Cinnamon Pear Monkey Bread Recipe

Whether you're a novice baker or a seasoned pastry maker, recipe developer Deniz Vergara assures that monkey bread is an approachable dessert (or breakfast or brunch dish) for your next sweet craving. This crowd-pleasing treat often starts with canned biscuits, but Vergara takes a different shortcut to Flavortown in her cinnamon pear monkey bread by using canned cinnamon rolls. She ups the ante by mixing in chopped pears, which are at their best in fall and taste great with equally autumnal cinnamon. However, you certainly don't need to save this recipe for the cooler months of the year, as Vergara wisely points out: "I don't think there is a wrong time to have any form of cinnamon rolls."

Before you start baking this monkey bread, did you know that there's a difference between a tube pan and a bundt pan? The latter comes in two pieces, has straight sides, and is prone to leakage, which you definitely don't want happening with your buttery, cinnamon-sugar coated creation. You can, however, make your own bundt pan in a pinch with a cake pan and weighted can. Once the bread's in the oven, don't take it out until it has a nice golden color — even though the sweet smell of cinnamon will make waiting difficult.

Collect the ingredients for cinnamon pear monkey bread

This simple recipe starts with canned cinnamon rolls. You will also need Bosc pears, plus three types of sugar: white, brown, and powdered. Add some ground cinnamon, butter, milk, and almond extract, and you'll be all set to start cooking.

Step 1: Turn on the oven

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Step 2: Grease a bundt pan

Thoroughly grease a bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (or softened butter).

Step 3: Cut up the cinnamon rolls

Open the cinnamon roll packages and separate the rolls. Using scissors, cut each cinnamon roll into 4 pieces, place them into a medium bowl, and set aside. (Refrigerate the packaged frosting for later use, if desired.)

Step 4: Mix the cinnamon sugar

In a small bowl, combine the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon.

Step 5: Season the pears with cinnamon sugar

Place diced pears into a medium bowl and stir in ½ cup of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Step 6: Coat the dough pieces in cinnamon sugar

Add the remaining cinnamon-sugar to the bowl of cinnamon roll pieces and mix until evenly coated.

Step 7: Fill the bundt pan with pears and dough

Layer half of the pears into the bundt pan, followed by half of the cinnamon roll pieces. Top with the remaining pears and a final layer of the remaining cinnamon roll pieces.

Step 8: Top the bread with melted butter

Pour melted butter over the top.

Step 9: Bake the monkey bread

Bake for 45 minutes.

Step 10: Prepare the icing

Meanwhile, make the icing: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and almond extract until combined. (If needed, add the remaining 1 tablespoon milk for a thinner consistency.)

Step 11: Cool the monkey bread

Once done, remove monkey bread from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Step 12: Ice the monkey bread

Carefully flip onto a plate and drizzle with icing.

Step 13: Eat the bread while it's hot

Serve warm.

What ingredients can I add to monkey bread?

Vergara describes this monkey bread as "so adaptable" — you can use her recipe as a template, but tweak it any way you like to make it your own. Vergara suggests using different seasonal fruits, such as peaches or fresh berries in the summer or apples in the fall, in place of pears. Feel free to switch up the flavorings to complement the fruits. For example, for blueberry monkey bread, you might omit the extra cinnamon and add some lemon zest to the sugar.

You could also use dried fruit instead of or in addition to fresh. Raisins would work, as would craisins or dried cherries. Nuts, too, would be a great mix-in for monkey bread, as would shredded coconut or chocolate chips. Consider supplementing the cinnamon with other seasonings, as well. Cardamom or ginger would taste great with pears, or you could even spice things up with black or cayenne pepper. If you opt for either type of pepper, though, you might want to start with just ¼ teaspoon. 

Whatever you add to your monkey bread, once cooled, it should last up to 4 days at room temperature if covered in plastic. To reheat it, Vergara suggests wrapping it in foil and giving it about 5 minutes in a hot (425 F) oven.

How can I flavor the icing that comes with cinnamon rolls?

If you're looking for ways to reduce food waste and want to incorporate a store-bought cinnamon roll icing packet in this recipe, Vergara says you can skip making your own glaze from powdered sugar and milk. Instead, just squeeze open the contents of the icing packet and mix it with the same amount of almond extract called for in the recipe. If the icing is too thick, you can thin it with a little milk or water.

Of course, if you're changing up your monkey bread with different mix-ins and seasonings, you might want a different flavor of icing, too. Whether you're using the store-bought glaze or making your own, vanilla extract would work as a substitute for the almond, as would a different flavor extract such as rum or lemon. Vergara also suggests adding citrus zest for some zing, while another option is to use lemon or orange juice in place of a different liquid.

Cinnamon Pear Monkey Bread Recipe
4.8 from 4 ratings
Turn store-bought cinnamon rolls into buttery, sweet and sticky monkey bread, baked with pears for an easy, fruity twist on this brunch favorite.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
8
servings
monkey bread with white frosting
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 (17.5-ounce) cans cinnamon rolls
  • 3 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and diced
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk, divided
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Thoroughly grease a bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (or softened butter).
  3. Open the cinnamon roll packages and separate the rolls. Using scissors, cut each cinnamon roll into 4 pieces, place them into a medium bowl, and set aside. (Refrigerate the packaged frosting for later use, if desired.)
  4. In a small bowl, combine the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon.
  5. Place diced pears into a medium bowl and stir in ½ cup of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Add the remaining cinnamon-sugar to the bowl of cinnamon roll pieces and mix until evenly coated.
  7. Layer half of the pears into the bundt pan, followed by half of the cinnamon roll pieces. Top with the remaining pears and a final layer of the remaining cinnamon roll pieces.
  8. Pour melted butter over the top.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, make the icing: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and almond extract until combined. (If needed, add the remaining 1 tablespoon for a thinner consistency.)
  11. Once done, remove monkey bread from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  12. Carefully flip onto a plate and drizzle with icing.
  13. Serve warm.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 730
Total Fat 23.8 g
Saturated Fat 8.8 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 19.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 124.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Total Sugars 49.1 g
Sodium 1,096.6 mg
Protein 7.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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