My Chocolate and Cream Cheese Monkey Bread isn’t traditional in the UK but it should be! Made in traybake form for more even cooking, this sweet chocolate bread is really easy and fun to make. Its a sweet and sticky chocolatey treat with a tangy cream cheese filling perfect for little and big kids alike!
I made a double batch of the sweet dough I use to make my Super Garlicky Cheesy Tear’n’Share Loaf and Garlic and Mozzarella Swirl Buns to try making a sweet bread too. After a bit of internet browsing and cookbook perusing I ignored them all entirely and made this up from scratch – it worked wonderfully!
Monkey Bread or Monkey Puzzle Bread as its sometimes known is primarily popular in the US but originated from a Jewish-Hungarian pastry known as arany galuska. The standard US version consists of balls of dough, dipped in butter, cinnamon and sugar which is layered and baked. Cinnamon! Colour me surprised! That is never going to be my bag so of course I’ve made a more modern chocolate flavoured version with an extra element of a tangy cream cheese stuffing in each dough ball. If you’re short for time or don’t have any cream cheese to hand, there is no issue with just omitting the filling part of the recipe entirely.
I am aware that I have now basically repeated my recipe for this dough 3 times but I find it really quite irritating when following a recipe to have to keep flicking backwards and forwards to different blog posts (the same reason I put the quantity of each ingredient within the recipe so you don’t have to keep scrolling to the ingredient list). So, sorry, not sorry.
Makes about 40-45 golf ball size morsels
For the Dough:
90ml (6 tbsp) Water
2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast
500g Strong White Flour – I sometimes substitute White Spelt Flour
50g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread
140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk
For the Filling:
250g Cream Cheese
200g Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Drops/Chunks
50g Icing Sugar
For the Coating:
40g Cocoa Powder
80g Granulated Sugar
- I used my basic model Kenwood Stand Mixer* to mix and knead the dough with the dough hook attachment. Some electrical hand whisks* also come with dough hooks which I used to use in my pre Kenwood days. This is such a soft dough you could easily knead the dough by hand, it will jus take a little longer and be a little bit messier.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface but try not to add too much extra flour to the dough as this will dry it out. If it feels like its getting a bit dry, knead in a little more milk or water. You can alternatively use oil to grease the surface but be careful not to knead too much oil into the bread.
- You can just leave the dough to prove on the side in the kitchen but it’ll take twice as long. An airing cupboard or similar is ideal but I don’t have one so depending on the time of year, I usually put one of my ovens onto a super low heat and pop it in there – I’ve been burnt by doing this on occasion by being impatient and its started to cook the dough a little by having it on too high a heat. Don’t do this! You could also warm the oven a little, pop the dough in and then turn the oven off – just don’t keep opening the door to let the residual heat out.
Add 6 tbsp of fairly warm (not hot) Water to a small bowl and add 2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast and 50g Caster Sugar. Whisk to combine a little (it won’t combine properly) and set aside.
Measure 500g Strong White Flour and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Add 40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread, 2 Eggs, the by now frothy yeast and water mix and 140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk to the flour and stir until a dough is formed. The dough will be quite soft and sticky – this is a good thing!
Knead the dough until is it smooth and super stretchy – a good 10 minutes if kneading by hand, if not a bit longer – 5 to 7 minutes if using an electric mixer.
Leave the dough in a large covered bowl somewhere warm for about an hour to rise – it should about double in size.
While the dough is rising, make the filling by thoroughly mixing the 250g Cream Cheese, 200g Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Drops/Chunks and 50g Icing Sugar and putting it into the fridge to chill back down and firm up a little.
Prep the coating by combining 40g Cocoa Powder and 80g Granulated Sugar in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
Once risen, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and give it a quick light knead. No need for electric power here. Split the dough into thirds and roll each third into a long sausage to about the thickness of a 2p piece. Cut each sausage into about 15 pieces. The exact number is not cause for concern.
Roll each piece of dough into a very rough ball and place out on a floured work surface (you could do this in two batches if needed). Press each ball down a little and make a small indent in the middle of each to receive the filling.
Take the cream cheese and chocolate mixture and put about half a teaspoon into the indent in each dough ball. (I did this en-masse rather than one at a time as I wanted to make sure that my cream cheese mix was evenly(ish) distributed though all the dough balls.)
Pick up each piece of dough and wrap the dough around the cream cheese mix so that it is fully(ish) enclosed.
Roll each of the dough balls in the cocoa/sugar mixture and place into a large roasting tray, or two smaller ones, or one smaller one but double layers. Or a bundt tin – whatever you fancy.
Gently cover the tray and leave for about 40-45 minutes in a warm place to rise again.
Meanwhile, add a little boiling water to the remaining cocoa/sugar mix until the sugar has mostly melted and it is the consistency of thick hot chocolate. Set aside.
10 minutes before the end of proving, pre-heat the over to 200c or the equivalent.
Remove the cover from tin and drizzle the cocoa and sugar syrup over the balls then put into the oven. Check after 10-12 minutes and removed from the oven when all puffed up and cooked through (check a middle one).
Serve a little warm.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
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