As the coldest-week-I-have-ever-survived came to a close and I finally was able to get my car towed off of the ice skating rink that had been keeping me on house arrest for the past three days, I was thinking something celebratory was in order. Not willing to venture outside my apartment in this weather, that meant whipping up something decadent using whatever I had on hand.
That’s where this sugarfest of a recipe was born. And boy, am I not sorry about it!
I have actually made this monkey bread recipe before on a mountain weekend with my friends, and it was met with lots of oooohhs and ahhhs. Yesterday, I whipped up a scaled down recipe and made the monkey bread in muffin tins, as I was only cooking for me and Danny. However, I have put the full size recipe at the bottom. Trust me. That’s how you are going to want it. Just look at those sweet, perfectly-caramelized, chai-spice flecked bites begging you to pull off just one more bite.
You know you want to, so head over to your kitchen and lets get baking!
This recipe could not be easier to pull off, but that does not make the result any less impressive. I have typed out this entire recipe in a text message before to a friend who wanted to make it for her family. And I wasn’t annoyed about it at all. Delicious baked goods are meant to be shared!
The whole process starts by cutting up your biscuits into four pieces each, like I’ve done below. This is the most tedious part of the recipe for sure. Multitask! Get your butter melting on the stove over medium heat in a saucepan.
I didn’t do this, but if you want extra credit you could (and probably should) brown your butter at this point. Thinking about it now, I am disappointed with myself for passing up this opportunity. Browned butter > normal butter. Always. This is fact. I went ahead and threw the brown sugar in with my butter to melt, but it you are going to brown your butter DO NOT DO THIS! You need to be able to watch your butter turn a golden amber color and pull if off before it burns. Just stir in the brown sugar once you pull the saucepan off the stove.
Once you have all your biscuits quartered, toss them around in a bowl with the granulated sugar and spices.
Once all your pieces are good and coated, pour over the brown sugar and butter mixture and the vanilla. Gently mix everything together, careful to not tear up the biscuit pieces
^^My always watching floor cleanup crew
Next, you have a choice. You can either pour everything into a well greased bundt pan or divide up the biscuit pieces and coating into well greased muffin tins. The recipe will make about 15 muffins.
Either way, the monkey bread will be baked at 350 degrees. 15 minutes for muffins, about 35 minutes for the bundt. The bread is done when the top is golden brown and it feels slightly firm to the touch. I would err on the side of slightly underdone rather than overdone, as I would with any baked good.
If you decided to make muffins, DO NOT PANIC when you take them out of the oven. It will look like a disastrous mess. Take a breath, walk away for 10 to 15 minutes, and then pop those slightly cooled bad boys out of the pan. They’ll transform. Trust me. I can show you!
Now that you have a warm baked good to dig in to, you should probably/definitely make some hot chocolate to accompany it.
I love the flavor orange with warm wintery spices. It reminds me of my favorite tea, Constant Comment. So in order to make my hot chocolate a nod to this perfect flavor combo and pair beautifully with the monkey bread (and also as an excuse to add booze to my hot chocolate, because Friday), I decided to spike it up with some Grand Marnier, cloves, and cinnamon.
This hot chocolate comes together very quickly on the stove. Place a saucepan over medium low heat and pour in a milk of your choice. I used cashew milk, which I had never tried before but now know kicks almond milk’s butt any day of the week. The creaminess and flavor of the cashew milk just cannot be compared to other milk substitutes. I even gave this to Danny who was none-the-wiser. He wouldn’t touch almond milk with a ten foot pole. And at 25 calories a cup, I mean, C’MON. How is this even a thing?!
I have recently discovered the secret to perfectly smooth, impossibly creamy hot chocolate. Corn starch! It results in the most indulgent texture and guarantees that your precious last sip of cocoa won’t be ruined by a gulp of cocoa powder and melted chocolate bits. A teaspoon and a half whisked in to two servings of cocoa was perfect for me.
Once all of the ingredients have melted together and it is warmed to your liking, divide into two mugs and go crazy with the toppings. I drowned mine in whipped cream, chopped chocolate, and a giant marshmallow. Seriously, don’t hold back.
Kick back with a mug, a warm plate of monkey bread, a blanket, and a movie. Maybe even call it dinner. Not that I would ever do something like that!
Chai Spiced Monkey Bread
3 tubes of pillsbury buttermilk biscuits (not Grands*)
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cloves
* If you can only find Grands, use 2 tubes and cut them into 5 or so chunks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt pan or muffin tin
- Melt a stick of butter in saucepan over medium heat. At this point, you have the option to brown the butter if you would like. Do this by melting the butter and then cooking it until it becomes a deep amber color and has a nutty, toasted fragrance. Remove from heat as soon as the butter is melted or browned.
- While butter is melting, cut biscuits into quarters and place in a large bowl.
- Put granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, nutmeg and cloves in the bowl with the biscuit pieces and gently toss to coat.
- Stir brown sugar into butter mixture and pour the butter and sugar over the biscuit pieces. Pour in vanilla. Toss gently until everything is coated with butter and sugar.
- Either pour mixture into a bundt pan or divide evenly among muffin tins.
- Bake muffins for 15 minutes or bundt pan for about 35. They are done when the top is a deep golden color and feels slightly firm to the touch.
- Allow muffins to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from tin or bundt to cool for at least 20.
- Serve warm with Grand Marnier spiked Hot Chocolate.
Grand Marnier Spiked Spiced Hot Chocolate
2 large servings
2 cups of milk of your choice (I used cashew milk and it was delicious)
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar to taste* (I used 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cloves
2 tablespoons (or more!) Grand Marnier
Whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate shavings to top
- Pour 2 cups of milk into a saucepan over medium low heat. Heat until lukewarm, about 3 minutes. Do not allow to simmer.
- place remainder or ingredients except Grand Marnier in the pot with the milk. Start with only a very small pinch of cloves and add more to taste. It is a very strong, and while you can always add, you cannot take away!
- Whisk continuously over medium low heat until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is completely smooth.
- Continue to heat to your desired temperature, but do not simmer.
- Pour hot chocolate into mugs, top to your heart’s content, and enjoy!
I hope these recipes can warm you up during this cold spell we’re facing!