Yes, I was on a gluten-free diet, and yes, this recipe made me cheat. A lot. Because I couldn’t just eat one piece. In fact, it was less cheating and more d
etonating several carb- and sugar-filled bombs well behind my carefully built salad and roasted chicken defenses.
I must admit that I have a particular fondness for cinnamon rolls—but who doesn’t? My weakness is so profound, I even melt for cinnamon roll-like food, such as this monkey bread variation my wife created.
The carbs and nuts in this dessert breakfast are good for anyone looking to have an active day in the wilderness. The sugars and fats are … well … sugars and fats. You win some, you lose some. But with cinnamon rolls, I always count it as a win, whether I feel pumped enough to hike the nearest peak or get dumped into a food coma that sends me straight to the nearest hammock for a much-needed mid-morning nap.
Though you may be tempted to eat the whole thing yourself, as I was, this really is intended to be a communal treat, perfect for prompting a whole family or group of friends to reach their hands into a circle and literally break bread together—warm, gooey, sweet, sweet bread.
Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 tube of large buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 package instant cheesecake Jell-o (only instant will work)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1. Heat coals to a low smolder, or use a fire that has burned down to just embers
2. Line Dutch oven with foil and grease generously. Make a ball of foil and place it in the center to creates a bundt pan effect.
3. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of the pan
4. Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
5. Cut biscuits into quarters and place in bowl. Toss with cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated.
6. Place biscuits evenly in the Dutch oven, around the foil ball center.
7. Sprinkle pudding mix on top of biscuits.
8. Heat butter and brown sugar over coals or camp stove until butter is melted and sugar is mixed in. Pour over biscuits.
9. Cover with lid. Place in fire surrounded and topped with smoldering coals. Avoid coals directly under your Dutch oven to prevent the sugar from burning. Check after 10 minutes. Continue to check every few minutes until biscuits are cooked through.
This can also be baked at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes in a Dutch oven, or 15 minutes in a bundt pan.
10. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then turn the Dutch over upside down on a plate and let the monkey bread fall out.
11. Eat it all. Or share with five to seven other friends. Either way, I won’t judge.
This recipe can also be adapted to make a savory monkey bread to win over anyone without a sweet tooth. The concept is the same, but instead of using cinnamon sugar, and pecans, you’re tossing the biscuits with 1/3 cup of olive oil, some chopped basil and oregano, a package of pepperoni, and a 3-ounce blend of your cheeses of choice. (My kids are partial to a 2-to-1 ratio of mozzarella and Parmesan.) After baking it and dumping it out onto a plate, you can eat the pieces plain or dip them in marinara sauce or ranch dressing. Look, let’s all just admit that we’re not eating this one for our health.
The whole point of monkey bread is that it’s versatile—you know, like a monkey. Also, you can pull it apart and eat it without any fanfare, or even utensils, making you something like a monkey, too.