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Monkey Bread


The Chaston family has many Christmas traditions. Last year, I wrote about many of them: Christmas Pajamas, Christmas Eve Nativity, Christmas Children’s Books, Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Candy Trails, and Christmas Caroling. We also have our Christmas Cereal tradition. Each family member gets a favorite cereal just for them for Christmas breakfast–but we all share! This tradition had more significance when we were all little and only had sugary cereal at Christmas, but it still lives on. If “Santa” stopped bringing the Christmas Cereal, there might be an uprising on Christmas morning…

In addition to our Christmas Cereal, however, we often try a new baked good for Christmas morning, too. One year we tried popovers–my sister and I both got popover tins for Christmas–and they were mildly successful for a first attempt. Popovers are tricky, though, and probably should have been tried out pre-Christmas morning.

Well, this year, we’re getting a little smarter. For a fuss-free Christmas breakfast (cereal included) we’re trying out our baked good BEFORE the big day. And what a keeper this monkey bread is!

Now that we have grown wiser, we can keep those Christmas morning “my-baked-goods-didn’t-turn-out-right” blues at bay! So be wise, and check out “Good Morning Blues” from my new album Jazzy Christmas to You III. Trust me, you won’t be blue for long! (And try the monkey bread, too. It’s absolutely delicious!)

And remember, you can still download–for free–“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” at jillaine.com/JCTY3!

Monkey Bread


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups hot skim milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • Filling
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cup brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  1. Combine ½ cup granulated sugar, yeast, 4 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl stir hot milk and oil together.
  3. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture while the mixer is mixing just until mixed together.
  4. Stir in last cup of flour by hand with a large spoon. (If using a large electric mixer with a dough hook, add the last cup of flour and mix with mixer.
  5. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise until it has doubled in size.
  6. In a saucepan, melt butter just until it is pourable. Set aside.
  7. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  8. Line two standard loaf pans with parchment paper covering the bottom and sides of the pans.
  9. On a clean, floured surface, scoop dough out of the bowl. Roll dough into a large rectangle that is ¼ of an inch thick.
  10. Pour 7 tablespoons melted butter over the dough. Spread cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the butter, reserving 4 tablespoons for sprinkling over the top of the bread.
  11. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons brown sugar over the cinnamon mixture. Spread evenly.
  12. Loosely roll dough into a log.
  13. At a 45-degree angle cut the dough into one-inch slices. Then cut into the dough at 45-degree angle in the opposite direction.
  14. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter with your fingers over parchment paper up the sides and across the bottom.
  15. Place chunks of dough in each loaf pan and adjust the height to be even between the two pans.
  16. Melt last 1/2 tablespoon of butter then drizzle over the dough chunks on the top of each pan.
  17. Sprinkle remaining 4 tablespoons cinnamon sugar and 6 tablespoons brown sugar over the top of the dough chunks.
  18. Let rise until double.
  19. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes and check to make sure the center is no longer doughy.
  20. Remove from oven. Let loaves sit for 15 minutes in the pans. Taking the loaves out of the pans, place them on cooling rack with parchment paper intact. You can flip the monkey bread over onto a large plate also.

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About Jillaine: As a professional jazz singer who also studies law, savoring daily nosh with family refreshes me. You are invited to my table to try great food, hear tasty music, and join in upbeat conversation!

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