Elevated Monkey Bread | March 30, 2017

Do you remember eating Monkey Bread? I do! It was one of the things I was allowed to make and bake as a kid. All you needed was the cans of pop open biscuits, butter, and cinnamon sugar. You would tear apart the raw biscuit dough, roll it up in little balls, roll them in melted butter, then roll them in cinnamon sugar. Voila – delicious!

Now that we are all a little more food savvy and our taste buds are more sophisticated, we can elevate this old favorite into a great breakfast, brunch side dish, or a movie night treat that will dazzle even the most discerning palate. The best part is that it’s still just as easy to make as it always was!

First, let’s change up the dough. Yeasted dough used for cinnamon rolls or doughnuts really change this from yummy to out-of-this-world! You can make yeasted dough from scratch but a really good and easy substitute is pizza dough. The fresh pizza dough sold at every grocery store in America now works just as well and doesn’t require the extra time to rise (not to mention the intimidation factor of making your own dough).

Second, let’s get fancy with the cinnamon sugar. Cinnamon sugar is delicious and timeless and if that’s what you want to use, go for it! BUT if you add a little nutmeg and cardamom, all of a sudden you have a more complex but still totally familiar flavor combination. Don’t let me limit you though – if you want to use a little pumpkin pie spice or add some Chinese 5-spice to make it your own, be my guest!

Third, add a little vanilla to your butter – OMG! This takes it to a whole new level! Again, make it your own. Add a dash of almond extract if that’s more your taste than vanilla. Throw in a few dried cranberries or golden raisins for a fun twist. Or use a vanilla or lemon glaze to jazz it up even further – the sky’s the limit! A good base provides you with a blank canvas for you own creativity.

Monkey bread is a perfect project for the little monkeys in your house as well. It is easy, low mess, and really gives them a sense of accomplishment. Because you are using the Tovolo Bench Scraper instead of a sharp knife to cut the dough, they can even help with that part. The Tovolo Bench Scraper has a ruler on the edge in case you have an aspiring engineer in your household, too.

As always, we would love to hear what you come up with and how you use your creativity in the kitchen. Have fun with this Monkey Bread recipe – it’s a jungle out there!


YIELDS 60 pieces  |  PREP TIME  30 minutes  |  PRINT PDF

  • 2 balls of fresh pizza dough (16 oz. each)
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • Combine melted butter and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • Combine sugar and spices in a bowl and set aside
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Generously butter a Bundt pan or tube pan (angel food cake pan). If you don’t have either, you can fake it using two 8” cake pans with a ramekin/cup/foil in the middle to make the “tube.”
  • Roll each dough out onto a Tovolo Silicone Baking Mat to be about 1/2 inch thick, then use a Tovolo Bench Scraper to cut the dough into about 30 little pieces. Do this for both doughs and then roll each of the ~60 pieces into a little ball.
  • Dip each ball into the melted butter/vanilla mixture and then into the sugar/spice mixture until coated. Place each ball into the prepared pan.
  • When all the dough has been added to the pan, pour the remaining butter over the dough balls and then sprinkle as much of the remaining sugar mixture as you like.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 – 45 minutes.
  • If the top layer of dough looks like it’s getting too brown, you can cover it with foil until it’s done baking.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes and then invert the pan onto a plate.
  • Wait about 15 more minutes before removing the inverted pan to allow all the buttery goodness that had settled on the bottom of the pan to seep its ways through the warm dough.
  • Enjoy!