Monkey Bread Made Better

Monkey bread reinvented as muffins is the perfect recipe to add to your Christmas day menu.

Everyone adores monkey bread. Who doesn’t love the gooey mess of making it, almost as much as the caramel goodness of eating it? Truth told, when I leave the house for any amount of time, my husband makes monkey bread with my sons. He waits until I leave, because he knows the ovens won't be in use and he can sneak the tube of biscuits into the house. As a result, I never get to eat them, which may be part of his master plan.

So I came up with my twist on the classic, with chocolate tucked into homemade biscuits. I've baked them as individual monkey bread muffins to make them even more festive for a party or Sunday brunch.

Chocolate Caramel Monkey Bread Muffins
Makes: 1 dozen muffins
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Skill: Easy
Biscuits:

2 1/2 cups self rising flour (if you don't have self rising flour you can use 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon baking powder + 3/4 teaspoon salt)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chocolate chips, may need more for top
Cinnamon sugar topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Caramel topping:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream

To make the biscuits:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 12 muffin cups with papers or grease generously.

In a large bowl blend the flour and butter together until it resembles coarse meal, but there are a few pea-sized pieces of butter left in tact.

Add the buttermilk and combine until it is evenly wet.

Put the biscuit dough on a floured surface and press it together into a rectangle.

Sprinkle with more flour and roll into a 1/2 thick rectangle. Cut the dough into 48 even pieces. Place two chocolate chips on each and gently pinch the dough around the chips.

In a small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Roll the chocolate filled dough in the cinnamon sugar.

Place 4 of the small biscuits in each muffin cup.

Over low heat, melt the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup together in a small saucepan. Cook until the sugar seems to be dissolved, you will need to whisk to keep the butter from separating. Spoon half the mixture evenly over the biscuits.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle.

Remove the biscuits and top with more chocolate chips. Reheat the remaining caramel, and add the heavy cream.

When the caramel is warm and smooth, spoon it evenly over the hot biscuits.

Let them cool slightly before serving, but they should be eaten slightly warm.

Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day  and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day , studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com and on the site, www.breadin5.com.

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