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Homemade Monkey Bread Muffins
This easy monkey bread muffin recipe is one of my favorite small-batch recipes (from my second cookbook, Simple Small-Batch Baking) that is made completely from scratch and yields just six muffins. And while it may take *slightly* longer than some of the other monkey bread muffin recipes out there, I'm encouraging you to skip the biscuit tubes and make it from scratch because this soft, sweet, buttery treat is worth every second!
The texture of each little bite of dough is soft and almost doughnut-like covered in a perfectly sweet cinnamon sugar crust. And the vanilla glaze that each muffin gets topped with is truly the icing on top (haha, get it?!)
What I love about these homemade monkey bread muffins the most is that while they bake up together like muffins- each little bubble of cinnamon sugary goodness can be picked off one at a time, making it really easy to have “just one more.”
What is Monkey Bread?
Monkey bread is a sweet, gooey bread-based pastry made from balls of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar. Traditionally, the dough balls are arranged in a Bundt pan, baked and inverted onto a serving plate, and then drizzled with icing. In this fun cinnamon monkey bread version, we bake the monkey bread in muffin tins; I like to use a metal non-stick muffin pan.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Since this monkey bread muffin recipe is made from scratch, it might call for a few more ingredients than you're expecting, but they're mostly pantry staples! Here's what you'll need:
- Milk: I recommend whole milk, but know that non-dairy/nut milk will also work (I’ve tried it!) If you don't have any milk, you can replace it with an even amount of water instead; just know your final result won't be near as soft.
- Water: Just a tiny amount to go into the dough!
- Granulated sugar: This is used to help activate the yeast and sweeten the dough.
- Instant dry yeast: Use quick rise or instant yeast in this recipe. You can also use active dry yeast, but the monkey bread will take slightly longer to rise.
- Butter: The one and only. You’ll need it for the dough and the coating.
- All-purpose flour: Only ¾ cup of all-purpose flour is needed! If your dough is too sticky, you can add up to an additional tablespoon of flour, but I wouldn't recommend adding more than that otherwise you'll have dry monkey bread muffins.
- Brown sugar: For the cinnamon sugar coating; you can use light or dark brown!
- Cinnamon: YUM.
- Salt: Desserts made without salt taste a little plain. Also, salt helps to control the yeast, so don’t skip it.
The icing is truly easy-to-make and delicious too! Just powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla bean paste. YES PLEASE.
How to Make Monkey Bread Muffins from Scratch
Full instructions can be found in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Prep: In a small saucepan, combine the milk and water and place over medium-low heat until warmed (115°F/45°C to 130°F/54°C).
- Combine: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add in the warm milk mixture, followed by the melted butter. Stir until combined and a shaggy dough forms.
- Knead: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough forms a soft, smooth ball.
- Rise: Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover it with a clean towel. Allow it to rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in size before shaping.
- Whisk: Combine the cinnamon and sugar coating in a small bowl and set aside.
- Divide: Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 32 pieces. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Dip and Proof: Dip each dough ball into melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar coating and place into muffin cups. Allow the muffins to proof for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Bake: Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve: Drizzle monkey bread muffins with icing while warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
Can I use active dry yeast instead?
Technically, yes! But you'll need to add the yeast to the warmed milk mixture and let sit for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Also, your rolls will likely require longer rises; one rise will need to be done after kneading the dough and one after shaping the dough!
Can I make these homemade monkey bread muffins with bread flour instead of all-purpose flour?
Sure! Just note that using bread flour will yield a slightly chewier monkey bread muffin due to the higher protein content!
Can I make these monkey bread muffins ahead of time?
Absolutely. You can cover and let the shaped dough balls rise in the muffin tin overnight in the fridge. Just let them sit at room temperature for about an hour, until puffy and not so cold, before baking as the recipe directs.
Help! My dough isn't rising! What's wrong?
Yeast has a "use by" date. As it moves beyond that time, it loses its oomph. Check the date printed on the package to make sure it's within its usable life.
If your yeast hasn't expired, then you likely accidentally killed it by adding liquids that were too hot. The ideal temperature of the milk/water mixture is between 115°F (45°C) and 130°F (54°C); I recommend getting an instant-read thermometer to ensure you don't waste your ingredients!
Monkey Bread Muffins from Scratch
For the Brioche Dough:
- 95 g all-purpose flour
- 7 g instant dry yeast
- 13 g granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 60 g milk warm (115°F [45°C])
- 20 g water warm (115°F [45°C])
- 14 g unsalted butter melted
For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
- 55 g dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 42 g unsalted butter melted
For the Vanilla Glaze:
- 60 g powdered sugar
- 15 g milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- For the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the milk, water, and butter, and mix until the ingredients are just barely combined. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, so the flour has time to hydrate.
- Using the hook attachment, knead the mixture on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until a soft dough forms. Increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until the dough is soft and supple and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft, but not overly sticky. Beat in 1 to 2 more tablespoons (8 to 15 g) of flour if the dough seems very sticky; avoid adding more flour than you need. If you do not have a stand mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball, then transfer it back to the mixing bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the coating. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Place the melted butter in a separate small bowl and set it aside. Spray a 6-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line it with cupcake liners and set it aside.
- Gently remove the dough from the bowl and pat into a rough 9 x 5–inch (23 x 13–cm) rectangle. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 32 pieces. Roll each dough piece into a ball.
- Working with one at a time, dip the balls into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture, then layer five to six dough balls into each muffin cup. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the muffins proof for 30 to 45 minutes, or until they are risen and puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Once risen, put the muffin pan on a baking sheet, and bake the muffins for 30 to 33 minutes, until they’re golden brown and measure 190°F (90°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
- Prepare the vanilla glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk, and vanilla bean paste until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the warm muffins.
- These muffins are best served on the day they’re prepared. Any leftovers should be stored, covered tightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
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