I had eaten this only once, years ago on Christmas morning, and still remembered how good it was. So when I came across the recipe, it seemed obvious that I should try making it myself.
The first time was a disaster. I tried to make it in an angel food pan instead of a Bundt pan. I left the oven on when it was rising, so the sugar warmed, melted and leaked through the opening in the bottom of the pan. While it was baking, all the sugar that was now on the bottom of my oven caused so much smoke that I had to throw open my apartment window and was hanging out of it while coughing and gasping for fresh air. I’m sure it was a confusing sight for anyone walking down 9th Avenue. While the monkey bread still tasted delicious it took a week before my oven functioned normally again. Hopefully you won’t have to deal with all that.
I’ll admit that this is a time consuming recipe. It involves a lot of waiting for dough to rise…twice. But the pay off is delightful. The brown sugar creates this ooey gooey coating around each puffy bit of dough. The icing tops it off perfectly but it would still be just as good without it. The pecans add a crunchy texture to all the light, puffy dough.
It’s an added bonus that this recipe is really easy to make vegan. Just substitute Earth Balance for the butter and soy milk for the dairy and it works perfectly.
pecan monkey bread
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) instant rapid rise yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Combine the milk, water, butter, and sugar in a microwave-safe container and heat to 110 degrees (slightly warmer than lukewarm). Stir in the yeast until dissolved. Combine the salt and flour in a mixer with a dough hook until well mixed. While mixing, slowly add the milk mixture to the bowl. Mix for 5 minutes until the dough forms a smooth, slightly shiny ball. Add 2-4 tablespoons of flour, one at a time, if the dough is too loose. Transfer the dough to a greased metal bowl, spray a thin coat of oil on the dough, and cover it with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and make sure the rack is placed in the lower-middle half. As soon as the oven is preheated turn it off and place the covered bowl in the oven for 50 minutes or until it doubles in size.
While it’s rising, melt the butter for the coating in one bowl and mix the sugar and cinnamon in another. After the dough has risen, roll it onto a floured surface into a roughly 8″ x 8″ shape. Using a kitchen knife or scissors (scissors are much easier for me), cut the dough into 64 pieces. It’s easiest to cut the original shape into strips or 4 smaller squares and work from there. Take each of the pieces and roll it into a ball, dip it into the melted butter and roll it into the cinnamon sugar mixture until well coated. Place each ball into a greased bundt pan and sprinkle the pecans in between the layers of dough. When all of the dough has been coated cover the bundt pan with a towel, preheat and turn off the oven again, and let it rise for another 50 minutes. The balls of dough will rise and almost fill the pan. Remove the bundt pan from the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes until browned and the sugar is bubbling around the edges. Cool for 2-3 minutes and flip over onto a large plate. Let the bread cool for 5 more minutes before drizzling the glaze over it. For the glaze, whisk together the ingredients until lumps are gone and spoon over the top of the bread. Serve warm and pull it apart.