Brie Stuffed Monkey Bread! If a cinnamon roll, a sticky bun, baked French toast, and bread pudding had a dessert-baby it would be this monkey bread. Don't ask me how four things could hypothetically have one baby. Or point out the fact that that desserts cannot procreate. Maybe I botched the metaphor.
Whatever. THAT is not the important thing.
Did you hear what I just said is happening right now?? We are making a DESSERT.
I’m breaking my food blog recipe "fast" (aka that little unplanned hiatus I told you about last week) with the holy grail of unapologetically sweet foods, Monkey Bread. Another in the -ISH category of the healthy(ish) food niche that this blog finds itself in around any and every holiday.
As promised, today’s recipe is a Valentine’s Day dessert. It’s sweet, it’s shareable, AND it even has red in it. Checks all the mandatory hallmark boxes.
And it is a labor of love (if say you’re making this solo at 10 am on a weekday like I may or may not have done when these pictures were taken). But it goes quickly when you divide the labor among many hands. Like say mid-movie marathon activity for Galentine’s Day with the girls (Parks & Rec die-hard fans where you at? If you have not already watched this brilliant ugly-belly-laugh-until-it-hurts show, I will excuse you to go Netflix binge every season ever. Really. Please go, NOW. I will wait).
Once baked it’s easy to enjoy sliced into neat wedges and served on little plates. Or (my preference) ditch the utensils altogether and just have at it. This is finger-food at it's finest. I have mixed feelings about that combination of words but it has never really been so fitting as when talking about THIS dessert right here, so "finger food" it is (okay, ew. I still kind of sort of don't like it. But there it is. I already wrote it. TWICE).
Thanks to the butter-sugar mixture - each sweet little pocket pulls away from the pack easily and once it does, it is a two-bite deal before it’s gone. Easy-eats for a crowd. Or enjoyed while sitting on the floor watching Doctor Who re-runs and look up to find you’ve eaten a large fraction of the monkey bread ring and there is NOT A SOUL in sight to blame it on except your own sticky dessert fingers. Oh well. Worse Wednesdays have happened. This is a judgment free zone.
All this recipe really is --> Ready to bake dough + creamy cheese + sweet & fruity filling (dealer’s choice – you can use anything vaguely like jelly // jam // fruit preserves // compote). All baked together with melted butter, sugar, and dried cranberries layered in between. You see why it's going to be good right? Butter + sugar alone would handle the whole dessert thing nicely but you add in a soft French cheese and it's GAME OVER.
Creamy, melty brie stuffed into little buttery pockets of biscuit dough. Biscuit dough that you thankfully did NOT have to make, by the way. But rather somebody else’s lovingly created pastry that you are cracking open and not thinking twice about it not being homemade. I used THIS one that I found at Whole Foods.
I had some leftover cranberry sauce needing to be used up, so I used that in this recipe. If you don’t have cranberry sauce (because you’re not a holiday hoarder like yours truly) then swap it for whatever jam you do have on hand, strawberry // cherry would be B-O-M-B in this. If you want to keep with the Valentine’s Day theme, just make it something ruby hued and roll with it.
RELATED: Whole Fruit Cranberry Sauce
The dried cranberries are my favorite part. The brown-sugar-butter mixture seeps into them, warming and plumping them up as it bakes. They get irresistibly soft and chewy like in fresh-baked cinnamon raisin bread.
If you don’t have (or don’t prefer) brie, then a little dab of cream cheese or even honey goat cheese would be perfection in this too. The only requisite is that it be creamy and pair well with something sweet. You can’t go wrong with that.
This is an easily customizable recipe where you can do what you want. Whatever you want. If you like things crunchy, layer in walnuts (or don't). Take the chopped biscuits and either stuff em all, stuff most (like I did), stuff half, or don't stuff em at ALL. Hate cranberries and hate raisins? Make like you're unsubscribing from an email list and OPT OUT. Whatever you do, just put it all together in a bundt pan, bake it, and you will not be sad about it. Or anything else for that matter while you’re riding that sweet sweet sugar high.
By the way, the reason why I didn’t stuff all the biscuit dough is because I really like having multiple textures in a dish.
OKAY OKAY. And because I got tired stuffing them by myself. Are you happy NOW?
No shame in my game. My laziness to finish stuffing the rest yielded accidentally incredible results. The small unstuffed pieces mixed in with larger, stuffed pieces makes for an awesome interplay of doughy // soft // gooey bits with the more bready // chewy sugar-dusted pieces. Like when you get those crispy corners of a cinnamon roll mixed with the soft, caramelized sweet center. Yes, THAT.
So…hah. Laziness FTW.
Brie Stuffed Monkey Bread
- 2 cans of ready to bake biscuit dough approx. 16 biscuits
- ¾ c cranberry sauce*
- 1 wedge of Brie rind trimmed**
- ½ c dried cranberries
- 2 tbs cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ c sugar
Brown Sugar-Butter Mix
- ¾ c brown sugar
- ¾ stick butter melted
- PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a non-stick Bundt pan. In a small dish, microwave the butter until just melted and stir in the brown sugar. Mix the white sugar and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) together in a Ziploc bag and shake until well combined. Set all aside.
- THE DOUGH: Divide the 16 biscuits as follows. Take 4 biscuits and chop each one into eight pieces. Place the chopped biscuits in the sugar & spice bag, seal and shake until well coated, remove from bag and set aside. Then take the remaining 12 biscuits and chop them into fourths (set these aside for the next step, these will be the ones we stuff).
- STUFF POCKETS: Using the biscuit pieces you set aside, press each one between your hands and use your fingers to pull the dough into small flat rounds, being careful not to rip the dough. Place a small amount of Brie and equal small amount of cranberry sauce in the center of a round and fold the dough over the filling to cover, pinch with your fingers to seal it into a small ball.
- LAYER & BAKE: Roll the stuffed dough balls in the sugar spice mix and place a layer into greased pan. Sprinkle half of the dried cranberries and half of the sugar coated dough bits from earlier. Then repeat this layer once you've finished stuffing the remaining dough balls. Finally pour the melted butter and brown sugar mix over the top. Bake for 30-35 min. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping upside down onto a plate to serve.