incorporating. 

But don't over mix it... just until most of the butter is distributed through the flour mixture and looks kind of like this:

Time to add milk!  Slowly is the key here because the amount of milk will vary and if you dump it all in at once you may end up with a gooey mess that needs more flour. Then you put in too much flour and have to add more milk.. and the cycle repeats until you give up and go with what ya got.

Continue to driggle / mix / driggle / mix until the dough looks like this:

Your dough should not feel wet to the touch and it should not feel dry and crumbly. You're aiming for a middle ground here.

Dust your work surface with flour and plop your ball of dough out. Turn it over once and then pat it into a rough rectangle that is about a 1/2 inch thick. You don't want to "work" the dough too much so no kneading or rolling - just press it out with your hands. Tasting is ok... its quite yummy at this stage.

Cut it up into 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares... You should get around 80 squares. Yes, I counted. Just for you.

Remember my "go all in" motto with this recipe? Yep, that's brown sugar you see rubbed over those squares.  Go ahead, you know you want to.

Melt some butter and brown sugar.... you'll need this in a few minutes.

In a big zip lock bag put sugar, cinnamon and....

cayenne pepper! Oh yes. Trust me here. This is where this monkey gets its funky. But just a little... see the pic? LESS than a dash. More like a 1/4 dash.

Put some dough into the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne mixture and shake it all about.

Toss the delish cubes (go ahead! try one!) into a solid bottom bundt pan that has been sprayed with Pam or your cooking spray of choice.  Repeat until all cubes are nestled in.

Remember that melted butter and brown sugar? Go ahead and pour it on.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees and this is what you get:

Let it cool for as long as you can stand it... I made it about 5 minutes but 15 would have been better.

Turn it out onto a platter and it should slide right out.

When it's cool enough to handle, but still delightfully warm, break off chunks and go "yummmmmmm".

Lessons Learned:

  • This stuff is really really good. 
  • For more gooey goodness all the way through I'd increase the amount of butter and brown sugar.
  • Next time I'd add some cayenne to the butter and brown sugar mix... just a touch.
  • I think a touch of nutmeg would add some depth of flavor to the cinnamon, sugar, cayenne mix.

The Recipe:

Dough - 
6 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1.5 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups milk

Coating - 
1 cup sugar
3+ tsp cinnamon
dash of cayenne

Drizzle - 
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

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