I wanted to try something a little different with my monkey bread recipe, so I was thrilled when I came across a Paula Deen recipe for monkey bread that included cream cheese! Although I tweaked my version a little by using frozen bread dough (thawed, of course) instead of refrigerated (canned) biscuit dough, her technique was the answer I was looking for! I didn't use walnuts in my recipe as Paula did (my hubby wouldn't have eaten it if I had done so). Also, I added chocolate to the recipe, which definitely pleased the taste buds of my (chocoholic) teenage daughter, Allanah! And, Paula used a full eight ounces of cream cheese, but I lessened the amount to only four ounces on our second run-though of this recipe. We found that using eight ounces was quite overpowering.
Paula calls her recipe "Gorilla Bread." So clever! If you'd like to watch a video of how to assemble these, she has one available HERE. I followed her technique for the most part and found the video very helpful.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) real butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, cold (1/2 of a normal block)
80 - 100 chocolate chips
2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed overnight in fridge
Allow the thawed dough to sit out on the counter for one to two hours (loosely covered) to come to room temperature and rise just a bit before beginning.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. (If you'd like to add nuts, now would be the time to add in about a 1/2 of a cup of roughly chopped walnuts or pecans into the bottom of the sprayed pan.)
Heat the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan on low heat. Stir occasionally until fully melted/combined. Cut each loaf of bread into ten equal pieces. Next, cut the cream cheese into twenty equal cubes. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Flatten out a piece of dough with your fingertips, then sprinkle with 1/2 of a teaspoon of the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place a cube of cream cheese and 4 - 5 chocolate chips in the middle of the dough. Wrap the dough around the filling, sealing well. Repeat until you've made twenty filled dough balls. Roll each doll ball in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, then line ten of the dough balls in the bottom of the pan. Drizzle half of the butter and brown sugar mixture over this bottom layer. Then, layer on the remaining ten dough balls. Pour the remaining butter and brown sugar mixture on top.
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes. If the dough begins to brown too fast, loosely cover with some foil.
Remove from oven, allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes and invert onto a large plate or round platter.