I just keep making the same things every year. (See here, too.) I think the monkey bread has now shifted from random fun special treat to a New Year's Day event. I have made this so many times now that it's pretty much foolproof and so very good. When I am craving cinnamon sugar doughnuts, this is what we make.
Some tips and such:
- I use this recipe from Martha. I have never used one of the crazy quick kind of recipes, you know, where you cut up Pillsbury biscuit dough and add pudding mix, or some crazy stuff like that. As much as I love trashy baking in concept, I can't eat it. You know how it is. So I use this recipe, which calls for yeast and 2 rises, so I start a bit early. I usually make the dough during breakfast and let it rise and then call in the kids in after that.
- I add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the dough. This really helps the flavor if/when the coating comes off in the pan. I also make this dough pretty soft/sticky, meaning not too much flour. Better that way than too dry.
- For making the balls, we roll out long tubes and use kitchen scissors to snip off pieces. Super easy and quick. Then roll these into balls, or sometimes just use the shapes as is.
- I do the coating step a bit different. I don't have them dip in melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar, which is what the recipe states. Rather, I just mix the melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar together in one bowl decreasing the butter to 5 tablespoons. It becomes a wet paste and much easier to roll the balls into. Any extra coating we have left I just spread on top. This makes the bread stickier and less runny and the kids appreciate the dipping experience more. But baby got the idea to just eat this mixture with a spoon, for real, so that happened. Don't turn your back on that baby! I think she got in about 6 big spoonfuls before I realized why she was so quiet.
- I have frozen half of this after baking because it makes so much—it thaws really nicely.