True story: this is both the first time I’ve made and the first time I’ve eaten monkey bread. When I was really young, my mom told me it was monkey brain bread. We had just watched Indiana Jones and so I had a pretty vivid image in my head that has stuck with me for a ridiculously long time. Yup. 25 year old (probably 2 decades later) and I tried monkey bread for the first time. It’s extra heartbreaking, because it’s delicious.
I’ve been holding on to the recipe for a few weeks. I made it the same weekend as my apple pie cinnamon rolls. The cinnamon roll recipe makes twice the dough that you really need, so you can make twice the treats, bonus! Rather than having cinnamon rolls for days, I decided to conquer my fear of monkey brains and make some monkey brain bites, and I’m so glad I did. The tiny amount of butter in these still imparts a delicious buttery flavor throughout, and who doesn’t love cinnamon and sugar?
If you don’t want to eat a pile of baked goods, these freeze wonderfully. Just leave them in the muffin tin, freezer for 30 – 60 minutes, then pop out and put in a freezer bag. Easy peasy, breakfast for a week! I microwaved mine for 30 seconds then ate. If you’re feeling fancy, you can make some sort of glaze for these, but they really don’t need it.
2 tsp granulated sugar (honey or agave okay, no “sugar free” substitutions)
3 c + 3 tbsp white whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
5 tbsp. milk of choice
1 tbsp. melted butter or margarine, melted
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
5 tbsp. white sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
Mix warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 5 minutes until foamy (if it doesn’t get foamy, your yeast was dead or your water was too hot)
In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt.
Using a stand mixer with a dough hook (or a lot of elbow grease!) slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour and stir until it forms a ball. Add additional 3 tbsp water one tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to incorporate any flour remaining in the bottom of the bowl. You may need to knead by hand.
Using the hook on a low setting or kneading by hand, knead for 5 minutes. I typically split the time between hand and hook.
Cut the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic and place in either the refrigerator or freezer– use this for cinnamon rolls later or another batch of monkey bites.
Flatten the remaining dough slightly and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spritz a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
Cut the dough into pieces and roll into ropes, about 1½ inches in diameter. Cut into squares.
In a bowl, combine milk, melted butter, and maple syrup. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
Dip each piece of dough in milk and then sugar mixture. Split the dough pieces between the muffin wells (I had about 5 in each).
Cover and let rise an additional 20 – 30 minutes.
Bake for 12 – 14 minutes.
Serve as is or with icing.
These freeze well, see last paragraph of text for instructions.