Monkey bread. Also known as puzzle bread, bubble bread, sticky bread, monkey balls, and monkey brains (eeew). Why? No one really knows although theories abound. It looks like the monkey puzzle tree? Monkeys like to play with stuff? It is bubbly and sticky, it's definitely made up of balls, and if you really stretch it could resemble a brain (again, eeew). But basically, your guess is as good as mine because no one knows for sure.
Whatever you call it, a monkey bread is definitely a good thing to have in your repertoire. It's easy, quote workable, fairly quick and very versatile. You want sweet? You got it. Savory? Got that too. Stuffed with all sorts of good things? Indeed. Rolled in all manner of toppings? You bet. But for reasons unknown, I've never baked one of these yeasty marvels before. Silly, silly monkey. This month's BreadBakers theme—stuffed breads, hosted by Jenni over at Pastry Chef Online—was the perfect opportunity for me to correct this egregious oversight. Thanks, Jenni!
My first inclination is always to take the savory route with anything, but I went for sweet this time around. And not only sweet but REALLY sweet, with caramel (I like) and chocolate (meh). Okay, it's not that I don't like chocolate. Indifference is probably a better word. But let's face it, I'm most definitely in the minority (couple that with my lifelong hatred of nuts and peanut butter and…well, I'm firmly in the Weird Girl corner). But chocolate is a crowd pleaser and when I bake, I aim to please.
I actually didn't even get to taste my test bread because of this two-week everything-free cleanse thing I was doing, but this baby got VERY high marks from the Official Shaggy Dough Taste Testing Team and both the test bread and the leftovers from the for-real bake disappeared in record time. So while I will tell you it was merely okay—I did eat the second bread (and I'll admit I went back for more)—my crew will tell you that it was REALLY good. Excellent even. Fabulous. Listen to them. Trust them. Even if they can't be left alone to eat the bread properly without instructions (Me, with great indignation: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? YOU DON'T CUT IT! YOU PULL IT! PUT THAT KNIFE DOWN!"), their ability to discern a stellar bread is never in question.
One word of warning: This bread is loaded with all kinds of good stuff that's bad for you. Butter. More butter. Chocolate. Butter. Caramel. Heavy cream. Did I mention butter? If you're worried about calories, just forget you ever heard of this bread and run away. Run fast and run far. Or eat in anyway and run later to burn off the calories. A good 1000 miles should do it.
chocolate caramel stuffed monkey bread
Vanilla Yeast Dough
- 170g (3/4 cup) lukewarm milk
- 57g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 7g (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 50g (1/4 cup) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 361g (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
Filling and Topping
- 40 chocolate covered caramel candies (like Hershey's)
- 57g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 28g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
- 227g (2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2–4 Tbsp heavy cream
- Add all of the dough ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and knead at medium speed for about 5 minutes, until you have a soft, smooth dough.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or container, cover and set aside for about 1 hour, until the dough is very puffy.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, gently deflate, then pat the dough into an 8x10 rectangle. Cut four strips lengthwise, and then cut each strip into 10 equal (or thereabouts) pieces. A pizza cutter works great for this.
- Slightly flatten each piece, place a candy (or bits and chips, see Notes) in the middle, and wrap the dough around to form a ball. Place each ball into a greased bundt pan (10 cup preferred). Repeat with all the dough pieces.
- Pour the butter/vanilla topping over the dough balls, cover and set aside to rise again until puffy, about 30 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. When ready, uncover the dough and bake the bread for about 20–30 minutes until golden brown.
- Turn the bread out onto a serving platter and let cool for about 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze by whisking all the ingredients together until smooth. Add more cream if needed to make a pourable consistency.
- Pour the glaze over the bread. Best served warm.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
This called for a 10-cup bundt pan, which of course, isn't easy to find as most places carry a 12-cup pan. This is what I had. It works fine but obviously, the dough balls don't fill the larger pan as much as they would in the small one. Of course, I had to go buy a smaller pan anyway—after the fact—because I'm an obsessive neurot with less sense than money (and I don't have much of that either).
The original recipe calls for 71–113g each of chocolate chips and caramel bits to fill the dough balls. I had both but I also had a bag of the Hershey's Kisses that I bought for something I can't remember so I used those instead. I thought it would be easier than futzing with bits and chips and then realized I had to unwrap all those candies. So much for being lazy.
Both times I made this, I forgot to sift the confectioners sugar. No one complained.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stuffed Breads from the Bread Bakers
- Cinnamon Roll Quickbread from Laura at Baking in Pyjamas
- Cream Pan - Japanese Custard Filled Buns from Shireen at Ruchik Randhap
- Figgy Olive Oil and Sesame Challah from Sarah at What Smells So Good?
- Jam filled Danish Pastries from Holly at A Baker's House
- No-Knead Apricot Sweet Rolls from Renee at Magnolia Days
- Baked Peas Kachori from Shilpi at SimplyVeggies
- Cauliflower, Paneer & Peas Stromboli from Priya at I Camp in my Kitchen
- Cheesy Bacon Stuffed Pretzel Buns from Allison at The PinterTest Kitchen
- Cheesy Pizza Wheels from Tara at Noshing with the Nolands
- Chicken Stuffed Casserole Bread from Vimala at Cooking Club
- Cuban Sandwich-Stuffed Cuban Bread from Jenni at Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online
- Gruyère Stuffed Crusty Loaves from Adam at Bakers and Best
- Jalapeno Cheddar Stuffed Pretzel Rolls from Heather at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
- Jamaican Meat Loaf from Kelly of Passion Kneaded
- Prosciutto, Salami and Mozzarella Stromboli from Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Russian Pirozhki from Mireille at Chef Mireille's East West Realm
- Sri Lankan Seeni Sambol Buns from Pavani at Cook's Hideout
- Stuffed Bazlama- Turkish Breadfrom Sneha atSneha's Recipe
- Stuffed Black Garlic Monkey Bread from Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Stuffed Pretzel Bites from Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Tiganopsomo - Feta-Stuffed Fried Bread from Stacy at Food Lust People Love
- Zucchini and Goat Cheese Stuffed Bread from Aisha at La cocina de Aisha