This recipe for peach monkey bread is my celebration of the end of stone fruit season. I’ve gotten some especially good specimens this year, sweet, juicy and full of flavor without being mushy. Oh man, just thinking about it and I’m already sad, even though there’s still a few lingering peaches and cherries out there. I wanted something fun to eat, and what’s more fun than monkey bread? Little balls of brioche rolled in butter and spiced sugar, then layered with perfect peaches before being baked to perfection!
What is Monkey Bread?
Monkey bread is also known as pull apart bread, pluck it cake, Hungarian coffee cake and bubble bread, among others. It’s a soft bread dough rolled into balls and bathed in butter and cinnamon sugar before being baked. The balls stick together and form a pastry that is easily pulled apart with your fingers (like a monkey would eat.) The most common ways to assemble are to either roll each individual ball in butter, then cinnamon sugar, or to pour a sauce made of butter, cinnamon and sugar over the balls in a pan.
Making Peach Monkey Bread from Scratch
I grew up making monkey bread, or pick cake as we called it, from canned biscuits. I was in my 20’s before I learned it was traditionally made from yeast dough! This recipe uses a no knead brioche dough that makes it almost as easy as the popular canned biscuit method. To make the dough, simply stir together a basic bread dough and let it rise. Two hours later, punch the dough down and fold it on itself twice before refrigerating up to 5 days. That’s it!
The chilled dough is extremely easy to work with, not sticky at all. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut it up into 1″ cubes before dipping in melted butter, then a cinnamon and cardamom sugar mixture. Layer the balls with chopped peaches in a bundt pan for the traditional look, or use whatever pan you’d like, adjusting the baking time accordingly.
Icing the Peach Monkey Bread
Monkey Bread doesn’t always have icing, but I like the extra layer of flavor it adds. This recipe uses a brown butter cream cheese frosting that comes together in minutes. While the butter gets toasty and brown, cube the cream cheese and place in a bowl. Pour the hot butter over it, and let it sit for a few minutes to soften the cream cheese. Stir together until the cream cheese is mostly broken up. Do not worry that it looks curdled. When you add in all the powdered sugar it will come together in creamy perfection.
Easy Changes and Notes
-Not sure how to brown butter? Check out this great article from Serious Eats!
-If browning butter is more work than you want to do, make a simple powdered sugar glaze and add in cinnamon and cardamom for extra flavor.
-No peaches? Substitute nectarines for the same flavor experience
-No bundt pan? Use muffin tins or a small baking dish instead
-Dislike cardamom? Simply omit
-Short on time? The no knead brioche keeps for a week in the fridge.
-Looking for other stone fruit recipes? Why not try my olive oil ricotta cake with fresh cherries?
Peach Monkey Bread from Scratch
- 3/4 cup water
- 1.5 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 12 Tablespoons butter
- 3 eggs large
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3 cups peaches from 2-3 fruit
- 8 Tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
To Make the No Knead Brioche
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool to 100F
- Combine the warm water, yeast and honey and set aside until the yeast actives (the water will look foamy.)
- Combine the yeast water, melted butter and egg and stir to combine.
- Add the salt and flour, and stir until no streaks of flour are left.
- Cover the dough with a cloth and set in a warm place to proof for two hours or the dough looks about double in volume.
- Deflate the dough then give it two folds. This is simply folding the dough on itself in the bowl one direction, then folding again in the opposite direction.
- Place the dough in the fridge to firm up and slowly proof. It can be stored for up to 5 days before using, but will develop sourdough notes the longer it sits.
- Prepare a bundt pan, angel food pan or other pan of choice by spraying with pan spray.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and cut into 1 inch cubes.
- Melt one stick of butter and place in a bowl with room to spare.
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in another bowl.
- Dip a dough ball/cube into the butter, then roll in the spice sugar until coated. Place in the prepared pan.
- Repeat until the bottom of the pan is mostly covered with dough.
- Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the diced peaches around the pan.
- Coat and add more dough, then peaches, until both are used up.
- Pour any remaining butter and spice sugar around the pan.
- Proof for 1 hour before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place the pan on a baking sheet just in case there's leakage.
- Bake for 20 minutes, cover loosely with foil, then bake 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the dough seems mostly cooked in the center.
- Cool for 10 minutes before flipping over to remove from the pan. If it cools too long in the pan, the sugar will get sold. Simply rewarm in the oven to loosen the sugar if this happens.
- Cool a few minutes before drizzling with icing and serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Making the Icing
- Brown the butter over medium heat. Once the butter passes the foamy stage, pay attention since it will brown very quickly after that.
- Pour the hot butter over cubed cream cheese and let sit for 3-5 minutes to allow the cream cheese to soften.
- Stir the butter and cream cheese together. Don't be alarmed when it looks curdled. This is the easiest way to break up any cream cheese lumps.
- Add the powdered sugar and stir until combined and creamy. Refrigerate any leftovers.