CARAMEL APPLE & PECAN MONKEY BREAD
What could be more perfect than a sunny, warm 85 degree day in late September? Brunch on the deck with all my little ones is the perfect way to kick off a lazy "home" day, and we have the perfect recipe to share with you today!
This started off as a crazy experiment that went terribly RIGHT! My kiddos are evenly divided about whether or not I should put pecans on caramel monkey bread, but it is Fall, and I had a nice basket of apples just calling out to me...when it dawned on me, Caramel Apples! Or better yet, how about Caramel Apple & Pecan Monkey Bread?
Is it a thing? Could it be a thing? You betcha!
So I did a bit of experimenting...and have come to a delicious conclusion!
Caramel Apples are good. Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread is wonderful. But add some crisp and fresh granny smith apples, tossed with cinnamon sugar, and add them to the mix, and this stuff is incredible! The apples bake up tender and fill the caramel with such a wonderful fresh-baked apple flavor - I was amazed at how simple and delicious these turned out!
And the apple fragrance that wafted thru the house while these were baking? It's the kind of thing that they try to make candles to smell like!
First thing I learned while tweaking this recipe is that you want to toss the fresh apple chunks with the cinnamon-sugar mixture SEPARATE from the flaky dough balls. The apples are just to juicy on their own and if you try to mix them all together you will not be happy...
So I layered the pecans in the bottom of my bundt pan, topped with half of the cinnamon-sugar sprinkled apples, half of the cinnamon-sugar dough, followed by another layer of apples and dough. Warm and thick homemade caramel sauce....cooled down just a tad, is then carefully poured over the top - and finds its way down between all of the dough and into the apples and pecans. Ooey, gooey perfection!
And ten minutes after I put them out, they were gone. Not a drop or crumb left!
Do yourself a favor a make a pan of these this weekend - you'll be glad you did!
And now, if you'll excuse me, we are in the middle of celebrating a sunny September day!
HOW I MAKE THESE:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or spray non-stick spray in a standard bundt pan (12-cup).
2. Make the caramel sauce: To make the caramel, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar, heavy cream and corn syrup. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Allow to bubble for 3 full minutes; remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Place 2/3rds of the cinnamon sugar mixture into a large ziplock bag.
4. In a small bowl, stir the apple chunks and remaining 1/3 cinnamon sugar mixture gently until evenly coated; set aside.
5. Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Add to ziplock bag and turn the bag and shake gently to coat the dough balls evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
6. Sprinkle pecans evenly over bottom of pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cinnamon-sugar coated apple chunks on top of the pecans. Arrange half of dough balls over apples and pecans. Sprinkle remaining apple chunks on top of the dough balls; spread remaining dough balls evenly around pan. Slowly pour the caramel sauce evenly over the top of the dough balls.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cover loosely with foil and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes or until the dough is baked completely (you can test by pushing in several of the dough balls near the center of the pan, and if there is no remaining “moisture” and the rolls are cooked through, remove the pan from the oven.
8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto a large serving plate. Keep the pan on top of the inverted rolls for an additional 5 minutes before removing – this will allow the caramel to thicken slightly and not “slide off” the top of the rolls. Serve warm!
Yield: 8-10 servings
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