Nathan and I were in Chicago for work recently and met friends for Sunday brunch while we were there. Chicagoans are serious about their brunch and the restaurant was super crowded…we had to wait awhile for our table even though we had a reservation. As a way of apologizing for the wait, the hostess brought us a little plate of monkey bread. So. Good. With monkey bread to tide us over they could have kept us waiting for another hour, at least. Monkey bread has all the components of cinnamon rolls but I would argue that it’s better. Because each ball is small there’s a higher ratio of gooey goodness to each bite and more surface area is covered by the luscious blend of cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and icing. Most recipes for monkey bread call for packaged biscuit dough…don’t do this! The process of making the dough from scratch is simple and easy…just make sure you start the night before. The next morning, all you have to do is let the bread come to room temperature and then pop it in the oven…worth it!
This is an awesome and affordable brunch wine that would pair well with almost any brunchy food or would be awesome with a mimosa. It’s fairly dry and crisp but also juicy and fruity with notes of apple and peach. The wine offered a light and fresh counterpoint to the rich monkey bread!
A porter or stout is definitely what this breakfast treat called for. The malt and hops were very well balanced with sweet caramel malts with just a hint of bitter hops complimented by flavors of coffee, chocolate, a chicory. The monkey bread was very sweet and rich with all the cinnamon, cugar, and butter so the rich flavors of the beer complimented the monkey bread while the relatively light body and hop/chicory flavors helped to wash down the meal and cleanse the palate.
Adapted from this recipe.
For the dough:
3 tablespoons butter, divided, 1 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt
For the brown sugar coating:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1. Butter a Bundt pan very well with the 1 tablespoon softened butter. Set aside.
2. In a large measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook (see below for instructions to make the dough by hand). Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If you think the dough is too wet, add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together (it should still be on the sticky side, just not overly wet). Coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly with the cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
3. For the sugar coating, while the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place the melted butter in a second bowl or shallow pie plate. Set aside.
4. To form the bread, gently remove the dough from the bowl and press it into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 64 pieces.
5. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl or pie plate. Roll the dipped dough ball in the brown sugar mixture, then layer the balls in the Bundt pan, staggering the seams where the dough balls meet as you build layers.
6. Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
7. The next morning, remove the monkey bread from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes (only 5 minutes!), then turn out on a platter or large plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
9. For the glaze, while the bread cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk together in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the warm monkey bread, letting it run over the top and sides of the bread. Serve warm.