My husband Nate grew up with a mother who always made monkey bread (that sticky and sweet breakfast or dessert made with pieces of dough dipped into butter and typically topped with cinnamon-sugar … yum!). She still makes it for us when we come to visit and my kids love it (as do I!). When I told Nate that my mom never made monkey bread, he turned to me with a pitying look and asked, “What kind of a childhood is that?!” Indeed!
All due respect to my mom, not making monkey bread is a cycle I’m going to break! As I often do for recipes, I called my mother-in-law to find out how she makes her version only to discover it is beyond simple to throw together. The kids and I decided to make it ourselves, with a twist!
My mother-in-law normally makes the classic cinnamon-sugar monkey bread, which we love, but we decided to modify the recipe and try orange-flavored monkey bread. Not only did it turn out delicious but it also was an awesome recipe for baking with kids. There were many helpful (and fun) tasks they could perform! There was even a point when I had to leave the kitchen and they kept on making the monkey bread without me. Imagine that … it was great!
Choosing the Recipe: Orange Monkey Bread
Besides swapping the cinnamon for oranges, the kids and I also made a few adjustments while working out the recipe and it came out wonderfully!
Rankings: Orange Monkey Bread is Dangerous … As in Dangerously Delicious!
Even my husband who can totally resist sweets (how do people do that, anyway?) took a bite of our Orange Monkey Bread and declared it dangerous. In addition to it being oh so good to eat, this is a marvelous recipe for cooking with kids of all ages.
Steps Where Kids Can Get Involved
There are tons of ways to get the kids involved with this recipe. Here are a few suggestions!
- Squeezing Oranges: No matter how old you are, squeezing juice out of the oranges is a task anyone can tackle, plus the kids love doing it.
- Mixing: As with most recipes, there is mixing involved and my kids always fight over who gets to stir. Everyone got a turn!
- Cutting Dough: For older children, they can help cut up the bread dough into pieces. My 10-year-old was completely in charge of this step and did a great job.
- Dipping Dough: My girls stepped in for the dipping of dough. They placed these pieces in the butter-juice mixture and then coating them in the sugar-zest mixture. I could tell they felt very empowered being the ones to actually put the monkey bread together.
- Zesting Orange Peels: I recommend NOT having the kids zest the orange peels. My 10-year-old tried and it was even tricky for her. The chance of cutting your fingers on a microplane is just too high, so it’s best for mom or dad to do the zesting.
With bread this good how can the tasting go wrong? It can’t! YUM!
I think it’s time we get down to the recipe!
Orange Monkey Bread
Makes: 8 servings
24 ounces white bread dough (We bought frozen Bridgford loaves of dough and used 1 ½ loaves — each is 16 ounces. You can make dough from scratch, but this is super easy and just as delicious.)
zest from 2 large oranges
2 cups white sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
juice from 2 large oranges (1/2 cup)
1. Put frozen dough in the refrigerator and let thaw overnight.
2. Mix together orange zest and sugar with a fork, combining well.
3. Melt the butter, then add the orange juice, mixing well.
4. Cut dough into 1-inch pieces. Dip each piece in the butter-juice mixture, then coat in the sugar-zest mixture. Place pieces in a standard-sized Bundt pan. When you’re done, the Bundt pan should be filled, halfway up. If you have leftover butter-juice mixture (you will), drizzle a bit over the top but no need to use it all.
5. Let rise until double in size, 1-2 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is a nice dark brown (but not burnt).
7. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
8. Invert onto a serving plate and eat. Watch out — the gooey orange glaze in the bottom of the pan will be hot!
9. You can leave the bread on the serving plate like this (bottom up with the glaze on top), or you can invert the entire thing again onto another serving plate, if you like how the browned “top” looks. It doesn’t matter, it all goes down just as tasty.