Last Easter I made Monkey Bread and everyone (especially Nick) went insane for it. It was really good, but it was made with canned biscuits and that kind of bothered me. I like to try and find the hard way to do something, not the easy way. I prefer things from scratch whenever possible. So as I was looking through some magazines my mom gave me, I found a from scratch recipe for Monkey Bread in an old issue of Cook's Country. I didn't even have to search one out! It just fell right into my lap.
Start out by mixing 1 cup of warmed milk, 1/3 cup of warmed water, 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 package rapid rise yeast together.
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour and 2 teaspoons of salt.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture.
Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 6-7 minutes.
Take the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to form into a ball. Put the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise in a warm dry place until the dough doubles in size. That should take about 50-60 minutes.
While the dough is rising, butter a Bundt pan and set aside. Then mix together in another bowl, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and although it's not in the recipe, I added a cup of chopped walnuts.
It's time to set up a little assembly line. You will need your brown sugar mixture, a stick of melted unsalted butter and an 8 oz. block of cream cheese cut into cubes. Then, once the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and gently pat it out into about an 8 inch square. Then using a bench scraper or a knife, cut the dough into about 64 pieces.
You don't necessarily need the same amount of cream cheese and dough. You can roll some of the dough without the cream cheese middle. Then it's like a little prize when someone gets one with a cream cheese filling.
In your buttered Bundt pan, sprinkle some of the brown sugar mixture around the bottom and sides. Then take your little dough square, place a little chunk of cream cheese in the middle.
Roll the dough into a ball.
Dip and roll in melted butter then start to line them in the Bundt pan.
The original recipe says to roll the ball in the melted butter then roll it in the brown sugar mixture. I didn't do it that way, but by all means, feel free to if you want. I prefer to line up the dough balls in the pan in one layer and then sprinkle the sugar mixture over it. Repeat this until all the dough is gone. It's less messy on your hands and has pretty much the same result.
Once you have finished all the dough, sprinkle whatever sugar/nut mixture you have left on top and then cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in the Bundt pan for about 50-60 minutes, or until the dough rises to the top of the pan.
Now it is finally time to bake! Be sure to take the plastic wrap off and put the Bundt pan on a cookie sheet to avoid a mess of cinnamon sugar in the bottom of your oven. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes. Then turn out onto a serving plate. Serve warm and watch it disappear!