Maple Pecan Monkey Bread
Maple syrup gives an autumnal feel and subtler sweetness to traditionally sugary monkey bread. Any grade of maple syrup works: B and C will give you a more robust maple flavor, while Grade A will deliver a more delicate, refined sweetness. Here, the syrup is mixed with brown butter and used to glaze extra-rich brioche dough rounds and toasted pecans. It all caramelizes together into a fluffy yet chewy pull-apart bread punctuated with the crunch of nuts. If you prefer a rustic look, you don’t have to roll the pieces of dough into balls. Just cut them into even pieces and coat with the cinnamon sugar. This recipe is at its soft and gooey best the day it’s made, but it can be kept at room temperature overnight and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
- Serves: 12 persons
- 3 ½cups/450 grams all-purpose flour
- 1tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 ½teaspoons fine salt
- 4large eggs, at room temperature
- ½cup/120 milliliters plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 ¼cups/285 grams unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), cut up and softened, plus more for the bowl and pan
- ¼cup/50 grams sugar
- 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1cup/100 grams pecan halves, toasted
Step 1In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt on low speed to blend. Add eggs, 2 tablespoons syrup and 3 tablespoons warm water, and beat on low speed until the mixture comes together. Switch to the dough hook and beat on low speed. While beating, add 3/4 cup/1 1/2 sticks softened butter, a few pieces at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue beating, scraping bowl and hook occasionally, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (If the dough doesn't come together easily after a few minutes and remains shaggy, dry, or tough, add warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a smooth, soft ball.)
Step 2Lightly butter a large bowl. Turn dough into bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently press the dough down. If it feels very soft or greasy, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until slightly firmer, about 15 minutes and up to 1 day.
Step 3When ready to assemble, melt remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until dairy solids turn golden brown and butter smells nutty. While stirring, add remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1 teaspoon salt in a steady stream. Bring to a boil, stirring, then remove from the heat.
Step 4Mix sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Butter a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and roll into a 2-inch thick rope. Cut into 8 even pieces, then cut each of those pieces into 8 pieces for 64 pieces total.
Step 5Gently roll a piece into a ball and drop in cinnamon sugar. Repeat until you have a single layer of balls at the bottom of the bowl. Shake the bowl to evenly coat the balls with the cinnamon sugar. Put the sugared balls in the pan and repeat until you have a single layer in the pan. Scatter some pecans all around. Repeat until all the balls and pecans are in the pan. Drizzle the brown butter syrup all along the sides of the pan and over the top of the balls. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until puffed and an inch away from the top of the pan, 30 to 45 minutes.
Step 6Heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover pan and bake until golden brown on top, 35 to 40 minutes. Put pan on a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Center a large plate over the pan, grip the plate and pan together, and quickly and carefully flip both together. Carefully lift off the pan. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.