Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Caramel Monkey Bread

One of the things I remember from when I was younger and still living in foster care is Monkey Bread. Of course, it wasn't called that then, so I didn't really know what to look for when searching for a similar recipe... Nonetheless, I have pleasant memories of this stuff, and was most excited when I happened across a recipe when I wasn't even actually looking for it!
This recipe was in the latest Taste of Home cookbook, 2011 Taste of Home Annual Recipes, which I received in the mail as a free gift when a friend ordered a subscription for me as a Christmas present. (Thank you, Brooke!!) When I saw the picture and glanced at the recipe, I knew immediately that it was what I was looking for! Many of the recipes call for biscuit dough, but I'm a little biased and refuse to make that kind. Instead, I was looking for one that used bread dough as the base of the monkey bread. Which is what this is!
My foster mother never made her own bread, and I've not yet braved the undertaking, but the base of the recipe was what I wanted most. Like my foster mother, I prefer to use the shortcut method and purchased loaves of frozen bread dough, which are then thawed and pulled apart. This time, other than making my own bread dough, I followed the recipe (for the most part) and made the caramel sauce. I used walnuts in mine instead, since that is what I prefer, and increased the caramel to twice the amount, but I followed the method of it all exactly. Although it's very similar to what I had when I was younger, it still isn't exactly right so I'm going to play around with it a little more. Isn't it funny how we can be so adamant about the taste of something, simply because it's what our memories recall? But, this recipe is very good, in any case!

Printable Recipe

2 (1 lb.) loaves frozen bread dough

1⅓ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. butter, cubed
½ c. heavy whipping cream

¾ c. chopped walnuts
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup butter, melted

Thaw the frozen bread dough according to package directions.
For caramel, in a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and cream to a boil. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Pour half into a greased 10-in. fluted tube or Bundt cake pan; sprinkle with half of the walnuts.
Shape the dough into approximately 40 balls (about 1-1/4-in. diameter). In a shallow bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Place melted butter in another bowl. Dip balls in butter, then roll in sugar mixture.
Place half of the dough balls in the tube pan; top with remaining caramel and pecans. Top with remaining balls. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. (Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.) Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm. Yield: 1 loaf (20 servings).

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