First things first…some of you might be wondering, ‘What the heck is Monkey Bread?’ Monkey bread (aka pull-apart bread, bubble loaf and bubble bread) descends from traditional sweet, yeast rolls with centuries of history. Food historians tell us the first people to make sweet, buttery rolls with cinnamon were ancient Middle Eastern cooks. These recipes and spices traveled to Europe in the Middle Ages with crusaders, travelers, traders and explorers and though recipes varied according to culture and cuisine, the concept remained stable. German kuchen, French galette, Pennsylvania Dutch sticky buns and monkey bread all descended from these old recipes. I had to chuckle a bit when discovering this history; the new fad of claiming and owning recipes would never fly with this bread would it? Still I decided to mix it up and bit and thought what better this time of year than Caramel Apple Monkey Bread?
It’s still a mystery as to who coined the name Monkey Bread and while there are several guesses, the most promising one is simply that the eating of this bread, which often involves picking off pieces to nosh on it, resembles the way monkeys eat. Who knows…maybe it was a zoologist who came up with this moniker?
I first tried my hand at this recipe when my children were young and by that time a simplified version had emerged using canned biscuits. While I most often make everything from scratch this is one of a couple of tried and true dishes where I keep the tradition that is original to me. Having a couple of quick and easy baked dishes up my sleeve has served me well over the years as I am often the first to raise my hand to bring something and also the first to run out of time and wonder what I was thinking…enter Monkey Bread!
I’ve been thinking of a couple of fun derivations where I stray a bit from the original recipe of butter dipped dough balls that are then rolled in cinnamon and sugar and this is one of them. I LOVE everything Caramel and Apple; in fact I’m happy to bypass the whole Pumpkinville Extravaganza that is so prevalent this time of year and venture I’ll do a Caramel Apple Palooza instead…SO much more my forte! I was very tempted to add a bite of booze to this recipe but I stuck to my original intent…mostly because the booze is coming in my next go around. Something for everyone!
I actually made this recipe twice for this post. It’s sort of ironic that Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen asked a question in a food blogger Facebook group the day, just as I was making this, about the time we invest in each post. While many claimed to test their recipes at least 3 times I was not in that group. I make food for family and friends; if it turns out great I post it. If not I don’t but I don’t try and try again. Except with this. I made it, I took the photo below and a couple more and I even had some neighbors over to help me eat it. They enjoyed it but I was just not crazy happy with the end result and just had to do it again. I thought it a bit doughy and boy oh boy did I make a mess. I wanted the top flat so I could add some sauteed apples so I used an Angel Food Cake pan. BIG mistake. I mean HUGE! No matter my precautions, the caramel that is poured over the biscuits and apples still managed to seep out onto the baking sheet I had it on.
I also started baking it in my smaller oven and soon realized I needed to move it to the larger oven and I don’t think it liked that transition. Between the move and removing it a couple of times to collect all of the syrup that was running out I think it had a bit of a hissy fit. Biggest lesson learned. Angel Food Cake Pan is a #Fail for this recipe. Don’t do it; trust me. Anxious for better results I found my plain and simple basic Bundt pan and it was perfect. Whew!! I couldn’t put my apples on top but added some pecans because I LOVE caramel apples with pecans and it was SO much more what I had hoped for. I might not redo often but I’m glad I did it this time because I want to share what I love, not just what I like. 🙂
Great fun treat for a Halloween party and just as perfect for Sunday brunch. Think it’s time for your own #CaramelApplePalooza? Join me, you won’t regret it.
Caramel Apple Monkey Bread
1 hr 5 mins
- 1 Tbsp Butter, melted
For the Caramel Apple Sauce
- 2 cups (2-3 apples, cored and chopped into medium size pieces. I used Gala and Honey Crisp)
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup Half and Half
For the Bread
- 2 cans of Grands Buttermilk biscuits
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- Pour the melted butter into a Bundt pan and with your fingers make sure to coat all surfaces.
To Make the Caramel Apple Sauce:
- Put the apple pieces in a medium pot with the brown sugar, butter and Half and Half and cook over medium heat until the butter has completely melted and the mixture begins to bubble. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
To Make the Bread:
- Open the biscuit tubes and cut each biscuit into 4 pieces each (I stacked 5 at a time and quartered them with a chef's knife).
- Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and add the cutup biscuit pieces (I did a third at a time). Toss just enough to coat the pieces with the sugar mixture.
- Put the chopped pecans in the bottom of the Bundt pan and pour 1/4 cup of the Caramel Apple sauce over the nuts.
- Fill the Bundt pan with 1/3 of the biscuit pieces; approximately 20 pieces. Pour 1/2 of the Caramel Apple syrup over the biscuits and scatter 1/2 of the apples on top.
- Fill with another 1/3 of the biscuits and repeat with the syrup and apples. Top with the remaining biscuit pieces.
- Cover the Bundt pan with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet with sides. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes (helps to insure the biscuits bake all the way through). Remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until nicely browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10-12 minutes. Carefully turn the bread out of the pan onto a large plate. Serve warm.