I was lucky enough to be asked by the Culinary Content Network of The Daily Meal, to bake something for Country Crock spread for the Mother’s Day Bake-Off Challenge. It was hard to decide what to make since there were so many special goodies my kids made for me through the years (with a little help from my wonderful and thoughtful husband). I finally chose something that the kids will have a ball (pardon the pun) helping with and that they could be proud of presenting to Mom- hence my Bubble (or Monkey) Bread. Not to mention how much they love these sweet little balls of dough themselves!
Where did the name come from anyway? Well, some people call it Monkey Bread, a term derived from building it ball by ball and looking like a barrel of monkeys, and some like to call it bubble bread, because it looks like someone went wild blowing bubbles and more bubbles. But whatever you call it, it is really, really a decadent treat and one Mom is sure to love!
And it is so much fun for the kids to help put together. I know when mine were younger they loved forming all the little bubbles and dropping them in the glaze. Then piling them up and watching them rise over the top of the pan. Of course the best part was pulling the deliciously sweet balls off the bread, kind of like donut holes, and popping them in their mouth. And licking fingers is definitely allowed!
So take the time to bake your Mom something sweet and tell her how much you love her. It will make her day!
Monkey Bread with Nutella
- 5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 envelopes Rapid Rise yeast
- 1/3 cup instant no-fat dry milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/3 cups water
- 4 Tablespoons Country Crock spread
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Nutella (optional)
- 1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cream or evaporated milk
- 2 Tablespoons corn or maple syrup
- 5 Tablespoons Country Crock spread
Chocolate Glaze (optional)
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons half-and-half
Place 5 cups flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Reserve additional cup of flour for later.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat 1-1/3 cups water to around 130 degrees. Add 4 tablespoons Country Crock and stir until melted. Add to dry ingredients and stir well. Add eggs and incorporate well. Knead with machine mixer for 5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed until dough is no longer sticker and feels smooth.
Cover bowl and let rest for 10 minutes while making sugar glaze.
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil and sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Sprinkle 1/4 of the nuts around the bottom of prepared pan.
Tear off pieces of dough and roll into balls between lightly floured hands. Make the balls around the size of a golf ball. When you have 10 made, prepare to add some Nutella to center (this is optional as it tastes just as good without it). I used the OXO Good Grips Silicone Decorating Kit and squeezed some Nutella into the ball. You can just as easily make a depression in the ball, put a little Nutella in the depression and wrap the ball back up around it. (Or you can leave the Nutella out altogether and it is still delicious!)
Drop each of the balls into the sugar glaze then scoop out with a spoon and place around the bottom of the pan making the first layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the nuts and a little more sugar glaze. Continue making the balls and adding layers to the bread, spreading the nuts and glaze in-between, until all dough has been used. Top with remaining nuts and the rest of the glaze.
Cover the pan with waxed paper and a light towel and let rise, about 1 hour or until bubbles or balls rise to the top of the pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until top is caramel colored. Check half way through cooking time in case it is getting too browned. If so,make a tent of aluminum foil and cover until it is done.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen around edges if necessary and place another rack over the top. Have a large cookie sheet ready so that drippings will be caught. Invert the bread and place rack on top of cookie sheet. Apply chocolate glaze, if desired.
Place chocolate and half and half into a microwave safe measuring bowl and melt in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. If more time is needed, place back in microwave for 10 seconds.
Drizzle glaze over top of bread and serve bread warm.
To eat, just pull off a bubble (or ball) and enjoy! And since it’s Mother’s Day why don’t you let her go first!