It was my birthday yesterday. The night before, I planned to make Monkey Bread for breakfast, my favorite. But, Dr. B had other plans. "If you can get yourself up and dressed, I will take you all for breakfast before work." It's a his-family tradition. Though I'm not one for clothing before coffee, I love these special treats, so we went for it. French toast with fresh strawberries and no dirty dishes? Yeah, I'll take it.
But I still made the bread. We had it for dessert. I'd rather this than cake any day.
If you google "Monkey Bread", you'll find a million recipes, all pretty much the same. This isn't any different either, but I thought I'd share for those of you who haven't had it before (Hi Lisa!) I don't think it's necessarily a Midwestern thing--but I remember having it for the first time at my Aunt Carol's in Racine, WI, and the fact that my mom wouldn't make it. (I think she was afraid I'd eat the entire thing every time. Which I probably would have.) Basically, it's a cake made of caramel rolls. AWESOME caramel rolls, and it's super easy. Lots of people make it for Christmas morning. I make it whenever I've got a hankering for it. It's too good to save for special. It's called monkey bread because you sit around the plate and pick off bits to eat, and lick your fingers a lot. There are no bananas involved.
serves 18, 9, 3 or 1. Heh.
*18 frozen Rhodes bread rolls
(you can use a loaf of their bread dough, but waiting for it to thaw and cutting it in pieces is kind of a pain. This is way easier. Resist the urge to add more--there won't be enough caramel and the rolls will start creeping out of the pan like The Blob.)
*1 box NOT INSTANT butterscotch pudding mix
(the instant just turns the whole thing into a crusty, not caramelly mess. Don't do it.)
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*1 t. cinnamon
(if you're not allergic. I can't, but no one misses it. Dr. B doesn't really like cinnamon that much anyway, so it works out.)
*1/2 cup or so of chopped nuts, if desired
*1 stick butter, melted.
The night before, or at least 8 hours before (I have pushed this by warming my oven on low and letting it rise in there with the oven off), grease a Bundt or tube cake pan. Add the nuts, if using, and the frozen rolls. Mix the pudding mix, sugar and cinnamon together, and dump fairly evenly over the rolls. Drizzle the melted butter over the whole mess. Cover with a bit of greased foil or waxed paper or something like that. Set aside in a warm place to thaw and rise. (Overnight is ideal--do this just before you go to bed.)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Bake rolls about 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, and turn out onto a large plate with high sides to contain any caramel overload. Try not to burn your fingers and mouth grabbing hot rolls (waiting a few minutes would be preferable, but good luck with that. I never manage to.)
Variations: some people use canned biscuits if they don't have the overnight time to wait, others dip each roll in butter and then dredge in the powder, some people like to mix the butter with the powders and then dredge. I'm lazy, and it still works just fine. The whole mess melts down and makes caramel in the bottom of the pan, and when you turn it over, coats the bits it missed.
Thanks to Lori D. Stone (LDSNY) for allowing use of this photo under Creative Commons licensure. I ate too much of mine before I thought about getting my camera out.