Sweet or Savory, Monkey Bread Hits the Spot

A favorite since the 1950s, this sticky-sweet style of pull-apart cinnamon bread was traditionally a homemade specialty. Today it’s showing up at bakeries and on restaurant menus, with chefs putting unique spins on the original recipe. Additions to the comforting classic include fruit, cheese and even garlic.

Monkey Bread at Macrina Bakery & Cafe, Seattle

Inspired by the classic version sold at a neighborhood supermarket when Chef Leslie Mackie was a child, this monkey bread is such a hit that it even made it into the Macrina cookbook. Buttery balls of brioche (with a touch of barley flour) are rolled with cinnamon sugar and tart Granny Smith-apple butter. The impressive round loaf of bread, which weighs just over a pound, is topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Cinnamon Spiced Monkey Bread at Stones Throw, San Francisco

High atop Russian Hill, this neighborhood spot is known for fresh takes on nostalgic desserts. The Sunday brunch menu showcases dishes just right for sharing, including monkey bread served hot, fresh from the oven. The cinnamon-spiced pastry changes seasonally and is currently served with cream cheese frosting, gooey strawberry-rhubarb compote and macadamia nuts for a bit of buttery crunch.

Garlic Monkey Bread at Truxton’s American Bistro, Los Angeles

Monkey Bread is among the most-popular items at both locations of this Los Angeles bistro. It was created as an homage to Milton Williams, a famous “caterer to the stars” in the 1970s and a mentor to one of the partners who opened Truxton’s. Sweet monkey bread was one of Williams’ signature dishes, so the restaurant created a savory garlic-and-cheddar cheese version in his honor. The buttery pull-apart loaf is served with diners’ choice of marinara, garlic butter or ranch sauce for dipping.

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