Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spiced Monkey Bread ~ Perfect For New Year's Breakfast

There is really nothing better than homemade ooey-gooey goodness that comes out of the oven early in the morning. 

And so far, every kid that has come in contact with this monkey bread has been pleased by all of the gooey mess on their little fingers. (except my Grace, she is not a fan of cinnamon) 

And it seems that every adult is still a kid inside, enjoying licking the sticky glaze from their fingers.

It seems like everybody loves monkey bread...when I first tried it I really wasn't impressed since the only monkey bread I had ever had was a microwave one out of a box (can we say dry & not very tasty?).  It definitely did not make me ever want another monkey bread again.

Until I figured out how to make it myself! And the fact that it is ridiculously easy and quick to bake makes it all the better. So, if you have about 15 minutes in the midst of morning chaos to put this together and only about 30 minutes to bake it + 10 minutes for cooling, then let's get to monkeying around!

(Remember, there is a lot that you can get done during the baking time)

There are only a few items needed:
a fluted baking pan, cooking spray, Pillsbury Country Style Biscuits, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar and butter. (maybe a few nuts, raisins or dried cranberries)

Alright, now that I have everything that I need to get started, I grab my sugar & spices.

Since I like to have quick clean-ups, I prefer to use a sealable baggie to mix my sugar & spices in. It also makes it easy to drop the biscuits in and coat them quickly. Okay, so here we have our granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.

Oh my gosh! I am always amazed at how wonderful those three spices smell when put together. Since most monkey breads call for just cinnamon & sugar, I wanted to add just a little bit more to make it harder to resist. Just a little bit of something extra can be such a wonderful surprise for your taste buds...and the smell, oh the smell is just so good.

Since the idea behind this is to make a relatively quick and easy monkey bread, I decided to go with the Pillsbury Original Biscuits. No biscuit mix to make, no waiting for yeast to rise...Simply take each biscuit and cut it in half. Boom! That's it!

Now if you're a little bit of a perfectionist, then you can always go ahead and round out each edge of the biscuits. It does make a pretty ball, but really isn't necessary.

Then I just drop each piece into the little baggie of sugar & spices and toss them around. 

You know, this part is actually pretty fun...the kids can help you too without a disastrous mess flying across the kitchen counter and floor.

Take a moment to coat the baking pan with cooking spray. (we do NOT want all of our efforts to go to waste) And then start lining up each beautifully sugar & spiced biscuit ball in the baking pan.

Now here is where you start adding little bits of this case raisins. As each layer is laid down, drop in a few raisins...

Perhaps a few walnuts (or pecans)....

At this point everything is looking so good...if I didn't know better, I'd grab one of those little biscuit balls and eat it!

Don't give in.

Don't do it...


I just remind myself that patience is my friend. And then continue to add sugared biscuit balls and the "extras" as I go along.

But in a medium sized baking pan, 2 levels of these little sugared balls is just not enough...

So I grab another roll of biscuits and start cutting and dredging them in the sugar spiced mixture again. It's so worth it.

After finishing off the final roll and adding in more extras, this little monkey bread is ready for the final step...

The sugar glaze! Start with brown sugar and then add in the remaining sugar & spice mixture that was used to coat the biscuit balls.

I then cube my butter....I love using my Pyrex measuring cup in the 30-50 seconds, cold butter can be melted down to perfection.

A little stir and into the sugar bowl it goes! Stir in the butter and allow some of the sugar to dissipate (only about 2 minutes).

Once the butter and sugar are mixed, you have this wonderful smelling glaze that is ready to go all over the top of the monkey bread.

Alright, here we have our baking pan of bliss....full of monkey bread and sugar glaze.


It may look like too much glaze, but oh me. This is the perfect amount.

Into my preheated oven it goes at 350°F for 28-32 minutes. And now we wait...and wait....oh yeah, I couldget some vaccuming done, or perhaps some laundry....


Oh timer of joy, how I love thee right now.

There is a wave of giddiness that sweeps over me at this moment.

Just look at this golden brown crusty goodness! And OH THE SMELL! That aroma that just teases you because you can't dig in right away...again, patience.

After 10 minutes (which seem like an eternity), invert the baking pan on a large dish or serving platter. Give it a slight jiggle...and the monkey bread should slide right out.

This is when you are rewarded with the sight of that beautiful glaze dripping down the sides.

Time to get sticky! Don't hold back, just jump in there and grab a few pieces. (I like to go after the ones on the bottom...they have a wonderful crunchiness from being exposed in the oven)


Then after about 3-4 minutes, this is the sight that you will see....monkey bread disappearing rapidly. ENJOY!

***If you do not have a bundt pan, a muffin/cupcake pan can be used instead!  This also allows for easy portion control. BUT cut the biscuits into quarters so that you can arrange approx. 6-8 pieces in each hole.  This also takes about half the cook time!! Adjust the cook time to 11-14 minutes, depending on your oven.***   

Spiced Monkey Bread

Preheat oven to 350°F
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 28-32 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes

3 -4 rolls of Pillsbury Biscuits, Original
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg, ground or freshly gated
1/4 tsp. Cloves, ground
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Raisins or Dried Cranberries (optional)
1 cup Walnuts or Pecans, chopped (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Prepare baking dish or Bunt pan with shortening or cooking spray.
***If you do not have a bundt pan, a muffin/cupcake pan can be used instead!  BUT cut the biscuits into quarters so that you can arrange approx. 6-8 pieces in each hole.  This also takes about half the cook time!! Adjust the cook time to 11-14 minutes, depending on your oven.***     

3) In a plastic baggie, quart sized or larger, combine granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

4) Take biscuits and cut each in half.

5) Depending on the size of the baking pan, up to 4 tubes of biscuits may be required.

6) Place biscuits, several at a time, into the baggie and coat in the sugar & spice mixture.

7) Start by placing sugared biscuits into the baking pan in a single layer.

8) Sprinkle raisins and nuts between and on top of biscuits. Repeat process with remaining biscuits.

9) In a medium mixing bowl combine brown sugar and sugar-spice mixture.

10) In a microwave bowl or cup, melt butter for 30-50 seconds on high.

11) Pour butter into the bowl of sugars. Mix until well incorporated.

12) Pour butter & sugar mixture over the top of the biscuits, covering the top layer completely.

13) Place in oven and bake for 28-32 minutes. When done baking, the top layer should be browned and have a crispy topping.

14) Remove from oven and let monkey bread cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes.

15) Invert the pan onto a large plate or serving dish and allow to cool an additional 10 minutes.

Serve by pulling apart individual biscuits. ENJOY!

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