Monkey around with the likes of canned biscuit dough, a stick of butter, and gobs of cinnamon-sugar, and you've got a mountain of fatty calories. I knew that the nutrition analysis of the traditional monkey bread recipe would show that-but 960mg of sodium per serving surprised me.
To build a better base, we give the premade biscuits a pass-they're high in sodium and contain trans fats. Instead (and here's where convenience takes a backseat to quality), we start with fresh, homemade dough, made with nutty whole-wheat flour and delicately sweetened with orange juice and honey. In place of the stick of butter, each bite is dipped in a combo of milk and butter, then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. A finishing drizzle of cream cheese icing sends this treat over the top in taste-with about 80% less sodium and saturated fat than the original.
13 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup very warm fat-free milk (120° to 130°)
1/4 cup very warm orange juice (120° to 130°)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 1/2 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined. With mixer on, slowly add 1 cup milk, juice, honey, and 2 tablespoons butter; mix dough at medium speed 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
2. Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Combine 3 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.
3. Punch dough down; divide into 8 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll into an 8-inch rope. Cut each dough rope into 8 equal pieces, shaping each piece into a 1-inch ball. Dip each ball in milk mixture, turning to coat, and roll in sugar mixture. Layer balls in a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 7 dough ropes. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.
4. Preheat oven to 350°.
5. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of bread; invert onto plate. Combine powdered sugar, remaining milk, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until warm. Drizzle over bread.
Sidney Fry, MS, RD, Cooking Light