Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread – Fluffy balls of dough are stuffed with cinnamon apples, layered together in a Bundt pan, and then baked with a brown sugar goo to make a sticky, chewy loaf of monkey bread.
Last week, we said goodbye to the stone fruit of summer with this incredible stone fruit tart. So, for today’s recipe, it only fell appropriate to welcome in the produce of the fall season – apples! Apple picking is actually at its peak in September (did you think it was October, too?!?) so I’ve got just the recipe to make with all those apples…my Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread!
Does any one know how monkey bread gets its name??? I’ve never thought to ask, probably because I was so mesmerized by the cinnamon flavor and the chewy texture that I didn’t care what it was called. All I know is that it’s balls of sweet, fluffy bread rolled in cinnamon sugar and bakes with a brown sugar gooey to bind them all together.
For my apple cinnamon version, I stuff each of those fluffy pieces of sweet bread with cinnamon apples. Just as you’d suspect, those cinnamon apples take monkey bread to a whole other level!!
How to make this monkey bread
If you’ve made any yeast dough before, you’ll have no issues making monkey bread. But even if you haven’t, don’t let that hold you back! Yeast dough is not as intimidating as it seems. You just have to listen to it. If it keeps sticking to your hands or the counter while you knead it, that just means it needs more flour. If it feels dry or clumpy, it needs more kneading. And maybe a splash of water.
Once you’ve finished kneading the dough and have let it double in size, it’s ready to be formed into monkey bread. The dough is split into 40 even pieces. Each piece is then stuffed with cooked cinnamon apples. We cook them to soften them up and ensure they won’t be crunchy after baking.
Once you’ve filled each ball with apples, they’re dipped in melted butter, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and then layered in a greased Bundt pan. Now, you need to let them sit for 40 more minutes to allow the yeast to pull up the balls so they’re nice and plump.
Finally, the brown sugar goo is poured over the bread and is baked for 30 to 40 minutes until the balls look golden brown on top. I then let the bread cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan.
Tips & Tricks
- Do not skimp on the kneading of the dough. This process is so important for developing the fluffy texture of the dough. If you don’t knead enough, you risk the dough being stiff and flat.
- Don’t worry if the dough balls are all the exact same size. As long as they are relatively the same size, the monkey bread will cook evenly and look gorgeous.
- Make sure to grease your Bundt pan really well. Better yet, make sure you use a nonstick Bundt pan. These two items will ensure that your monkey bread comes out of the pan easily.
- When dicing the apples, make sure they’re pretty small so they can fit into each ball pretty easily.
Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread
For the dough:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 3 ½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
For the filling:
- 4 medium granny smith apples diced
- 14 tablespoons butter unsalted, divided
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar divided
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon divided
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt divided
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- First we will begin making the dough. Heat up milk in a small sauce pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and add sugar and salt and stir. Let it cool down to lukewarm to the touch. While milk is cooling, proof the yeast by adding the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and stirring together. Let it activate by setting it aside for 10 minutes.
- Once milk is cool, add to a large bowl, along with 3 ½ cups of the flour, 2 tablespoons of oil, eggs, and yeast mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be very thick but still pretty wet and sticky.
- Place ¼ cup of flour on the surface of your counter. Place dough on top of it and begin kneading the dough with the flour until all the flour is mixed into the dough. Keep kneading for about 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If it starts to stick to the counter, add a little more flour. Once you finish kneading, shape into a ball. Lightly grease another large bowl and place the ball of dough into bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 ½ hours, where it will be double the size. I like to place mine in the microwave to keep it away from any cool draft from the A/C.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the apples. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once butter has melted, add apples and cook until slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, ⅛ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Once dough has risen, punch it down with your fist and remove from the bowl. Lightly dust your counter with flour and place the dough on top. Cut dough into 4 even slices. Cut each slice into 10 even pieces. You should have 40 even pieces. Flatten each piece of dough with your fingers. Add ½ teaspoon of cooked apples to the center and seal into a ball. Repeat with all the dough balls.
- Melt 8 tablespoons of butter and place into a small bowl. Mix remaining granulated sugar and remaining cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll each ball in melted butter and then in the cinnamon sugar. Place coated ball into prepared Bundt pan. Repeat with remaining dough balls. Make sure the balls are arranged in even layers. Let the dough balls rise again for about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and mix with brown sugar, vanilla and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Pour mixture over risen dough balls. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until they have browned on top. Remove from oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes.
- Invert monkey bread onto a large plate. Serve warm. Leftover monkey bread can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
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