Ooey, gooey, and bursting with divine pumpkin flavor, this Pumpkin Monkey Bread is topped with a simple vanilla glaze and finished with chopped pecans.
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One summer morning, my mom taught my sisters and I how to open a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and bake them in a round pie plate all by ourselves. It was a great day and a terrible day.
- The great part was spending every Monday through Friday in June rotating through the orange, regular, and “grand” varieties (if only there had been a Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting flavor).
- The terrible part was pulling them out of the oven, then spending the next 20 minutes fighting over who got to eat the most prized roll in the pan: The Middle Cinnamon Roll.
What we needed back then, to bring peace to our household, was pumpkin monkey bread.
Otherwise known as cinnamon roll bites or cinnamon pull-apart bread, monkey bread is a tasty treat that oozes cinnamon sugar in every bite (like these Cinnamon Blondies) and tastes exactly like the prized middle of the center cinnamon roll. PLUS, there’s pumpkin!
5 Star Review
“Simply scrumptious, and so autumnal tasting!”— Jaime —
I’m often asked my favorite thing to make. While choosing just one feels a bit impossible, when pressed I will often answer homemade sweet rolls. I love coming up with new twists (like these Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls) and the edible rewards are outstanding.
This homemade pumpkin monkey bread is my favorite sweet roll recipe to date (these Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls are a close second).
The pumpkin in the dough (a full cup!) makes the monkey bread:
- Insanely moist, tender, and rich.
- Taste of harvests, bonfires, and all fall things that are warm and wonderful (this Apple Bread is another fall favorite).
- Allow you to convince yourself that grabbing a second helping is okay (pumpkin is a vegetable after all, right?)
How to Make Pumpkin Monkey Bread
With every little fluffy dough piece coated in a happy layer of sugar and spice, a necessary drizzle of cream cheese glaze, and a shower of toasted pecans, pumpkin monkey bread is one of those sweet treats just calling to be picked apart by your fingers.
- Pumpkin Puree. Adds moisture, flavor, and a subtle orange hue to the dough. (This Healthy Pumpkin Bread is another pumpkin favorite of mine.)
- Yeast. A standard packet of your favorite instant yeast is all you need to make scratch-made monkey bread dough perfectly pillowy.
- Flour. This pumpkin monkey bread dough is made using a 50/50 blend of all purpose and white whole wheat flour.
- Brown Sugar. Sweetens the dough while adding a hint of molasses that accents the pumpkin beautifully.
- Butter + Milk + Eggs. Enrich the dough with fat to make it soft, tender, and moist.
- Cinnamon + Sugar. Dusts each ball of dough before baking and caramelizing into ooey-gooey cinnamon roll glory. (Only this Caramel Apple Cake rivals its gooey factor.)
- Spices. A marriage of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves deeply spice the dough and coating and make your kitchen smell absolutely divine.
- Pecans. Add a little (optional) crunch.
- Cream Cheese. Mixed with vanilla, milk, and powdered sugar to make the PERFECT glaze for this addictive pumpkin monkey bread (or this Banana Bundt Cake).
- Warm the milk and butter to 105 to 120 degrees F. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Add the warmed milk and butter and mix until smooth. Pour in the beaten egg and egg yolk, add the yeast, then mix until blended.
- Knead in the white whole wheat flour and all purpose flour.
- Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, greased with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, coat a large bundt pan with cooking spray and combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for the coating in a plastic bag. Set both aside.
- Punch down the dough, pinch off a small piece, and roll into a ball that is about 1 1/4-inches in diameter. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Coat each ball in cinnamon sugar (you can do a few at. time), and then arrange in a staggard pattern in the prepared bundt pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for a second time until almost doubled.
- While the bread rises, melt the butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan, stir in the vanilla extract, and pour over the dough once it has fully risen.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven, until golden brown. Remove, let cool in the pan for several minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.
- To finish, prepare the glaze by beating together the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour over the warm monkey bread, garnish with pecans, and serve. ENJOY!
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, yes. However, I have not tried this recipe with storebought dough so it would be an experiment. Plus, it would lack the pumpkin. I highly recommend trying the homemade dough. Don’t be intimidated by the steps or ingredients.
Yes! To make ahead, in place of allowing the dough to rise at room temperature, you may also place it in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and proceed with the recipe as directed.
I have not tried this recipe using fresh pumpkin, so it would be an experiment. However, you can likely swap for an equal amount of fresh pumpkin that has been roasted and pureed. If you try this recipe with fresh pumpkin, let me know your results!
Pumpkin Monkey Bread
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For the Dough:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup 2% milk or whole milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast 1 standard package
- 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or substitute all-purpose or bread flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or substitute bread flour
For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
- To make the dough, cut the butter into large pieces. Place the milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl or large mixing cup, or in a small saucepan. Warm in the microwave (start with 30 seconds, then increase by 10-second intervals) or on the stove until the liquid reaches the temperature directed by the yeast manufacturer (usually between 105 to 120 degrees F). The butter may not melt completely. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves together on medium speed. Pour in the warmed milk/butter mixture and mix until combined. In a small bowl, lightly beat together the egg and egg yolk, then add to the pumpkin mixture. Add the yeast, then mix until just combined.
- Reduce the mixer to low, then add 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour. Mix for 5 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and mix until fully incorporated. The dough will be very soft and tacky.
- Lightly coat a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, then place dough in the bowl, turning once to coat all sides with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon-sugar coating. Place the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large plastic bag. Seal tightly and shake gently to combine. Set aside.
- Coat a 10 to 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Gently press the dough down with your fist to allow the air to release. Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll them into individual balls that are about 1 1/4-inches wide (you will have 45 to 55 balls total).
- Working 8 dough balls at a time, place the balls in the bag of sugar and spices, grip the top of the bag to seal, then shake and gently roll the balls to coat. Arrange the dough balls at the bottom of the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough, staggering the seams where dough balls meet as you build the layers, until all are coated and placed in the pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To finish the coating, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Uncover the bundt pan and pour the melted butter and brown sugar over the dough.
- Bake the monkey bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown on top and the internal temperature of the dough reads 185 to 190 degrees F. Check at the 15-minute mark and loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil if the bread is browning too quickly. Let the monkey bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.
- While the monkey bread bakes, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla. Pour the glaze over the monkey bread, allowing it to run over the top and down the sides. Garnish with toasted chopped pecans. Serve immediately.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: In place of allowing the dough to rise at room temperature, you may also place it in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and proceed with the recipe as directed.
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