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Orange zest and tart cranberries are tucked into every nook and cranny between pillowy soft rolls in this Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Monkey Bread that will be a showstopper at any holiday gathering, whether it’s for breakfast, brunch, or dessert!
Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Monkey Bread
Every bit of soft frozen roll dough gets dunked in melted butter, rolled around in orange scented sugar, and then nestled into a bundt pan with fresh cranberries for this Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Monkey Bread that is sure to delight your friends and family this holiday season.
I wish there was a smell feature to go with these photos because the delish scent of this citrus and cranberry easy overnight monkey bread is just heavenly. Every buttery bite of sweet-tart monkey bread just melts in your mouth and tastes like the holidays.
It’s just as perfect for a festive dessert as it is for a centerpiece at Christmas brunch, which is how I usually serve monkey bread.
Monkey bread is a classic holiday menu item that I love because it doesn’t take too much time in the kitchen. Time which can be spent enjoying the company of family and friends, watching parades, wrapping gifts, trimming trees, or doing any number of the other festive activities we love to do during this time of year.
And it’s a great one for getting the kids involved since they can help with almost every step of the process to make this Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Monkey Bread, from snipping the partially thawed Parkerhouse Rolls in half (for older kids) to rolling the dough in citrus scented sugar (for younger kids).
What is Monkey Bread?
If you have never had monkey bread before, you have been missing out! Or maybe you just know it by one of its many pseudonyms such as monkey puzzle bread, sticky bread, Hungarian coffee cake, golden crown, golden dumpling coffee cake, pinch-me cake, or pluck-it cake (all names mentioned on the wikipedia page dedicated to monkey bread!).
But the name monkey bread itself comes from the idea of this sweet treat being picked apart bit by bit, just like a monkey might tear apart its food.
Classic caramel pecan monkey bread is made from a soft dough sprinkled with cinnamon, sugar, pecans, and lots and lots of butter. Once baked, it has a cinnamon caramel taste that is pretty near impossible to resist.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Monkey Bread
Rather than making classic monkey bread, I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite holiday flavors and do a monkey bread variation using fresh (or frozen) cranberries and oranges.
You could use dried cranberries if the fresh or frozen ones aren’t available, but I find that they don’t pack the same burst of tart cranberry flavor. And if you love fresh cranberries like I do, you also need to try these fresh cranberry shortbread bars I made last year!
I always make this the night before and let it rise overnight so it’s ready to pop in the oven the next morning.
- Cut 24 partially thawed frozen rolls in half to make the bites of this monkey bread more manageable. I find it’s easiest to work with frozen roll dough when it is still frozen or partially frozen so it doesn’t stick to itself.
- Roll the dough in melted butter, then roll it in a mixture of granulated sugar and orange zest.
- Gently toss 2 cups of coarsely chopped cranberries in with the balls of sugar covered dough, then transfer to a bundt cake pan that has been generously sprayed with cooking spray.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise overnight.
- Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 45-50 minutes, covering with heavy duty foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent the top from browning too much.
- Immediately invert the monkey bread onto a serving plate, then drizzle with a simple citrus glaze made by whisking together powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest.
Tips for Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Monkey Bread
- Don’t be afraid to spray your bundt pan really well with cooking spray, then be sure to invert the pan right after baking while the filling is still molten and hot.
- If using frozen cranberries, make sure they are completely defrosted, then chop them up a bit (I just grab a paring knife and slice a bunch of them in half) and squeeze them to get rid of as much excess liquid as you can. I’ve made the mistake before of just throwing the frozen cranberries in and they released so much juice that my monkey bread completely fell apart.
- To glaze or not to glaze, that is the question. Is the glaze necessary? No, definitely not. There is enough sugar to balance the tartness of the cranberries and create a sticky-sweet coating around each bite of monkey bread. Do I love the extra glaze anyway? Absolutely. You are probably making this Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Monkey Bread for the holidays or a special occasion. I say go for it.
More Sweet Breakfast Ideas You’ll Love
- Deborah’s Knotted Orange Sweet Rolls
- Glazed Apple Fritter Yeast Bread
- Berry Bagel Breakfast French Toast Casserole
- Homemade Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns
- The BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Pull Apart Bread
- 24 Bridgford Parkerhouse Style Rolls Dough, frozen or only partially thawed
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- Zest of 1 1/2 oranges
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, chopped and squeezed to release excess juices
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons orange juice
- Zest of 1/2 orange
- Cut each roll in half and set aside. Generously spray the sides and bottom of a bundt pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest. Melt the butter in another bowl. Dip each piece of dough first in the melted butter and then in sugar zest mixture. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the coarsely chopped cranberries to the bowl of sugar coated dough and toss to combine, then transfer to the prepared bundt pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise overnight until the rolls are puffy and reaching the top of the bundt pan.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, then bake the monkey bread for 45-50 minutes until the rolls in the center are cooked through. Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil for the last 20 minutes of baking to prevent the rolls on top from browning too much.
- Remove the monkey bread from the oven and immediately invert onto a large plate or serving platter. Whisk together the glaze ingredients and pour over the monkey bread while still hot, then serve for guests to pull apart while warm.
Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans if you would like an extra crunch!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 527Saturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 102mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 53g