Have you ever heard of monkey bread? Well, neither have I until recently when I started thinking about an easy breakfast type of a bread that can be made quickly and without much fuss. Monkey bread, a pull apart sticky bread full of cinnamon and drenched in a sticky syrup, is one such option.
Most recipes for monkey bread out there start with a pre-made biscuit dough of some sort – this is fine, especially when you are in a rush, but most of these doughs are not gluten-free. Also: if you are paying attention to what you eat and how much salt and fat you consume, these products are probably not for you although most of them are actually vegan.
The recipe below is my attempt at making monkey bread that is gluten-free, relatively low on oil (and you can skip oil if you want an oil-free version), and full of lovely fruit and vegetable. To boost the flavors and sweetness, I am using pumpkin purée and raisins, and too boost healthy fats and provide a binder for the bread dough I am using chia seeds. Lastly, I am not using a great deal of sticky syrup – but just enough agave syrup to make this slightly over the top. This means that unlike monkey breads you may have had in the past this one is not dripping with gooey syrup, although it is sticky (and finger licking’ good!).
You can play with arrangements of the small dough pieces when you start to lay them out, and create any pattern you like. Traditional monkey bread is made in the Bundt pan. If you would like to experiment with that you will need to make several adjustments to the recipe below. First of all, you will need to prepare a different sticky sauce that is made from brown sugar and butter, and if you don’t want to use butter (vegan or otherwise), you may want to use a bit of corn or tapioca starch as a thickener. The sticky sauce would go to the bottom of your pan and dough chunks are layered one on top of each other. In that case, you will need to double the amount of dough from the recipe below and follow the instructions on how to assemble the bread here.
Gluten-free Cinnamon Raisin Monkey Bread
What you’ll need:
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup hot water
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup glutinous rice flour (or corn/tapioca starch)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
3 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable; you can skip if oil-free)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup), divided
Butter or oil for greasing the baking dish (optional)
What you’ll do:
- Cover the raisin with some water and leave them to soak overnight. If you are in a pinch and need them sooner, you can soak them in hot water and they should be ready to use within 15-30 minutes.
- When ready to make the monkey bread, turn the oven on to 350 F (175 C).
- Soak chia seeds in a cup of boiling water until gel-like substance forms. This usually takes 10-20 minutes.
- While chia seeds are soaking, mix together all the dry ingredients (flours and spices).
- In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: pumpkin puree, soaked chia seeds, oil, and vinegar. Mix well.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mix well, then add the raisins and mix again.
- Grease the bottom and the sides of a baking dish (8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm)). You can skip this step if you are using a high quality non-stick pan. Pinch smaller chunks of the dough (roughly 1/4 cup), form into a ball by gently rolling (don’t pack too tightly, the dough should feel loose but not falling apart), and start arranging the monkey bread by placing the balls next to each other. Let them touch but don’t press the balls together. If you can’t squeeze them all in, start another layer and continue until all the dough is used up.
- When all the dough balls are all arranged, brush one half of the agave nectar over the top, and bake for 20-30 minutes. The monkey bread is done when the surface is completely brown.
- Take the monkey bread out of the oven, brush the rest of the agave nectar over, and leave to soak and cool for 15 minutes or so before digging in!
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019