Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Bites

February 5, 2014

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.

Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Bites

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?

Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Bites

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.

Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Bites
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 12

  • 1 ½ cups warm water (not hot to the touch)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast, typically 2 packages
  • 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

  1. 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)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt.
  3. 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.
  4. Using the hook on a low setting or kneading by hand, knead for 5 minutes. I typically split the time between hand and hook.
  5. 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.
  6. Flatten the remaining dough slightly and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spritz a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  8. Cut the dough into pieces and roll into ropes, about 1½ inches in diameter. Cut into squares.
  9. In a bowl, combine milk, melted butter, and maple syrup. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  10. 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).
  11. Cover and let rise an additional 20 – 30 minutes.
  12. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes.
  13. Serve as is or with icing.

These freeze well, see last paragraph of text for instructions.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 mufin Calories: 90 Fat: 1 Carbohydrates: 18 Fiber: 2 Protein: 2


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    Fitcupcaker Feb 17, 2014

    wow, I want to make these right now! They look great. Of course you cannot substitute, you have to go with the real thing here!

    Erin @ Texanerin Baking Feb 15, 2014

    Ooh, monkey brain bread! Your mother got out of monkey bread easily. 😉

    This looks amazing! I love that you can freeze it.

    Danielle @ TheCharmItSpot Feb 06, 2014

    These look delectable!! I really want to try this. Thanks, they look so good I bookmarked the page!

    The Domestic Rebel Feb 06, 2014

    I’m so glad this is healthy because I have every intent of inhaling each and every one of those monkey bread muffins before you can even utter “whole wheat.”

    Erin | The Law Student's Wife Feb 05, 2014

    Too funny about Indiana Jones! I wonder if I pull that same stunt on my future kids with candy if they’ll be believe me….

      Kelly Feb 06, 2014

      Erin, I bet you could find some sort of movie to back you up! Long after I knew they weren’t actual monkey brains, I still wouldnt eat it because of the creepy childhood memory. Guess it’s a good way to trick your kids into not eating junk food (or into leaving the junk food alone so you can eat it, ha).

    fittingintovegan Feb 05, 2014

    Yum, I made the same thing but paired it with homemade jam. Sooo good!

    cheri Feb 05, 2014

    Never heard of monkey bread before, but it sure does look good. Will be making soon.!

    Mercedes Feb 05, 2014

    I have never heard of monkey b read before so it is definitely a new one for me. Looks like something I should be trying soon

    cookingactress Feb 05, 2014

    I’ve needed a homemade monkey bread recipe and I think this is just the one!!!

    Em @ Love A Latte Feb 05, 2014

    I’m not sure I’ve ever had monkey bread but it looks fantastic!

    Joanne Feb 05, 2014

    I didn’t encounter monkey bread for the first time until medical school! Tragic. And now I’d like to make up for lost time. By eating all of these.