Gorilla Bread

Made this recipe, monkey bread from Cook’s Illustrated, to have for breakfast this morning, but with a few tweeks and twists:

from Cook’s Illustrated


4 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk , warm (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup water , warm (about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package rapid-rise yeast (or instant)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons table salt

Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk

1. For the dough: Adjust oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

2. In large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook, (see below for instructions without a mixer.) Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
3. For the sugar coating: While dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.
4. To form the bread: Gently remove dough from bowl, and pat into rough 8-inch square. Using bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.

5. Roll each dough piece into ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.

6. Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.

7. Remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

8. For the glaze: While bread cools, whisk confectioners’ sugar and milk in small bowl until lumps are gone. Using whisk, drizzle glaze over warm monkey bread, letting it run over top and sides of bread. Serve warm.

Note: The dough should be sticky, but if you find it’s too wet and not coming together in the mixer, add 2 tablespoons more flour and mix until the dough forms a cohesive mass. Make sure to use light brown sugar in the sugar mix; dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor that can be overwhelming. After baking, don’t let the bread cool in the pan for more than 5 minutes or it will stick to the pan and come out in pieces. Monkey bread is at its best when served warm.

The Picky Cook has some really fantastic pictures at the link. 

Now the alterations:

  1. It was only for my husband and me, so I halved the recipe, which worked fine.  We still only ate about 3/4 of it. 
  2. There are a lot of versions of this recipe that use canned biscuit dough or frozen rolls.  These are fine, but the way I figure it, if you are going to eat something this rich and unhealthy, you might as well make it the most delicious version possible.  This really requires a yeast dough. 
  3. The recipe warns against using dark brown sugar because the molasses taste will be overwhelming.  I love dark brown sugar, and find that light brown tends to clump up badly, so I don’t bother with it.  I used half dark brown sugar and half white granulated sugar instead of the light brown. 
  4. I just used 3 TBS of butter to dip (3/4 of the halved recipe) and still had a bit leftover.  I also had a lot of cinnamon/brown sugar leftover, so feel free to reduce these to avoid waste. 
  5. I added some almond and vanilla extracts to the glaze. 
  6. In order to have it at breakfast, I made it the night before, allowing the second rise to go 50 minutes long.  Then I covered it and refrigerated it overnight.  Next morning, took it out for about 10-15 minutes, then turned on the oven and put it right in (without allowing it to preheat first, hoping that that would help bring it up to temp before the real cooking set in).  From putting it in the oven to finish was about 35 minutes (and I might go 2-3 minutes less next time).  I checked it with an instant read thermometer and it was about 205 degrees in the middle (this was great, but I’m thinking 195 would probably be the complete ideal).
  7. Now the big one- I converted it from “monkey bread” to “gorilla bread.”  As far as I can tell, this is just an idea that Paula Deen came up with, but it’s a good one.    (I give less approval to her use of canned biscuits over a yeast dough, though.)  While forming the balls, simply take a small nub of cream cheese (about the size of a fingertip) and fold the balls around it, making sure to seal the edges well. 

 Sweet, chewy, sugar and cinnamon coated balls, and a little hit of creamy cheese in the middle- unbelievable!


2 Responses

  1. Sounds amazing – I need to try it with the cream cheese. Yum!

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