Savory or sweet monkey bread is an easy to make addition to your Easter brunch, lunch

swthompson@herald-leader.comApril 15, 2014 

Baked hams and deviled eggs, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans are abundant on Easter dinner tables. This year, throw a monkey into the mix.

Monkey bread, sweet or savory, is an easy make-ahead dish for your Easter brunch or lunch.

There's no clear explanation as to how monkey bread got its name, but it's also called monkey puzzle bread, pull-apart bread, sticky bread, African coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me-cake, and bubble loaf.

The sugary, gooey version consists of soft bread pieces coated with butter, sugar and cinnamon, and baked in a tube pan. Creative cooks add cream cheese, marshmallows, chocolate chips, butterscotch pudding, berries, pineapple, pecans — and even colorful Peeps.

Savory versions can be jazzed up with anything from ham, bacon and pepperoni, to cheese, garlic, and chopped peppers and onions.

Some of the recipes call for frozen yeast dough, but many cooks rely on refrigerated biscuit or pizza dough, which makes it faster to prepare. Most monkey breads are baked in tube pans, but muffin tins, loaf pans, and slow-cookers also work well. You also can make a free-formed monkey-bread bunny for Easter.

Small pieces of dough are dredged in seasonings or sugar, and ingredients are placed in and around the bits of dough; or the dough can be formed around items such as chopped vegetables and meats. Dozens of variations on monkey bread are on Pinterest.

For an Easter brunch, savory bread goes great with omelets.Savory monkey bread

2 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

21/2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 cans (12 ounces each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

In a bowl, mix together cheese, herbs and garlic. Place melted butter in a separate bowl. Cut each biscuit in half; dip into butter and coat with cheese mixture. Arrange biscuits in a greased Bundt pan, overlapping slightly. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, until golden. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Source: Gooseberry Patch

This is a fun recipe to serve the kids on Easter morning.

Bunny (monkey) bread

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cans (12.4 ounces each) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

2⁄3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

Candy sprinkles, colored sugar and candy-coated chocolate candies, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.

Separate each can of dough into 8 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into quarters. Place pieces in large resealable food-storage plastic bag; add granulated sugar. Seal bag; shake gently to coat. Arrange roll pieces in pans.

In small bowl, stir together brown sugar and melted butter until well blended. Pour over cinnamon roll pieces.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool 10 minutes. Place heat proof serving plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan.

With serrated knife, cut one of the breads in half for ears; cut tips off one side of each half to form flat edge. Arrange pieces on top edge of whole bread. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Use reserved icing to add nose, mouth, whiskers and centers of ears. Decorate with candy sprinkles, colored sugar and candies.

Source: Pillsbury

This recipe is from Ree Drummond, Food Network's "The Pioneer Woman," who will be the celebrity guest at the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show in October at Rupp Arena.

Pastor Ryan's monkey bread

3 cans (12 ounces each) buttermilk biscuits (the non-flaky ones)

1 cup sugar

2 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 sticks butter

½ cups brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Open up all three cans of biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters.

Next, combine the white sugar with 2 to 3 teaspoons of cinnamon. (3 teaspoons of cinnamon gives it a fairly strong cinnamon flavor. If you're not so hot on cinnamon, cut it back to 2 teaspoons.) Dump these into a 1 gallon resealable bag and shake to mix evenly.

Drop all of the biscuit quarters into the cinnamon-sugar mix. Once all the biscuit quarters are in the bag seal it and give it a vigorous shake. This will get all those pieces unstuck from one another and nicely coated with cinnamon-sugar. Spread these nuggets out evenly in a Bundt pan.

Melt butter with ½ cup of brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. This can be light or dark brown sugar. Cook butter/sugar mixture, stirring for a few minutes. Pour it over biscuits.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the crust is a deep dark brown on top. When its finished cooking, remove it from the oven. Let cool for about 15 to 30 minutes before turning it over onto a plate.

Surprise monkey bread

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, cubed

2 cans (12 ounces each) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cut into 20 cubes

11/2 cups chopped walnuts

In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat brown sugar and butter on high for 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved.

Flatten each biscuit into a 3-inch circle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon in the center of each biscuit. Top with a cream cheese cube. Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal tightly.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup walnuts into a 10-inch fluted tube pan coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the biscuits, cinnamon-sugar and butter mixture and 1/2 cup walnuts. Repeat layers.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

Source: Taste of Home

This version is baked in a slow cooker.

Slow-cooker turtle monkey bread

2⁄3 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury Grands! homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

¾ cup pecan halves

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1⁄3 cup milk chocolate chips

Spray 41/2- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, mix brown sugar and butter; microwave uncovered on high 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture is boiling and smooth.

In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, place granulated sugar. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into fourths. Add a few of the biscuit pieces at a time to bag; shake to coat. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the pecans in slow cooker; top with half of the biscuit mixture. Pour one-third of the butter mixture over biscuits in cooker. Repeat with 1/4 cup pecans and remaining biscuit mixture. Pour remaining butter mixture over biscuits, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans.

Cover; cook on high heat setting 11/2 to 2 hours or until knife inserted in center comes out clean, and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Tops of biscuits will be moist and may appear unbaked. Turn off cooker.

Carefully remove cover so condensation does not drip onto bread. Cover opening with paper towels; return cover to cooker. Let stand 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cooker; turn bread upside down onto heat proof serving plate.

In 1-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat just to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Drizzle over monkey bread. Serve warm. Makes 12 servings.

Source: Pillsbury

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog:

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