monkey bread

monkey bread instagram

Hey guys, remember this thing from my Christmas brunch?

Allow me to refresh your memory: it involves soft, pillowy dough, lots of cinnamon and sugar, and a warm, gooey, butterscotch glaze.  Is that jogging your memory at all?


You know those dishes that just instantly transport you back to your childhood?  You smell it cooking and suddenly you’re eight again at grandma’s house rolling pieces of dough around?

This is one of those dishes.

I know we all love to do all the things and make things from scratch, but sometimes it’s nice to just take it easy, ya know?

When I was little, monkey bread started with cans of biscuit dough and cinnamon sugar, then over the years taking bits and pieces from other family traditions the biscuits evolved into bread dough and the cinnamon sugar got amped up with pudding mix.

I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it at first too.  Pudding mix?!?

Yeah, wipe that skeptical look of your face.  It works, and it’s not only “good” but it’s like, irresistibly good.

So good that your fiance may have an intense internal debate on Christmas morning about which is more important: eating monkey bread or your relationship.


He may then stare at you in still in his pajamas, lured out of bed by the smell of baking cinnamon,  like you’re the meanest person in the world for telling him that he has to wait for company to arrive before he can eat it.

This may force you to remind him that the only way he will have monkey bread in his future is if you’re still around to make it.

All theoretical, of course.

Oh, and the best part about this delicious magical breakfast bread?  You can assemble it the night before and then just bake it in the morning.  Doesn’t that just beat the crap out of getting up at the buttcrack of dawn to make some fresh cinnamon rolls or pull-apart bread?

Yeah, I thought so too.  I mean, I love my family, but we all have our limits.

So make this and it can be your “easy” dish, or your only dish, no one will care how long it took (or didn’t take) you to make it because it’s so gosh darn delicious.

FH and I were still eating it like five days later and IT WAS JUST AS SOFT AS THE FIRST DAY.  I swear this stuff is magic.

monkey bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 13 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 bundt cake


  • 22 frozen dinner rolls, I use Rhodes
  • 1 small package cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Set out rolls to thaw slightly - I laid mine on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and then covered the tops with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. It took about 45 min to 1 hour for them to thaw.
  2. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Melt butter in microwave and then stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract; let cool slightly to room temperature.
  3. Cut rolls in half and toss into bundt pan.
  4. Once half the rolls are in the pan, sprinkle with half of the pudding mix and pour half the butter mixture. Repeat with remaining rolls, brown sugar mixture, and butter.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350F and set bundt pan on the counter about 30 minutes to warm to room temperature (I actually set mine on top of the oven while it was preheating to try to get more lift out of it).
  7. Once ready to bake, place bundt pan on a sheet pan and remove the plastic wrap. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through, covering with foil after 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Invert onto a rimmed serving dish (this is important, because there will be goo oozing everywhere).


*If you don't want to wait overnight, place your covered bundt cake on the counter and let rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours) and then follow baking instructions. The speed of the rise will depend on how warm your kitchen is.

*If you can't find (or don't want to use) frozen dinner rolls, you could definitely use homemade rolls - I recommend sticking with either white bread or brioche dough.



pumpkin pull apart bread


Thanksgiving is Thursday, and I know that we are all very busy, but I just wanted to share this one recipe.

Just really quickly.

I’d been planning on making this bread for so long but have had a long succession of extremely busy weekends, and then… we had a stormy weekend that made me want to stay in PJs all day and do nothing but bake.

So I did.

So I’ll share just this one recipe and then I’ll let you relax and then I’ll relax too, because it’s almost Thanksgiving.  And we are all very busy.

Too busy to write, too busy to read, too busy to even think sometimes.

So don’t think, just look at this warm, cinnamony, pumpkiny, pull-apart loaf.


Now, yes, I realize it’s CALLED a pull-apart loaf and we just spent countless minutes (ALL THE MINUTES!) slicing and stacking and cutting and piling, so it is only logical that the best way to eat it would be to pull it apart.  That being said, I assure you that is just as good, if not better, sliced.  That’s right, I said it, SLICED! Sliced just like a real loaf of bread.

In fact, I found slicing the bread to be a much more efficient way of stuffing the bread into my face.  I wish I had taken a picture of how pretty the sliced bread looked, but again, the face-shoving prevailed.  Plus your fingers get sticky with the sweet sugary insides (and outsides) and who wants to handle a camera with sticky sugar fingers when the other option is to lick the sweet sugary goo off of your fingers?  Not this girl, no sir.

However, that whole pull-apart thing is much better for acting like you’re going to have “just a bite” and walk away, plus it makes a darn good-looking loaf of bread.  I mean, sure you could save all that time and just make a “swirl” bread but then it wouldn’t look this awesome.  The outside would be boring, like plain bread.  As you can see, the outside of this bread is way awesomer than regular bread.

Shall we compare?

On the left you will see a loaf of someone else’s cinnamon swirl bread that I found by googling “cinnamon swirl loaf”.  I’m sure it is perfectly delicious loaf of bread on the inside, but how do you know that it’s awesome from the outside?  You don’t.  For all we know it’s a loaf of plain bread that is just masquerading as cinnamon swirl bread.

By contrast, the bread on the right is obviously awesome or at least filled with stuff, which gives it a much greater potential for awesome.

cinn_bread_loaf_board_glam pumpkin photo 2 (6)

To review: Left = Boring; Right = Exciting.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, slicing.

I sliced the remainder of my loaf and stuck it in the freezer, so that future Natalie & Fiance can have pumpkin french toast.

(Note: To this point I have continued to refer to my beloved Fiance as “BF” out of sheer laziness, plus I kinda think the word “fiance” sounds pretentious.  It does a little bit, doesn’t it?)

I’m such a thinker, always watching out for future Natalie & future Fiance and their tummies.

I was originally going to make a filling with some spices and pumpkin puree, but then I saw a jar of pumpkin butter in the pantry so I just went ahead an slathered it on.

And it was good.

So good.


Of course, I couldn’t resist a bit of a glaze on top.  Apparently I’m on a glaze-kick though.

If that’s a thing.

I think it is.

I’ll warn you now that I’m not doing a Thursday Things for this week, because it’s Thanksgiving and that would just be silly… Hopefully this recipe will help to keep you company in my place.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

This recipe makes 2 loaves but it can easily be halved to make just one loaf, or you can make two different kinds of loaves filled with cinnamon-sugar


  • 1 recipe of your favorite cinnamon roll dough (my favorite recipe below)
  • 2 10-ounce jars pumpkin butter
  • For the dough
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the glaze
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons milk; plus extra if needed


    For the dough
  1. In a large (8 cup) saucepan, mix the milk, sugar, and vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Remove from heat and cool to luke-warm (110-115F degrees), then add the yeast. Stir to combine; let sit 5 minutes to allow yeast to bloom.
  2. Stir 4 cups of flour into the milk mixture and put lid on the pot. Allow to sit for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, add remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour dough out onto a large sheet of saran wrap and wrap dough tightly. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to overnight. (You could also roll the dough out immediately by sprinkling the counter with flour and kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Once the dough isn't sticky, cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes to allow the dough to rest)
  3. To roll the dough
  4. Pour dough onto lightly-floured surface and separate into two equal halves. Roll one half to a 12 x 20-inch rectangle and cover the other with a kitchen towel to prevent from drying out. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 6 long 2-inch wide strips.
  5. Spoon generous amounts of pumpkin butter onto one strip of dough top with another strip and spoon pumpkin butter onto that strip, repeat until all of the strips are in a pile and smeared with pumpkin butter.
  6. Slice the strip of dough into 5 4-inch wide strips. Stack strips tall-wise into a loaf pan. It will be sloppy, they'll flop everywhere, it's OK. I actually propped my bread pan on its side to make the first few strips a little easier.
  7. Repeat steps with other half of dough and pumpkin butter.
  8. To bake the dough
  9. Cover and let rise 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
  10. Preheat oven to 350F. Once dough has risen and oven is preheated, cook bread 45 to 55 minutes until cooked through. If the top starts to get too brown, lightly tent with a piece of foil and continue cooking.
  11. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to continue cooling.
  12. For the glaze
  13. Mix ingredients together, adding more milk if the mixture is too thick or more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin.


*Those of you who thermom your bread want the final temp to be between 190F and 200F.

*Glaze is entirely optional, if you do use a glaze be sure to pour it on while the bread is still nice and warm.

*This recipe makes two loaves of bread. I made my second loaf into a different flavor (COMING SOON...)

pumpkin-photo-1-5 pin



cpa bread

cinn pull apart bread I love cinnamon (especially cinnamon + sugar) so much it hurts. Not really, but it’s going to start hurting soon, once the diabetes develops and I can’t consume my current levels of sugar anymore. I saw this bread on Annie’s Eats and immediately started drooling all over my computer.

I learned a couple things here: First, my counters are perfect for pastry-rolling if I do say so myself. Second, my oven is rebelling. BF says it’s just jealous because it’s the only part of the old kitchen that remains. I told him we should upgrade then I don’t mind!  😉 Anyway, the oven’s uneven heat caused the outsides of the bread to bake much more quickly than the middle, resulting in a funny-looking concave mutant loaf. I also learned that mutant loaves of cinnamon pull-apart bread are still flippin’ delicious. Guess mom was right, you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

sad, little mutant loaf

This bread has all the flavor of a cinnamon roll, with none of the rolling. Okay, well there’s a little rolling, and some slicing, and stacking. But it’s so worth it, and once you eat the ends, every single slice in there is just like the inside of a cinnamon roll which, let’s be honest, is everyone’s favorite part. I totally should have made a cinnamon roll glaze to put over the top of this, or possibly as a dipping sauce on the side. Guess I’ll just have to make it again… Just gotta get this oven whipped back into shape.


Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Yield: 1 loaf


    For the dough:
  • 2¾ C all-purpose flour
  • ¼ C sugar
  • 2¼ tsp instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 C milk
  • ¼ C water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • For the filling:
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan (or microwave) and heat just until the butter is melted. Set aside and let cool briefly, until the mixture registers 115-125? F on an instant-read thermometer.
  3. Add the milk mixture, water, vanilla and eggs to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until a cohesive dough forms. Continue to knead until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky. Knead about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. *
  5. While the dough rises, add the butter to a small saucepan and melt until browned. Set aside.
  6. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix well.
  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Roll into a ball, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Roll the dough out into an approximately 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the browned butter (don’t be stingy). Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer. Dump it all on there, a lot will fall off while you’re working anyway.
  9. Lightly grease (and/or line with parchment) a loaf pan. Slice the dough vertically into 6 even strips. Stack the strips on top of each other and again cut again into 6 equal-ish slices. Stack all the squares on top of each other and set into the prepared loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 30-45 minutes.
  10. 10. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350? F. Transfer the loaf to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. (If the top seems to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil at the end of baking.) Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan 20-30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and carefully turn the loaf out. This bread is best served warm!


*After its first rise, the dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. Let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding

*I was a little stingy on the butter, which meant a lot of my cinnamon fell off- so don't worry about it. The extra little bit of butter isn't going to kill you, and it's totally worth more ooey-gooey deliciousness.

*I might add brown sugar to the filling next time, since I love to put it in my cinnamon rolls - it lends a slightly more complex flavor and texture to the filling.

[ Adapted from Annie’s Eats ]