Alright friends, I meant to get this recipe out during Christmas time, and yet… here I am over 2 months later…. lol. I think if I hadn’t used pine needles as decor I might have gotten away with it, but I won’t dwell on that now.
Let’s talk about this past weekend. Alex and I finally saw Bohemian Rhapsody on Saturday at our favorite little discount theater, and I am obsessed! Anytime I watch a movie based on real life people I tend to go through a short phase of ‘obsession’ - aka needing to google everything to compare the movie to the real facts, see what the real people looked like, and look up everything about the actors and actresses who did an amazing job. Bohemian Rhapsody and Rami Malek were no exception. I still am in that ‘obsessive’ phase, especially seeing as I just watched a 20+ minute youtube video comparing, side by side, the real Live Aid to the movie Live Aid. Guys, Rami killed it in duplicating Freddie’s moves.
I was soooo happy to learn that Rami (Freddie) and Lucy (Mary Austin, the love of Freddie’s life) are dating in real life!!! And the Oscars on Sunday. Not only did Free Solo win (which was another one of those movies that I became ‘obsessive’ about), but also Queen performed live and Rami won an Oscar for best actor. His acceptance speech was beautiful and I almost cried when I watched it. Since then I’ve watched a lot of interviews with him regarding this movie and all I can say is that he is incredibly humble, poised, well spoken, grateful, and considerate. He is certainly an inspiration to many and it will be fun to see where his career takes him next.
Ok now that we talked about that, let’s get back to this monkey bread that I had intended to release a long time ago. Monkey bread has always had a special place in my heart as it is what my family always eats on Christmas morning as we open presents, and it was the breakfast/dessert that my mom always served during sleepovers or tennis dinners. The version I grew up with though is a little different and easier to make as we used canned biscuit dough instead of making the dough from scratch. But when I ran across Molly Yeh’s challah dough recipe in her book, Molly on the Range, I knew that I had to make monkey bread with it!
Monkey bread is comprised of individual pieces of yeasted bread that are rolled in and coated with a butter-sugar syrup mixture and cinnamon sugar. Therefore, your home will smell amazing as the monkey bread bakes in the oven. You can either cut the bread into slices, or pull apart the pieces individually. This recipe can be made the night before - just look at the baker’s notes at the bottom of the recipe for instructions! And the best part about this recipe is that it can double as a brunch item and a dessert item. ;) Either way, it will surely be a popular hit with almost everyone!
Challah dough recipe from Molly Yeh
Challah Monkey Bread
Bake time:Serves: 10
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water (105-110F)
- 2 1/3 cups + 2 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon sugar, divided
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup oil
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a small bowl or pyrex, stir together the yeast, warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. If you don't see any foam, start over as this means that the yeast is ineffective. Set aside.
- In a standmixer fitted with a dough hook, stir to combine the flour, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and the salt. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and brown sugar. Set aside.
- Add the yeast mixture to the flour, immediately followed by the egg mixture. Stir to combine.
- Knead 7-10 minutes until smooth and slightly sticky.
- Transfer to a large, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours (*).
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare the bundt pan: cut out a donut shaped piece of parchment paper that fits at the bottom of the bundt pan (*). Coat the bottom with nonstick spray, insert the parchment paper, and spray the entire inside of the bundt pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups sugar and 1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon. Set the cinnamon sugar aside.
- Make the syrup. In a saucepan, stirring constantly, boil together the butter, 1 cup sugar, the vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and set aside.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat into an 8" square. Cut 8 strips horizontally, and 8 strips vertically to create a total of 64 squares. Roll each square into a little ball.
- One at a time, use a utensil (as the syrup might still be hot) to roll each of the dough balls in the syrup to coat, then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place in the bundt pan. Once all of the balls have been coated, if you have let over cinnamon sugar, sprinkle over the top.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and crispy.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.
- To remove: place your serving plate over the opening of the bundt pan. With mitts on your hands, hold the pan and serving plate together, and with one swift motion, flip the plate and pan. Before lifting the pan up, I like to tap the outside of the bundt pan with a wooden spoon to help release the monkey bread from the bundt pan. Carefully lift the bundt pan up.
- Monkey bread best served warm.
(*) Baker’s Notes:
- I am having you use both nonstick spray and parchment paper because this significantly decreases the chances of some of the individual pieces from sticking to the bottom secondary to how sticky the syrup can get after baking. Trust me, after years of experience, the effort of cutting out the parchment paper is well worth it.
- If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, adjust step #6. After you cover the dough, place it directly in the refrigerator to rise overnight instead. The next morning, let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping it into a square as indicated in step #10.