All December long, we're bringing you the recipes, tips and tricks you need to Feast your way through the holidays, no matter how you celebrate the season.
Nothing beats waking up on Christmas morning to the sight of presents under the tree and a big Bundt pan of monkey bread baking in the oven. But this year, we're not cooking just any kind of monkey bread, we're whipping up a boozy maple-bourbon version for an adult twist on a childhood favorite.
For the uninitiated, monkey bread is a soft pull-apart bread made up of balls of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked in a Bundt pan. After inverting the bread once baked, you are left with a Bundt of pillowy dough pieces covered in crunchy caramel on the outside and soft caramel on the inside. It’s one of the cornerstone baked goods of our childhood, spent popping open cans of crescent roll dough with family year after year.
This time around, we're starting from scratch. That’s right, a yeasted homemade dough makes all the difference in this recipe. But the true showstopper is the maple-bourbon caramel layered throughout and then drizzled on top. It’s the perfect hair-of-the-dog breakfast to help take the edge off after too many glasses of spiked eggnog.
Things are going to get dirty rolling the dough out before getting dunked into butter and dropped in cinnamon sugar. You can and should recruit friends or family members to help with assembly.
The good thing about yeast doughs is that you can proof on your time schedule. If you’re a morning person, follow the recipe as is. However, you could also make the dough the night before and let it proof in the refrigerator overnight. This way, you can roll out of bed and straight into assembly mode.
This dish is the perfect treat to add a little extra holiday spirit to the season and give you the sugar rush needed to fuel a marathon present-opening session.
Bourbon-Maple Monkey BreadRecipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus proofing and cooling time
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus proofing and cooling time
For the Caramel:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
For the Dough:
¼ ounce (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1¼ cups whole milk, heated to 115º
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
4½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
1. Make the caramel: In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream, maple syrup and salt, then cook until bubbling vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon, then let cool completely.
2. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the yeast with the milk and maple syrup. Let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Stir in the salt, eggs and butter until incorporated. Add the flour, then mix until a smooth dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350º.
3. Assemble the monkey bread: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon to incorporate. Rip off 1 tablespoon-sized piece of dough at a time and roll into a ball. Dip each ball of dough into the melted butter followed by the cinnamon sugar. Layer the coated balls of dough in a greased Bundt pan.
4. As soon as you have covered the bottom of the Bundt pan, drizzle ½ cup of the caramel over the dough. Repeat this process 2 more times, making sure you have used up all of the balls of dough and have ¼ cup of caramel left.
5. Bake until the monkey bread has risen and the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk all of the glaze ingredients until smooth.
7. Invert the monkey bread onto a plate. Drizzle with the remaining caramel and the bourbon glaze, then serve.
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