I remember the first time I heard of monkey bread, I was totally perplexed by the name and was worried it had a monkey in it! My mom was getting all the ingredients for it and I was just so confused about what it was! She said it was just cinnamon-like bread but in my 11-year-old head I didn’t get what monkeys had to do with it. The next morning, we had the monkey bread for breakfast and oh my! It was delicious! It certainly didn’t taste like there were any monkeys in it! As delicious as it was, I still wondered why is it called monkey bread?
The name for monkey bread doesn’t have a clear origin but there are quite a few theories. One of the theories comes from the bread appearance, some believed the little pieces of dough stacked on top of each other looked like a barrel of monkeys. I don’t really see that one, but it could be!
Another theory is that the name comes from a 1940’s southern slang term for snack food, “monkey food.” This term combined with jumble bread may have been how the breakfast food got its name. The last theory is that silent movie star, ZaSu Pitts coined the term when she did an interview for Culinary Clinic in 1945. She was widely known for cooking in her pass time.
While the origin of the name for monkey bread is unclear, the popularity of this bread is not. By the 1950’s, this recipe was very popular with housewives across the country and was usually only made in homes. California was the only place that you could find monkey bread in a bakery. And that’s just what Nancy and Ronald Reagan did! They loved monkey bread so much that they would order monkey bread every Christmas. Nancy enjoyed it to the point that when Ronald was elected as president in 1981, they made monkey bread the traditional Christmas dish during their time in the White House.
While there are several dishes out here that are like monkey bread, there is no exact match to monkey bread. This dish is unique in that it's already cut up for you, it’s a little crispy on the outside, and soft and cinnamony-yummy (yes, cinnamony-yummy!) on the inside. It has a very distinct flavor and is great during breakfast time! It is definitely one of my favorite breakfast treats!
Tell me about your favorite breakfast treat! Why do you think it is called monkey bread? Follow me on Instagram for more about baking history and the girl behind Sprinkles of History!
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- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 3 cans of non-flaky biscuit dough, I used the Pillsbury Grands, non flaky.
- 3 tbsp. of cinnamon
- 2 sticks of butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Open the packages of biscuts and cut them into quarters.
- In a gallon size ziplock bag, like this one Ziploc Storage Bags, Gallon, Mega Pack, 150 ct (2 Pack, 75 ct) pour one cup of granulated sugar and 3 tbsp. of cinnamon. Give it a shake!
- Place the dough pieces in the ziplock bag and seal it well. Now shake the sugar/cinnamon mixture around so that you coat each piece of dough.
- Put the covered pieces of dough into an ungreased bundt pan, I used this one Nordic Ware Pro Cast Original Bundt Pan, 12 Cup
- In a medium sauce pan, place your 2 sticks of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Let them melt together until they are combined.
- Pour the mixture over the dough pieces in the budnt pan. It might look like alot but it is okay!
- Put your bundt pan in the oven and bake your monkey bread for 40-50 mins.
- Once it has a good amount of browning on top, remove it from the oven and let it sit for about 15 mins before serving, if you can resist! I couldn't and burned my tounge a little!