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Magical Apple Cider Monkey Bread + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

I have been counting down the months for the release of Jerrelle Guy’s first cookbook, , since last autumn! We’ve had a preview of the quality and beauty of Jerrelle’s work from her blog, , and her . Believe me when I say how difficult it was to choose just one recipe to share with you this week, from that amazing chocolate cake on the cover to her pop biscuits, plum chai pie, and onion and red pepper quiche. I eventually chose the Apple Cider Monkey Bread because we are still in winter — when a warming cup of tea and the spices that go along with apple cider just seem to fit. A quick note to our vegan readers: Jerrelle includes vegan options for most of her recipes, so you can also enjoy her baked goods! —

Why Jerrelle loves this recipe:  The first recipe I made using yeast dough was a monkey bread on Christmas. Those holiday mornings everything is desperate to be picture perfect — my family is frustrated because I force them into matching red sweaters in South Florida heat — and no dessert is cooked without cinnamon, so it’s hard not to inhale. The yeast and cinnamon from this first memory of monkey bread was triggered when I walked through the Boston Public Market and smelled yeast, cinnamon, and the tang of apples from their apple cider doughnut holes. These scents are linked in my memory now.

To win a copy of Black Girl Baking, respond in the comments section below to the following question: What baked good — sweet or savory — do you most look forward to during the winter months? Do you bake it yourself? Is it on a seasonal rotation at your favorite restaurant? Tell us all about it!

About Jerrelle: Jerrelle Guy, founder of the popular food blog , is a food scholar, award-winning food photographer, recipe contributor and Tastemade Tastemaker. She has been featured in Vogue, The Boston Globe, Food52, Instagram and more. Jerrelle currently resides in Boston, MA. Have a look at the loft where Jerrelle and her partner Eric create all the wonderful food for Chocolate for Basil. Find Jerrelle on Instagram at

{Photography by Jerrelle Guy}

Image above: cover, Black Girl Baking

Image above: Monkey bread in preparation

Image above: Jerrelle Guy

Apple Cider Monkey Bread

There’s a doughnut shop tucked away in the corner of the Boston Public Market not too far from Faneuil Hall. One day, I walked into the large building exhausted from a stroll through the rambunctious produce stalls at Haymarket, and might’ve passed by the small countertop had it not been for the glorious, wafting incense of buttery cinnamon and cider seeping toward my walking path. These people’s apple cider doughnut holes can and will steal a crowd just by turning on a ceiling fan. And I’m sure anyone living on our apartment floor will say the same about this monkey bread. I love knowing I can grab people’s attention so subtly. This recipe brings me back to my first-ever monkey bread Christmas morning.

Egg-free, vegan option

Makes one loaf

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water, at 115°F (46ºC)
  • 2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast
  • 3–3½ cups (360–420 g) white whole wheat flour, divided
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) warm milk
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup (112 g) softened butter
  • Apple cider coating
  • ¾ cup (150 g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp (3 g) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (60 g) applesauce
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp (56 g) softened butter
  • Apple glaze
  • 2 tbsp (28 g) butter
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) applesauce
  • 5 tbsp (62 g) packed brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation

1

To make the dough, add the brown sugar to the bowl of warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top, and let it bloom until a cap of foam forms on the top, 5 to 10 minutes.

2

In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine 2½ cups (300 g) of the flour and the salt. Mix on low speed, pouring in the warm milk, apple cider vinegar and bloomed yeast mixture. Add about ½ cup (60 g) more of flour and knead until all the flour is mixed in, you can help gather the dough together with your hands in the beginning.  Add the butter and mix until it’s completely worked in. Add extra flour gradually until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl. You may not need all the flour. Beat until the dough is smooth, about 2 more minutes.  Take the dough out of the bowl and place it in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm, dark place for 1 to 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.

3

To make the coating, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, salt and butter in a bowl. Oil a Bundt pan and drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 ml) of the coating on the bottom of the pan.

4

Once the dough has risen, punch it down in the center to release the air. Pinch off about a 1½-inch (3.8-cm) piece from the dough, roll it into a ball and submerge it in the coating. Place the drenched ball into the Bundt pan. Continue until all the balls are coated and arranged in the pan. If there is any leftover coating, drizzle it over the top of the dough. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough rise for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

5

To make the glaze, melt the butter, applesauce, brown sugar and salt together in a saucepan on the stove top or in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside.

6

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4) and position a rack in the center of the oven.

7

Remove the plastic from the risen monkey bread, and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through, and passes the toothpick/skewer test. Remove the monkey bread from the oven, allow it to cool slightly, and then carefully flip it out onto a serving tray. Drizzle it with the apple glaze, and serve warm.

Note: The bread can be assembled the day before and left in the fridge to slow rise overnight. The next day, remove the loaf from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before baking.

8

Vegan Option: Replace the butter with virgin coconut oil, at room temperature, or dairy-free butter, and make sure the milk is plant-based.

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Comments

  • Banana bread! I have a go-to recipe I’ve curated after trying many different “best ever” recipes. I love to eat it warm with butter in the morning with coffee or as an after-dinner treat with some chocolate and tea. So warming and cozy.
    But, for Christmas, I always make a ton of pumpkin log rolls. My family eats these cream cheese filled delights on Christmas morning every year and I give others away as hostess gifts. It’s my favorite thing to bake because it’s fun – I love making any kind of swiss roll.

  • I loved reading about another person that so deeply connects Christmas with cinnamon bread. Every holiday season my sister and I bake cinnamon swirl bread – the recipe comes from my Great Grandmother and we grew up watching my grandmother, mom, and aunt make batches and batches every Christmas season. In 2008, my sister and I lived together and finally joined in on the tradition. After wrestling with beginner’s mistakes of accidentally doubling the sugar during the first few batches we pulled it off. Now we live in different states, and I still make sure to get to my sister’s every December so we can bake loaves to give away to loved ones (and eating quite a few ourselves).

  • I grew up with pear trees in my backyard and my grandma always made pear crisp – so simple but so delicious!

  • I love my mom’s sour cream coffee cake. It’s got a hint of tang, is super moist, and has just the right blend of cinnamon (not too much!) and nuts. I could eat that cake every day, but the best time to eat it is during the holidays, when we share it with family.

  • This recipe has me dreaming of cinnamon and apples on a very sunny and crisp February morning in Oakland!

    My favorite winter baked good is my great grandma’s Mandel Skorper (aka Almond Toast). Thanks to my Swedish grandma, I grew up eating these and many other delicious almond-based treats, and I continue to bake these crispy, buttery rusks for each Christmas. While I can no longer eat them (all the wheat, dairy, sugar and, sadly, even almonds are a no go for me these days) my family will happily eat as many batches as I can make. As my immediate family has grown to include my brothers’ spouses and SOs, it is my extended family who are the first to ask for almond toast each year.

  • This book looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

    Every winter, I look forward to eating a big slice of Moravian Sugar Cake! I don’t bake it myself, but grab it from the bakery at Old Salem where they use the original recipe from Moravians that settled there in the 1700s. So delicious!

  • How fun! My favorite dessert to make in the winter months a cranberry cake, not too sweet, with a warm buttery, sugary, creamy sauce! I always buy extra cranberries at Thanksgiving to be sure I can make this cake all winter long!

  • My favorite winter bake is a yummy, vegan spice cake! I keep it special by baking it only a few times a year. Thank you for the chance to win this cookbook.

  • Banana bread is my ultimate winter baking recipe! It’s so comforting and reminds me of my dad, who made it all the time when I was growing up.

  • Christmas cookies during the holidays (shortbread, triple ginger) and my special melting mint moments for the superbowl.

  • I love baking my earl grey tea + dark chocolate + lavender quick bread. I can’t wait to get my hands on this cookbook!

  • Ooh! This is really hard because I love winter food sooo much and winter is such a nesting and comforting time for me. I always look forward to anything with butternut squash. I make a lasagna with butternut squash and goat cheese that I adore and I also make a pie with butternut squash as well. I have to say that I also look forward to the bread pudding with rum sauce that I make every Christmas too. I can eat it for days and days!

  • BEST!! Baked good during the winter months is the peach cobbler recipe last down through generations on my mothers side. It’s a blessing to be able to both make it with her and also to make it more recently with the young people in my life during the holiday!

    I haven’t found a crust recipe that is quiet as superior to that of my mothers, but have had some pretty great cobbler in Brooklyn!!!

    What a beautiful cookbook this is and how wonderful to honor the recipes and heritage of backers in the black traditions.

    My great grand mamas are hella proud and grateful! 🙏🏿🖤🥧

  • My favorite thing to make is king cake. My family is from New Orleans and I use my grandmother’s original recipe. It is buttery, cinnamon-y and not too sweet, perfect for either dessert or with a cup of coffee in the morning! Something about how I can only make it between January 6th and Mardi Gras (family’s rules!) makes it that much sweeter of a treat!

  • The baked good I most look forward to in the winter months would have to be a rustic galette with whatever fruit is available which is often apples I’ve kept in the crisper drawer or summer fruit buried in the back of the freezer. If there’s no fruit in the house I’ll make a savory version with caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. I bake this myself and love to nibble on a little slice as a snack or a wedge with coffee for breakfast. One local beloved restaurant here in San Francisco, Boulettes Larder, sometimes has a seasonal galette as well along with other impeccably made treats.

  • My favorite winter recipe is pretty simple…snickerdoodle cookies. They are my mom’s absolute favorite and she used to make them as soon as “cinnamon season” started.
    When I was in my first year of college, she had a couple of strokes. All of her baking skills disappeared. She is fully physically recovered now, but she has no concept of measurements and gets lost following a recipe.
    The snickerdoodle torch has officially been passed on to me, and years of careful teaching and advice are now all in my head even when she’s by my side asking me to explain what I’m doing. I like to think that the look on her face when the cookies come out of the oven now is similar to the one she saw on my face when I was little.

  • Bread! Making hearty, crusty bread to eat with stews and braised dishes once the weather gets cold is what I need to get through the winter.

  • Fat Tuesday buns- from the Beatrice Ojankangas Scandinavian Baking book! They are a yeasted sweet cardamom buns with almond paste inside. Truly delicious!

  • Hands down, pumpkin pie! The crust is the best I’ve ever tasted, a recipe handed down from my mom. This year, we grew our own sweet pumpkins in our backyard garden. These two ingredients contributed to an amazing pie…so delicious, I’ve made a number of them this winter ❄️ 😋 ❄️

  • This is actually a new one for me, but it has already become a seasonal favorite – chocolate babka! I had never eaten it before (I know!) until I learned how to make it just last year. The orange zest mixed into the dough smells heavenly.

    I follow Jerrelle on instagram and I’m a huge fan of her beautiful photography as well as her recipes. I’ve got her book saved to my amazon wish list, and whether I win a copy or purchase one it needs to be in my library. 😍

  • Winter month baking favorite? So many to choose from! It’s the best time for baking, warming the house & warming your tummy and soul. I think the win has to go to baklava though, my daughter requests it for her February birthday pretty much every year. That love tips the scales & who can resist the intoxicating aroma of rose water, orange zest & honey syrup poured over buttery phyllo, pistachios & cinnamon? Mmm, my olfactory memory is kicking in hard! Does this gorgeous book have scratch n sniff pages? I wish instagram did ;)

  • I love making homemade breads during the winter months, especially homemade cinnamon raisin. . So good and comforting on a cold day!

  • To me, winter baking is spiced apple everything. I’m lucky enough to live in Washington State, where apples reign supreme. And when I want to warm the house during the cold months, my most favorite thing to make is cinnamon-apple coffee cake with rum soaked, golden raisins, a hint of nutmeg and a black pepper crumb topping.

  • Winter baking is my favorite time for baking, possibly because southern Arizona finally cools down enough to warrant all that heat in the kitchen. More than that, it’s also the time of the year when my family gathers, eats and catches up. It’s become tradition now for me to bake a Bourbon Pecan Pie for these gatherings, a tradition that I am more than happy to indulge.

  • Just found an awesome Clementine Poundcake recipe. Tastes like summer, which is so refreshing in the winter. And helps me use up the Costco size bag of clementines i can never seem to finish. And makes the house smell wonderful!

  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies! :) A lifelong favorite… Now I make them with almond flour, but they’re just as good!

  • Probably not a traditional
    “Baked good,” but still baked, is my lasagna on Christmas Eve. I started making it for my siblings & myself once my parents moved away and we started our own adult Christmas traditions. Nobody wanted ham, so lasagna it was. Mine is an unconventional lasagna with cottage cheese rather than ricotta — and two types of sausage in the meat sauce. But when that red sauce gets simmering, and lasagna baking… it is glorious. :)

  • I love a good beer batter quick bread in the winter, a savory loaf with oregano and some type of cheese. I am getting back into yeast breads (made all my family’s bread for years) and love these recipes with the whole wheat flour. I am trying this out over a long (Presidents Day) weekend. And we are supposed to have snow, so this will be extra appreciated!

  • Old Fashion Bread Pudding, love it! I use a recipe handed down from my Aunt Bernita which is over 80 years old. Cinnamon makes me happy!

  • My mother makes an amazing gingerbread cake at the holidays with molasses that is just so so good and so festive! I really look forward to it when I go home!

  • My husbands braided almond bread that we only have at Christmas. The best part of the holidays is sharing it with my family.

  • Cinnamon swirl bread, baked by my mom– when we were kids, the Christmas morning tradition was to get our stockings, pause and eat breakfast, then do presents. I think it started as a way to pace us kids a little on the material goods, and the once-a-year cinnamon bread was something of a bribe, but it made the pre-presents part of the day the best part. Cinnamon bread, toasted and slathered with butter, plus any oranges, nuts, and (because rules disappear on the holidays) candy we wanted from our stockings. Total sugar rush.

  • MY favorite winter treat is bread pudding made from leftover croissant or brioche! That eggy pudding reminds me of my mom and her mom and now my daughter loves to make it too!! Needless to say I don’t make it as often as I want—gotta have room for so many other wonderful winter treats—>this Monkey Bread looks like it would be a good addition!!

  • I most like to make a chocolate beet cake in the winter. I make it myself for my family where it is a favourite.

  • My mother found a recipe for Swiss Biberli, a nut-filled chewy spice cookie with a glaze. They need to be made 6 to 8 weeks before consumption as the cookie must “ripen”. They are made with honey and have a very long shelf life. However, they were a lot of work and my mom lost interest in making them. My brother and I loved them so much that we started making them once every winter. We call them “The Cookie” — as in — “Is it time to make The Cookies?” One year my brother took some to work to share with co-workers. One person, Jim, liked them so much he asked for the recipe and it became a yearly favorite baked by his wife. My brother has been retired for a few years and has not kept in touch with people from work. Recently Jim called to say that although his wife was not able to bake any more, he had discovered a tin of the Swiss Biberli cookies tucked away in a kitchen cabinet. They had probably been there for over a year (maybe longer) but were still delicious. It was charming to be remembered for bringing a beloved cookie into someone’s life. And -no- he did not invite us to share the discovery.

  • My little sister makes monkey bread every year for Christmas morning. Jerrelle’s version looks delicious!

  • Oh, so hard to decide! I think I most look forward to our family’s version of a Swedish Kringla, which my mother made from my aunt’s recipe, which she must have gotten from a Minnesota neighbor, as we have no Scandinavian background in the family. Anyway, I’m now the baker in the family, and I always make this around Christmas and New Year’s, to much enjoyment. A short buttery crust, followed by a rich, eggy choux pastry, and then a sweet, simple icing as the only sugar source. We make it with either vanilla or almond, and love both versions.

  • I love pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and I feel like you can really only get away with making them in Fall and Winter. They bring about the most delicious smell in the house- pumpkin spice at its absolute best! Frosting them with a cream cheese glaze that melts over warm buns, making the center of each spiral a gooey, sticky, gift! On a cold, snowy day, there’s nothing like a warm cinnamon bun, a hot tea with a good book.

  • My grandmother’s sweet potato pie. Unfortunately she passed it to my mom and it’s been lost. I make a couple each season changing and tweaking them but I’ve not perfected it yet.

  • During the winter, when having the oven running is pleasant instead of stifling, I bake bread every few days. My favorite is oatmeal-molasses bread, adapted from the same Fannie Farmer recipe my mother used. I swap out the white flour for white whole wheat and often add some extra oomph in the form of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or flax meal.

    But I have a feeling once I make this cider monkey bread, it might be my new favorite.

  • I make potato bread cinnamon rolls for my family for christmas every year and I love the way everyone groggily flocks to them in pjs with hot cups of coffee while my niece pulls everyone towards the presents. This year we also made pierogi to honor my new brother-in-law. It went over so well with everyone that I think it’s going to be expected and highly anticipated next year.

  • Definitely pumpkin roll. My sister-in-law gave me the recipe. I always cook up a few pie pumpkins in October to freeze in 1 cup portions, and then make a bunch of pumpkin rolls for parties, hostess gifts or gift exchange items. I’ve tried other cake roll recipes and they’ve all been disasters, but this pumpkin rolls works every time like magic. It is a super simple recipe, but makes a beautiful presentation and takes delicious.

  • I make cranberry bread to bring to Christmas every year. I then get to trade loafs for my grandma’s zucchini bread, it’s the best! Also quiche… so much quiche.

  • My family tradition is to have cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning – we used to get Cinnabon, but in recent years I’ve perfected a recipe that’s even better. Just thinking about the gooey brown sugar insides that are also filled with chopped toasted walnuts and raisins, all topped with heavenly cream cheese frosting leaves my mouth watering.

  • In the wintertime I always look forward to making baked apples – no crisp, simply baked apples. But I love to use honeycrisp apples and LOTS of pumpkin pie spice. It’s cozy to eat in the morning for breakfast with some whole milk ricotta on top. In the evenings as a dessert I might add a splash of good quality bourbon like Elijah Craig and a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream. YUM!

  • I look forward to Eileen’s Bakery almond roll from Buffalo, NY. It’s such a comfort food, especially because I’m visiting my family. Nana and Papa have to buy 3 now – 2 to share and 1 for my 14 yr old son!

  • Every year, I look forward to eating “cuernitos”, a traditional Mexican Shortbread cookie! I make it only during the wintertime with my family, since it’s a family recipe we can only find at my mother’s house. It always takes me back to my childhood!

  • I grew up in MN, but now live in CO. Growing up, my family made lefse for Thanksgiving and Christmas. As child, I couldn’t eat it without butter and sugar, but as I’ve gotten older, butter is all it needs. It was, is, my all time favorite ‘appetizer’ over the holidays! For the years we don’t make it back to MN for the holidays, my family ships me fresh made lefse. The first bite brings me right back into my grama’s kitchen surrounded by all of my cousins, who were also devouring the home made lefse.

  • Every Christmas, my mom makes the same coffee cake. She used to make it for our teachers as a holiday gift. It has a cream cheese filling and always reminds me of home and family. As an adult, the thing I’ve been most excited to bake every winter is a treat for our annual Galentine’s Day Bookclub brunch. It’s not the same every year, but I love baking for those I love. This year I made cinnamon rolls with a browned butter vanilla frosting, it was heaven!

  • Every year I get together with 2 girlfriends and we have a full day of cookie baking. At the end, we EACH have at least a batch of 6 or more different cookies, which are usually gifted to friends, coworkers, and neighbors. My friend’s mom’s oatmeal fudge bars are always a crowd favorite – the cookie bake is always the first time I make them each season, but they’re the best hostess gifts, potluck additions, and winter indulgences all season long to bake!

  • I love making sweet breads (like pumpkin and cinnamon) in the winter months. My husband is a rare kinda and loves baking breads and cakes! We make them together and it’s such a fun and sweet time :)

  • Sweet potato pie! I make 2 every year, its the recipe my Grandma taught me that has no measurements, you just know ;)

  • I like baking bread in the winter months when time isn’t so precious. In the spring and fall the kids are in so many activities that it doesn’t leave time to “play” in the kitchen. My favorite bread to make is sourdough and lately I’ve been getting much better at the process, turning out some pretty good loaves!

  • I love to make a triple batch of pumpkin bread which leaves me one to eat, one to freeze, and one to give away!

  • Every Christmas my mom makes cinnamon buns for us and all the neighbors, it is the best tradition and everyone looks forward to it (especially me!) It isn’t Christmas without those buns, and come November all the neighbors start dropping my mom hints to make sure she does not forget them!

  • One of my favorite recipes is Lemon Blueberry Buckle from the Rustic Fruit Desserts cookbook.
    I use last summer’s blueberries from my freezer, and the citrus is so refreshing during the dark of winter.

  • We bake two standards at Christmas – my grandmother’s sweet cinnamon rolls (pans and pans, just like she did) and my mom’s sour cream pecan coffeecake. They both work as breakfast, snacks, and desserts in our home.

  • Auntie Mimo’s Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Pie Cake. Fifty years ago, newly married in VT, my husband would buy the Boston Globe for the Sports section. Once a week on Wednesdays there’d be a Home section which included the column, Chatter Line. Homemakers would submit questions (and answers to questions posed), favorite recipes, household hints, etc.—-these became invaluable to me. Auntie Mimo’s recipes were always clipped and saved–and I always wondered WHO she was!). I still have the original! This recipe is one that has become a family favorite and has been shared many times over the years.

  • I love baking bread during the winter -a variety of whole grain flours, flax seed, whatever nuts I’ve got on hand — it all goes in the mixer and a few hours later the kitchen smells divine. Slather on some European butter and serve it with soup and I’m a happy gal.

  • A winter month with 4 family birthdays in it? Yep — many cakes to make that month but the one that absolutely must be made during those 31 days each year is a light and lovely cheesecake, made with sieved cottage cheese rather than cream cheese and flavored with lots of lemon zest. I use my mother’s recipe from the 1950s, and I look forward to passing it on to my daughter and daughter-in-law and my grandchildren.

  • I make babka bread using golden raisons for my family at Easter. It reminds me of my Polish grandmother. Babka is a Polish word for grandmother.

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