7:30 a.m. I’ve just walked through the door of my home in a small town in Indiana. I’ve just finished a refreshing run. As I’m kicking off my Brooks running shoes, I suddenly become aware of the smells encircling me. From the dining room, I can see my mom in the kitchen. She is rolling balls of dough and placing them in a bag filled with a combination of cinnamon and sugar. She gently shakes the plastic bag, removes the now-covered dough balls, and places them in a greased Bundt pan. My mouth begins to salivate. She’s making monkey bread. Exactly what I am craving after a long round of putting foot to pavement.
Every so often, this was the scene I would view growing up. It’s just one of the many memories I have of monkey bread and is involved with one of the many reasons I love the recipe.
1. Monkey bread reminds me of my family
About a year ago, I moved away from my hometown to Nashville, TN. And I am glad I did because I have grown as an individual in several ways since moving here. I continue to be amazed at the beautiful, hidden spots around town and look forward to more time spent exploring it. However, there are days when I miss my parents and my two younger brothers. I miss family game nights where one brother took things way too seriously and left the table upset at his loss. But I especially miss bonding over a slice of my mom’s monkey bread on Saturday mornings. When I make monkey bread for the new people in my life, it reminds me of home. It’s my way of letting others into my life and bringing them into my inner circle.
2. Monkey bread engages others
As my brothers and I have grown up, we have become increasingly part of the baking process. My mom puts us in charge of rolling the dough into balls and coating them with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. We have to produce the liquid sweetness that showers the dough balls after they’ve been placed in the pan. Monkey bread engages everyone – during the creation of it and even the consumption of it.
3. Monkey bread is a versatile treat
Probably the greatest trait of monkey bread is it’s absolute cooking versatility. It can be sweet or savory and the iterations are virtually endless.