Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Growing up, my Mother would make an old fashion Maple Nut Twist from her very own cookbook that was a maple-y cinnamon-y sticky yeasty sweet roll in the shape of a twist. It was nothing shy of fabulous. When I think of a yeast base sweet roll, that’s what I think of. Coming out of the oven, we just couldn’t wait to sink our teeth into this delicious breakfast treat.

The only downside was it took a while to make. So, I embarked on doing something that was easier, but had the same yeasty maple-y flavors. I decided on Monkey Bread. There are lots of different variations of monkey bread using different types of dough ranging from canned biscuits to homemade yeast dough. Well, I didn’t really want to go to the extreme of making my own yeast dough and went to the freezer section of the grocery store and bought a pack of the dough balls. They come in a bag, usually 36 dough balls about 1 1/4 inch in diameter. It’s just frozen dough that hasn’t risen or been pre-cooked. Perfect.

Back to my kitchen I went to make this Monkey Bread. I even ordered an angel food cake pan since it’s bigger with smooth sides and bottom plus I felt would do better than a Bundt style pan. I got one of those ‘special’ ones that you can lift out the center to make it easier to put on a cake plate. Well… Keep reading on down to get the rest of the story…

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Here’s how I make it.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Here are those frozen dough balls.  They are anywhere between 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter.  Set them out on a cutting board and let them thaw for about 30 minutes before cutting.  The idea is to thaw them on the outside, but still firm in the center so they slice easily.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

While those dough balls are thawing, toast the pecans.  Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.  When you can smell them, they’re done.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

In a gallon zip top bag, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

After about 30 minutes of thawing, the dough balls should cut easily.  With a sharp knife, cut them into quarters and put them into the gallon zip top bag containing the sugar and cinnamon.  Toss them around to coat each piece.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Ok, here I need to tell you what I used for baking the Monkey Bread in and what I recommend.

As I said earlier, I ordered an angel food cake pan for this Monkey Bread.  It is a two piece meaning the center comes out.  (see picture above)  I thought it would be ideal because the center tube is taller than the pan and I could just lift out the bread.  Well, two things happened.

One:  Even though the insert part of the cake pan sits down in a grove to prevent leaking of Angel Food batter, and even though the hot syrup did not leak when I poured it over the dough pieces… it did leak a bit while baking.  So, if you want to still use your two piece, just wrap the outside bottom with aluminum foil.  That will contain any of the syrup from getting into your oven.  Just for the sake of double protecting your oven, you can put the cake pan on a baking sheet too while baking.

Two:  Even though I was planning to pull up the center and set it on the cake plate, that didn’t work.  You really want to invert it so the sauce can pour over the top.  With this being a two piece, when I inverted it onto a cake plate that was deep enough to have room for the sauce, the insert piece wanted to fall out making the whole process a bit unstable.  Just use care so that the sauce doesn’t drip all over the counter.  Been there, done that.

So, while it is easier to use a one piece angel food cake pan, you can use a two piece with modifications and caution.  I have since then used one of my 10 cup bundt pans and it worked great too.  See the bundt pan I used in my Old Fashion Black Walnut Cake.  It worked perfectly and I found a bit easier just because it was a one piece.  I will say that the dough rose above the rim.  So, just be sure to use a clean damp towel because the dough will rise against the towel and I had to carefully peel the towel away from the dough.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Spread about 1/2 cup of the toasted pecans in the bottom of your 12 cup cake pan.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Then place 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar covered dough pieces on top of those pecans.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Spread another 1/2 cup of pecans on top of the dough pieces.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Then put the rest of the dough pieces on top of the pecans along with any cinnamon sugar left in the bag.  Top that with the rest of the pecans.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

In a large pot, melt the butter with the sugar and…

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

…the cream, plus the…

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

…maple flavor.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Pour this delicious sugary maple-y syrup over all of the dough pieces and pecans.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Looks good enough to eat already!  But not just yet, gotta let it rise first.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

So cover it with a damp towel and let stand in a warm place for 40-45 minutes until it has risen.

Here’s a tip:  If you’re in a hurry like I always seem to be, preheat your oven to about 180 degrees and TURN IT OFF.  Then put the covered cake pan into the warm oven and let rise about 30 minutes.  That’s how I did it last time and it worked perfectly.  Just saying…

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

It will look like this.  NOW it’s ready for the oven!  Put it in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

It will continue rising a bit while baking, then it’ll become toasty brown on top.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Let rest 5 minutes and carefully invert onto a cake plate deep enough to allow room for the caramel sauce to drip down.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

You can see the individual roll pieces covered in that sweet sugary maple sauce.  Many folks call this ‘pull apart’ bread because you can do just that!  Grab you a plate and start pulling!

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

It is so succulent and delicious with that second cup of coffee.

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

If you have any left over for the next day, just pop a serving in the microwave for 10 seconds and it will taste just like it came out of the oven.  Love it!!

What is your favorite breakfast bread/pastry?

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Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12-14 servings

Maple Nut Monkey Bread

Growing up, my Mother would make an old fashion Maple Nut Twist from her very own cookbook that was a maple-y cinnamon-y sticky yeasty sweet roll in the shape of a twist. It was nothing shy of fabulous. The only downside was it took a while to make. So, I embarked on doing something that was easier, but had the same yeasty maple-y flavors, hence this Maple Nut Monkey Bread..

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup pecan, whole or pieces or a mix
  • 20 frozen yeast dough balls, semi thawed and quartered. See note below.
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons maple extract or flavor

Instructions

  1. Set out 20 frozen yeast dough balls on a cutting board to thaw for 30 or so minutes. The key to easy cutting is allowing them to taw about half way yet they’re still firm in the center. Quarter each one.
  2. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 minutes to toast them.
  3. In a gallon zip top bag, mix together the white granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Add the quarter dough pieces to the zip top bag and coat each piece with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  5. Coat the 12 cup flat tube or bundt cake pan with either cooking spray or solid vegetable shortening to prevent sticking.
  6. In the bottom of the cake pan, put 1/2 cup of the toasted pecans. Next put 1/2 of the coated dough pieces on top of the pecans. Then top that with another 1/2 cup of pecan pieces followed by the rest of the coated dough pieces. Sprinkle any leftover cinnamon sugar mixture on top of all that along with the remaining pecan pieces.
  7. In a medium size pot over medium heat, add the light brown sugar to the melted butter and heavy cream.
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.
  9. Stir in the maple flavoring.
  10. Pour the hot brown sugar mixture over all of the dough pieces.
  11. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 45 minutes.
  12. Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
  13. Let rest 5 minutes and carefully invert onto a cake plate deep enough to allow room for the caramel sauce to drip down.
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