The moment you slowly remove the bundt pan from this bread. Its like watching a child open a birthday present, in small motion and to find that it was exactly what they had hoped and wished for.
This was my experience unravelling the monkey bread. I had searched high and low for the recipe that reflected the image in my head of how this was all going to turn out, but nothing met my credentials. So I took a few ideas from here and there and put together a recipe which tastes so good! I wish you could hear me say this out loud…it is unbelievably good, the whole process of making this bread really therapeutic, I don’t know why. The process and ingredients are very similar to that of Brioche, so I felt a lot more confident putting it together. Not all monkey breads require eggs, but I wanted to the rich texture of the brioche in this one and it paid off so well.
A couple of tips: be generous with the caramel. If you find you need to make more, do so. Secondly don’t fill the bundt pan to the brim with these dough balls. Remember the dough still have to prove after you have formed it in the pan, I found during that time the mixture expanded so much that when it reached the oven, some of the balls dropped off like cinnamon golf balls! Pleasant to my quick fingers…not so good a look when your bread has holes in it!
This bread is made for sharing and makes sharing fun. I’ll let you know how my colleagues at work get on with this one tomorrow!
Pecan Caramel Monkey Bread
For the Dough
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (room temperature)
1-1/4 cups warm 2% milk (room temperature)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups Canadian Strong Bread Flour
For the Caramel
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp almond essence
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
For the Dough Balls
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
The night before
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat on the medium speed (with a dough hook) for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.
Keep ‘kneading’ in the food mixer until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Or turn the mixture on to a floured surface and knead by hand for the same amount of time.
Place in a greased bowl or container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day
The next day, take the dough of the fridge and leave it for 1 hour to get to room temperature.
For the caramel, in a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and cream to a boil. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Pour half into the bundt pan; sprinkle with half of the pecans.
Punch the dough down and cut it into long strips, then cut it again into 2″ squares. Shape each square into 40 -50 balls
Then take two bowls: in one combine white sugar and cinnamon in another melted butter. Dip the dough balls in butter, then roll in sugar mixture.
Place balls in the pan one by one; top with remaining caramel and pecans, only fill to 3/4 of the pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool for 10 minutes before turning it into a serving plate. Serve warm.