Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Monkey Bread (Pan Con Piloncillo)

Cuisine: Fusion
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Warm, sticky cinnamon and sugar in pull apart monkey bread with a sweet piloncillo (brown cane sugar) glaze.

Monkey bread, also known as puzzle bread is a warm and sticky dessert. There is never a bad time for monkey bread. Whether you need a sweet bread to serve with coffee at brunch or a fun dessert for the holidays, this is an easy recipe for you to try.

My Latin twist on this recipe is the addition of piloncillo. Piloncillo, also known as panela is a brown sugar cane. Although piloncillo resembles brown sugar, the flavors are much more like molasses. I got an assist from the market with an already prepared biscuit dough. And who hasn't experienced opening a tube of those uncooked bicuits? It scares me every time that tube pops open, lol!

Keep it simple with a few pecans added on top. Or take a little more time and layer chopped pecans and raisins as you build your layers. This recipe will soon become one of your favorite dish to serve and share.


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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your pan with oil, set aside.
  2. To a sauce pan, add the piloncillo, butter, cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange zest, juice and salt. Heat to medium/low. Cook slowly until piloncillo melts completely. Stir well to combine. Lower heat to the lowest setting and keep warm.
  3. In a bowl, combine the ¾ cup of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Open the biscuits and slice each biscuit into quarters.
  4. Roll pieces of dough in cinnamon/sugar and start layering around the edges of prepared pan. Space out the pieces of dough without compacting them too tightly. This will allow the biscuits to bake all the way through.
  5. Fill your pan, leaving a one inch space from the top. Pour ¾ of the warm piloncillo mixture all over the top and sides of dough pieces. Bake for 35-40 minutes to a golden brown. If biscuits are still doughy in the center, bake for a few more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes
  6. Carefully flip onto a plate until it releases from the pan. Sprinkle the top with pecans. Drizzle on the remaining warm piloncillo.

Chef Notes

Monkey bread or pull apart bread can be prepared in sweet or savory varieties. To ensure that the monkey bread bakes all the way through, layer the dough pieces out evenly. Do no pack them too tight in the pan. Add nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips in between layers for a fun variation.

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