A tasty twist on a classic – This Strawberry Vanilla Monkey Bread with deliciously macerated strawberries will be the star of any breakfast or brunch table!
I think it goes without saying, homies… June is all about strawberries. Plump, juicy, alternating between sweet and tart. My freezer is bursting with bags of strawberries, ready for smoothies and jam. Strawberries are in abundances and for the most part (at least for now), inexpensive.
Scroll through my recipe box and you’ll find strawberry recipes ranging from ice cream to cake to vodka.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Flow with me and let’s talk about this Strawberry Monkey Bread.
Monkey Bread. Pieces of yeasted dough dipped in butter and rolled in sugar, usually cinnamon sugar. These pieces of dough are allowed to rise and bake. The sugar melts into the balls of dough and it’s the shit.
As much as I love Monkey Bread, I thought it needed a makeover. Remember those shows where someone super frumpy would get a haircut, a new outfit, some makeup and become a whole different person?
That’s what this Strawberry Monkey Bread is. A whole different person… Um… Monkey Bread. Strawberries are macerated with a bit of sugar and a whole lot of vanilla bean paste. Dough rises and is cut into pieces. Uneven pieces because symmetry isn’t my jam. Those pieces of dough are rolled into balls and dipped into melted butter and then rolled in sugar.
I lined them in a bundt pan because it makes sense. The vanilla bean flavored strawberries are then spooned carefully over balls of dough glittery with granulated sugar. You add more dough.
Dough puffs up, saying it with its chest.
Sugar caramelizes. It’s a beautiful thing.
The monkey bread is inverted onto a plate and left to cool.
A glaze. Cream cheese, pureed strawberries, a bit of vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar. All of this is mixed and poured or drizzled over the cooled Strawberry Monkey Bread.
I like to attack it with a fork, one monkey bread ball at a time.
Maybe I’ll eat three. Or perhaps half this monkey bread will be gone before I come up for air. Slightly ashamed, overall super happy.
June is about strawberries.
June is about Strawberry Monkey Bread.
Get with that.
Strawberry Monkey Bread
- For the yeast
- Active dry yeast - 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet)
- Warm water (about 110-115 degrees F) - - 2/3 cup
- Granulated sugar - 1 tablespoon
- For the macerated strawberries
- Strawberries - 1 pound, roughly chopped
- Vanilla bean paste - 1 tablespoon
- Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup
- For the dough
- All-purpose flour, plus more for the dough - 4 1/4 cup, spooned then leveled
- Granulated Sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Dry milk powder - 2 tablespoons
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Whole milk - 2/3 cup
- Unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled - 2 tablespoons
- 1 egg, beaten
- Granulated sugar - 1 1/2 cup
- Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- For the strawberry cream cheese icing
- Cream cheese, room temperature - 4 ounces (half a block)
- Confectioners’ sugar - 1 cup
- Pureed strawberries - 2 tablespoons (About 3 strawberries)
- Vanilla bean paste - 1 teaspoon
Bloom the yeast:
In a small bowl combine the yeast, water, and sugar. Whisk quickly with a fork until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Allow it to sit for about 7-10 minutes until foamy.
Macerate the strawberries:
Rinse and dry strawberries. The drying doesn't have to be very thorough. Sprinkle sugar over the strawberries, add the vanilla bean paste, and mix to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the dough - Mixing by hand:
Liberally butter a large bowl and set aside, preferably in a cool place.
In a separate large bowl combine about 3 cups flour. To the flour add the sugar, the dry milk powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add milk, melted butter, beaten egg and yeast mixture. Stir this until a dough forms.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and begin kneading by hand (it’s therapeutic. You need this). At this point the dough will be very, very sticky. Continue kneading the dough adding about ¼ cup at a time of remaining 1 ¼ cup of flour. Knead dough for about 10 minutes or so until the dough is mostly smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky to the touch. I found the dough does remain sort of sticky and that’s fine. Shape dough into a ball and place it your prepped buttered bowl, turning a few times to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a moist, clean dish towel and let dough rise in a warm place 1 to 1½ hours until doubled. While the dough is rising prepare the coating.
Prepare the coating:
Pour sugar in a medium bowl and set aside. Melt the butter, place in a small bowl, cover, and set aside. Liberally butter the bottom and sides of a large Bundt pan.
Final dough prep:
Once the dough has finished rising, turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Press down on it gently to remove air and roll or stretch the dough with your hands to form a rough rectangle. With a pizza cutter or a knife, cut strips of dough lengthwise. Do the same in the other direction, so you’re left with at least 48-50 pieces of dough. Some pieces will be larger than others. It's cool. Size doesn’t matter.
Roll each dough piece into a ball, then dip each ball into the melted butter, allowing the excess butter to drip into the bowl and roll the ball in the sugar. Create 1 layer of dough balls along the bottom of the Bundt pan. Repeat with a second layer of dough balls, staggering the seams where the dough balls meet. With a slotted spoon, spoon macerated strawberries. Blot the strawberries with a paper towel removing as much liquid as you can without squishing the strawberries. Spoon the strawberries over the top of the dough balls. Add 2 more layers of dough balls over the macerated strawberries, again staggering the seams where dough balls meet.
Cover pan with plastic wrap; let rise at least 45 minutes until nearly doubled.
While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the dough has fully risen, unwrap the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until bread is a deep golden brown on top and filling is bubbling. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes, and then carefully invert monkey bread onto a serving plate. Make the icing.
To a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (a hand mixer and a bowl work here too), add cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Mix on low speed until the confectioners’ sugar is mostly incorporated into the cream cheese. Add the strawberry puree and vanilla bean paste. Increase the speed to high and mix until smooth. You can add more powdered sugar or strawberry puree until you reach desired consistency. Spoon or drizzle the icing over the monkey bread. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves about 10