Making monkey bread lets kids do what they do best -- play with their food -- while they create something yummy.
For the bread:
- 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, plus more for pan and bowl
- 1/4 cup warm (110 degrees to 115 degrees) water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch for yeast
- 1 envelope dry active yeast (scant tablespoon)
- 3/4 cup warm (110 degrees to 115 degrees) milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the coating:
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
For the icing:
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
Lightly coat a 10-inch Bundt pan and a medium bowl with shortening; set aside. Put the warm water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle yeast over top. Stir; let the yeast soften and dissolve, about 5 minutes.
Place shortening, milk, sugar, salt, and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
Add yeast mixture to shortening mixture, and beat to combine. Slowly add flour. Knead on medium-low, 1 minute. Transfer dough to the prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place, 20 minutes.
Make coating: Place melted butter in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts; sprinkle 2 tablespoons nut mixture into prepared Bundt pan.
Cut dough into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll into balls. Coat in butter, then roll in nut mixture, and place in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate, and let cool 20 minutes more.
Make icing: In a small bowl, combine milk and confectioners' sugar. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over bread.