Mom’s Monkey Bread, circa 1970

I wasn’t planning on writing another post before Christmas, but I have a hard time saying No to a recipe request from one of my brothers especially when they bring up food memories that involve our mother. My brother Sam wrote on FaceBook, “Judy, Mom always used to make those sticky buns using a cake mold with the centerpiece cut out. They were very popular.”

I really had to think back to remember how Mom and I made “Monkey Bread” in the Seventies. Remembering brought me back to a very nice place in our small childhood kitchen with the bay window over the kitchen sink in Bay View, Massachusetts. I was happy for the sweet memory and also for the challenge. Sam, here is my first attempt at making Monkey Bread, forty years later.


I struggled to find the right pan in which to cook this bread. An angel food cake pan with a non-removable bottom (“a cake mold with the centerpiece cut out”) or even a bundt pan would have worked, but sadly I couldn’t find either. Instead, I used a Les Creuset pot. It did the job. Do not use a tube pan with a removable bottom as the butter will leak out and make a mess in the oven and could burn your skin if the scalding hot butter were to drip on you.

It was nice to see that grocery stores still sell these five-pound packages of frozen bread dough all these years later. As a kid, I used to use them to make pizza dough. Be sure to take out two loaves about thirty minutes before you plan to make the recipe to allow time for them to thaw. No need to let them rise first.




2 loaves (2 pounds) frozen bread dough, thawed
1½ sticks (¾ cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts or raisins (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a deep 9 or 10-inch cooking container.

Mix together sugars and cinnamon.
Melt butter in a pan until just melted. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat.
Cut loaves into pieces as shown in the photo below.
Drop individual pieces of unfrozen dough into the butter and stir so each piece is evenly coated with butter.

Take each piece of dough and individually roll it in the sugar mixture.


Place coated pieces in the greased baking pan. Let rest for about 5 minutes. It does need to rise in the pan.


Bake for about 45 minutes. The dough will rise as it cooks. The top layer of dough will turn golden brown and be firm to touch when it is ready. If you don’t cook the bread long enough, the balls will be doughy even though the bread looks done.


Let cool for no more than five minutes and then flip onto a serving plate.



1 package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1½ confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Mix ingredients together until well blended. Thin with more milk if desired.


Serve bread with the cream cheese frosting on the side for spreading, or drizzled on top as shown in this gorgeous photo sent to me on Christmas morning by my Aunt Rachelle.

Merry Christmas to Rachelle and to all my brothers!

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog recipes. You can follow me @judyschickens on Instagram and Pinterest. I always appreciate when readers sign up to become a follower of the blog. Happy Holidays!

These are some of the recipes we’ll be making over the holiday weekend. Having the recipes online has turned out to be a real bonus in terms of assigning cooking chores and grocery shopping:-)

Cranberry and Hot Pepper Jelly Brie Bites
“Croatian Cheese” a Flavorful and Exotic Appetizer Made with Feta and Goat Cheese
Roasted Tamari Almonds

Auntie Martha’s Spicy Spinach (aka Spinach Madeleine)
Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberries
Grandma’s Italian Fried Cauliflower

50 Ways to Make a Frittata
The Biscuit King
Sorghum, Oats, and Cranberry Granola
The Navel Mary Way: How to Peel an Orange
Fruit and Nut Bread

Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie
Italian Ricotta and Lemon Cookies
Lily’s Red Velvet Cake


Follow my photos of vegetables growing, backyard chickens hanging out, and dinner preparations on Instagram at JudysChickens.

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© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.

14 thoughts on “Mom’s Monkey Bread, circa 1970

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