banana monkey, that chunky monkey

Now for my favorite part of the holidays: the desserts! Clearly, I’m screaming out for a job at Ben & Jerry’s because despite the chilly weather, all I want to do is eat ice cream, talk ice cream, and now I’m turning my fave ice cream flavor into a gooey, chocolatey bread.

Monkey bread is a classic holiday treat because 1) you pull it apart with your hands, and that’s just plain fun, and 2) it works for everything: brunch, dessert, kids’ parties, and, frankly, as a late-night snack after one too many hot toddies. But can perfection be improved upon? In my opinion, yes!

Chunky monkey bread might just outshine the original version. To me, the combination of chocolate, bananas and walnuts is like sweet heaven. Add in brown sugar and cinnamon, and all my holiday stress just melts away.

Chunky Monkey Bread

  • 40 refrigerated biscuits or dinner rolls from four cans (do not use buttermilk rolls)
  • 1¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1 12-ounce bag)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 ripe bananas, pureed
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut biscuits in half and push a few chocolate chips inside each half. Pinch closed with fingers. Give each a quick roll between the palms of your hands to form a round shape. Mix ½ cup sugar with cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Roll each ball in mixture to coat, and set aside.

To make banana-caramel sauce, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat until foamy, about 1 minute. Add in banana puree and stir until combined. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve, then let boil for about 1 minute.

Spray bundt pan with non-stick spray. Pour one third of banana-caramel sauce in bottom of pan, then sprinkle with ¼ cup each of chocolate chips and walnuts. Arrange balls in a single layer in bundt pan. Pour another third of banana-caramel sauce over, and sprinkle with ½ cup of chocolate chips and ¼ cup walnuts.

Arrange second layer of balls on top, and pour remaining sauce, chocolate chips and walnuts on top. Bake for 35 minutes, then let cool for 15 minutes, and serve.