Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Afternoon on the Amazon" Monkey Bread & Hot Caramel

One of my and our grandson's favorite children's series in literature is the "Magic Treehouse" books by Mary Pope Osborne.   We enjoy reading about the adventures of Jack and Annie (brother and sister) from Frog Creek woods in Pennsylvania who travel through time learning about different cultures and times in history.  Today, via SKYPE I read to him, Afternoon on the Amazon and traveled to the rain forest.
Although these young adventurers run from army ants, crocodiles, snakes, piranhas, jaguars, and vampire bats, there is a monkey who helps them find their way safely and get back to the treehouse and give them the treasure they are searching for.  It's the monkey that inspired my baking today to bake Monkey Bread.

Monkey Bread is known by many names--Bubble loaf, Pull-a-part bread, Pinch Me or Pluck Me Cake, Golden Crown, and many more. Whatever you call it, the bread is usually a yeast bread that has been divided into balls, dunked in melted butter and rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.  In the United States, where it originated,  this gooey treat is served at breakfast, but also found at fairs and theme parks.  It first appeared in a woman's magazine in the 1950s and is usually served hot from the oven so the individual can pull out the section of dough.

Monkey Bread
1/2 cup milk
4 T unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 T granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
Scant 1T of active dry yeast (equivalent of 1 pkg.)
3 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour.
1/2 cup (+ more if needed) water

8 T unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 T cinnamon

In a glass 2-cup measure, heat the milk and 4T of butter together in the microwave (about 40 seconds).  Meanwhile, in a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the egg, sugar and salt together.  While the mixer is running on low, add the milk/butter mixture, then, sprinkle the dry yeast over the liquid and mix thoroughly.  Allow to rest about 5 to 7 minutes until the yeast looks foamy. 

Change to the dough hook attachment and add 2 cups of flour and the 1/2 cup of water.  Mix together, adding the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour.  If needed add more water so the dough comes together.  Transfer the dough to a wooden board to knead smooth.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large glass bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds; use a pastry brush to coat the sides of the bowl.
 Place the dough, face down into the bowl, then turn it right-side-up.  Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl tightly.
Allow to rise about 1 1/2 hours (this depends on the temperature of your kitchen) or until double.  To test, push your finger into the dough; if the indentation remains, the dough is ready.
Have your melted butter and sugar~cinnamon mixture near by.  Brush a "monkey bread" pan with melted butter. [You can also use a bundt pan--it should have a center "stem"].
Divide dough into pieces and roll into 1 1/2-inch balls.  Dip into the butter, then roll in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Place the balls in the prepared pan.
You can sprinkle any remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture over the balls.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise another 30-40 minutes, or until double.  Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before you turn the pan upside down on a serving platter.

Meanwhile, if you would like to pour some caramel over the bread and accompany it with some Hot Caramel, make my Homemade Caramel
I drizzled about 4 tablespoons over the top of the bread while warm.  Also, as a change up to a cup of Hot Chocolate, I made Hot Caramel.

1 1/2 cups of milk
2 heaping tablespoons of homemade caramel

Whisk the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Pour into a mug and serve with a couple of "Monkey Brains!"
A guaranteed treat for a cold afternoon with your children or grandchildren.  I just wish my special guy was here to share this snack with me. Enjoy!


  1. Oh my! I haven't thought about this kind of bread in such a long time! There was a mother of one of the girls in my Girl Scout troop that would bring monkey bread for troop snack time ... we would all enjoy it so much!

    1. That's when I started making it too...when I was a girl scout.

  2. Wow y our Monkey Bread is beautiful!! Everything looks so delicious.

    1. I would highly recommend the Hot Caramel--it was amazing...if I do say so!

  3. What a wonderful way to spend time with your grandson. I wish mine were on Skype! Love the monkey bread too! My husband loves cinnamon rolls. I should try this recipe sometime for him. It's very similar except I think I use more cinnamon. Hugs!

    1. We actually had enough time to read two books and I love every minute. Reading to your children or grandchildren is golden!

  4. wow Susan, this is droolworthy and your baking pan is so cool!

    1. Trust me, that sums it up perfectly!

  5. Oh my Monkey brains! this sounds so good! not sure could make it because I don't have all the paddles or anything to a standing machine. just have simple hand held mixer that I'm sure would ball up to a complete mess.
    stamping sue

    1. You can always make it by hand in a big bowl; it's how I made bread for almost 20 years before I had my first KitchenAid!

  6. Since I love cinnamon, this is one of my favorites. I'll have to make this for Tiger soon. Oh and I love that you read to your Grand on skype!! Hugs, LInda

  7. Susan....may I please have a piece of that wonderful monkey bread? I am going to check out this book for my grandson...looks fun!

  8. O son loved those books when he was younger.I'm a new follower and look forward to reading more posts and getting to know you.Have a great day. Hugs lil raggedy Angie

  9. Your monkey bread looks divine Susan! How wonderful that you read to your grand by skype! Reading is one of the most important things we can do for our children and grandchildren. My grands have a basket full of books in our guest room that they love to read and have read to them on visits. xoxo ♥

  10. I hadn't heard of that book, but it sounds like a great children's book! And monkey bread is such a treat–yours looks yummy!

  11. Oh my goodness, that looks amazing!!