This sticky monkey bread is definitely a brunch crowd-pleaser! To make it, soft buttery, yeast-risen dough (similar to brioche) is rolled into balls, dusted with cinnamon sugar and baked with ooey-gooey caramel. It’s best served warm, allowing the sticky layers to be easily plucked apart.
Make the brioche: Coat a large bowl with cooking spray and set aside. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed to combine. Add the milk and eggs and mix until combined, then increase the speed to medium high and mix until the dough begins to pull away from the sides, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium; start adding the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating until incorporated before adding more, about 5 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and continue to mix until the dough is glossy and slightly tacky but not sticky, about 7 minutes. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Make the caramel: Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan but not stirring, until dark amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Let cool to room temperature.
Assemble the monkey bread: Coat a 15-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Put the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Slice the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each into a 9- to 10-inch-long log. Slice each log into roughly 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball, dusting the surface with more flour as needed. Pour about half of the caramel into the bundt pan.
Working in batches, coat 20 dough balls in the butter, letting the excess drip off, then roll in the cinnamon sugar and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top. Repeat with the remaining 20 dough balls, melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then arrange in the bundt pan. Set aside until the dough is slightly puffed, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Place the bundt pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the monkey bread is dark golden brown on top, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a platter.
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Photograph by Joel Goldberg
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