Monkey Bread Recipe for Mother’s Day Brunch

Monkey-breadWe are busy putting together the plan for Mother’s Day brunch and we want to show mom just how special she is by making it memorable. We have a few things on the list that we have to have — eggs, fruit and mimosas — but we wanted to do something special for our sweet treat. One of our favorites is monkey bread: little bites of dough wrapped in cinnamon and sugar. These little nuggets are hard to resist — unless she doesn’t have a sweet tooth, your mom’s going to love them! Here’s our monkey bread recipe for Mother’s Day brunch.

This version uses an enriched yeast dough (brioche) with a caramel sauce to make it sweet enough for dessert but not so sweet that it can’t be served for breakfast.  If you’ve never made brioche, this is an excellent introduction to it as it doesn’t have to be perfect to get it right. This is a very forgiving recipe.

For the Dough: For the sugar coating: For the sauce:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 TB active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the bowl
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • ¾  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TB cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter

Monkey-bread
Dough: Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches about 100℉. Remove from the heat. Place it in a mixing bowl fitted to a stand mixer with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar (don’t stir). Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cardamom. Add to the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until everything is combined. Add the butter, egg and vanilla. Mix until thick and slightly sticky. Knead on medium speed until the dough gathers around the hook, 6 minutes. If it’s too sticky, you can add up to two more tablespoons of flour.

 Monkey-bread

Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Put the remaining tablespoon of melted butter in a large bowl followed by the ball of dough. Turn the dough in the butter a few times to coat the dough. It should be shiny from the butter.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and sugar. When the dough is ready, pull off small pieces of dough (1”) and roll them into small balls. Toss them with the cinnamon and sugar to coat them and place them in a cake pan prepared with cooking spray. You can bake them in a tube pan to remain loyal to tradition, but I divided them up into three ramekins for individual servings. Set aside while you make the sauce.

 Monkey-bread

Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Pour over dough. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or overnight if you’re making it in advance (It also freezes well unbaked if you want to save some to bake at a later date).

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until the top is browned. Let cool and serve. If you want all of the reward without the work, you can also use crescent roll dough (the kind that come in the cans) from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. No one will know the difference.


Let The Lakeside Collection help you plan your Mother’s Day celebration! We have ideas and products to make your mom’s big day unforgettable.

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