Recently, I sent this picture out to my colleagues with the email titled, “Monkey Bread and Shenanigans in the Kitchen!” Undoubtedly, soon after that email went out, shenanigans ensued.
Whenever it is that I need to prepare a dessert at a moment’s notice, this is the dessert I turn to most often. It requires just a few ingredients and it comes together in a snap. —And best of all, everyone goes crazy over it! When I make this for the team at work, it brings out the inner child in everyone as they pull apart chunks of cinnamon and sugar dusted pastry drenched in creamy caramel. Although, quite often before even a single bite is taken, just the mere mention of Monkey Bread around the office will be enough to arouse a buzz of feverish excitement. A few of my colleagues at Omni:us have even joked that I’ve casted some sort of sorcery as they lick the buttery bits of cinnamon and caramel from their fingers. Which, I suppose, is partly true. —After all, when something is so irresistibly delicious and yet so simple to make, it almost has to be magic.
Easy Monkey Bread & Dulce de Leche Sauce
You can bake this in a bundt pan, if you wish, but I most often make this in a cake pan lined with parchment. It makes clean up a breeze. Just be sure to grease your pan liberally if you're not using parchment.
3 tubes buttermilk biscuits (or Sonntagsbrötchen in Germany), each with 6-8 biscuits
1 cup brown or white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
4 ounces melted butter (120 grams) optional
13 ounce can dulce de leche or other caramel sauce (380 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces milk or heavy cream (125 ml)
½ cup toasted pecan halves, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 400° F/ 200° C with the fan on.
Crumple the parchment paper into a tight ball and unravel it. The reason for doing this is to make the parchment less stiff and rigid as the wrinkles and creases help the parchment easily take the shape of the pan.
Next, fit the parchment into the pan. There will likely be some overlap, which you can cut off, if you wish. Though, I often don’t. However, you need to take caution that the parchment doesn’t touch the heating element in the oven as it bakes.
Then, remove the dough from the vacuum sealed tubes and cut each biscuit into four wedges.
Next, if you’re using butter, dip each piece of dough in the butter. Afterwards, dip each piece into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, covering all sides. Then, dip each butter-coated piece of dough into the cinnamon sugar.
Then, arrange all the pieces of dough at the bottom of the parchment lined pan. You don’t need to crowd the bottom of the pan with dough as they will expand upon baking. Continue layering the dough until all of the pieces are covered in the sugar mixture and in the pan.
Bake the pan in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the caramel.
To prepare the caramel, place the Dulce de Leche, milk and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Warm the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and making sure there are no lumps of caramel in the sauce.
Once the dough is baked through, allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan.
After 5 minutes, lift the parchment along with the bread onto a cake plate. Spread the parchment open revealing the sides of the bread. Pour over the warmed caramel sauce, holding some of it back for dipping.
Sprinkle on the nuts, if you’re using them, and serve warm.
This is best served warm and goes great with ice cream and coffee.