Orange-Vanilla Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread 2

I am always planning and plotting my next cake. On Sunday night, I made the lemon and poppyseed cake for school lunch box treats. But I knew that would be gobbled within about two days so on my lunch break at work on Monday I had a flick through one of my favourite blogs – Pioneer Woman. I love the way Ree Drummond writes, and I love her unapologetic use of butter, sugar, and pre-packaged foods, even though the latter is quite opposed to my own style and preference for cooking. On 29 April, she posted a recipe for Orange-Vanilla Monkey Bread and I knew I had found the basis for my next baking expedition. I have been reading a few American baking books recently – namely, the three cookbooks by the Baked team, so this cake felt in keeping with my reading.

Monkey bread recipes first started appearing in American women’s magazines in the 1950s but the dish is virtually unknown outside the States – I honesty don’t know why. Well, except for the whole ‘heart attack in a bundt tin’ thing.

There was no way I was going to use cans of biscuit dough (sorry Ree!), but I have a great sweet dough recipe that I knew would work really well. So here is my variation on Orange-Vanilla Monkey Bread.

Sweet Dough
300g bread flour
6g salt
24g caster sugar
4g yeast
35g unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
150ml milk
 
Monkey Bread
200g cup sugar
2 whole oranges, zested
Pinch of salt
220g salted butter
160g cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
 

First make the dough. Combine the flour, salt, caster sugar and yeast in a bowl. Add the softened butter and milk, and mix in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture comes together in a smooth ball. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave somewhere warm until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C and butter a bundt tin.

To make the monkey bread, fill a large ziplock bag with the sugar, orange zest and pinch of salt. Seal the bag and shake it around until all combined. Cut the dough into pieces the size of a very large cherry. In batches, add the dough pieces to the bag, seal it and shake it around until the pieces are coated in the orange-flavoured sugar. Tip the pieces into the bundt pan and set aside somewhere warm, covered, to rise again for about 30 minutes.

While the dough pieces are rising, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in the brown sugar and vanilla until just combined. Pour the mixture all over the dough pieces, then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top of the monkey bread is golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cake rack for at least 10 minutes, then turn the monkey bread out onto a plate.

Monkey Bread in tin 2

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