Celebrity chef John Currence is a bit hesitant to share with me the secret to his delicious Monkey Bread recipe.
He has a sheepish look on his face when he finally tells me that after experimenting with different homemade biscuit recipes, he finally tried grocery store canned biscuits, which, naturally, worked perfectly.
It’s quite an admission for a Southern chef and especially surprising given that he has won a James Beard Award, but Currence has begun to own the story and has even included the recipe in his book, Big Bad Breakfast.
“We worked on this recipe for weeks when we got ready to open City Grocery for brunch service,” he writes about the dish in his book. “On the first test run, while not perfect, the Pillsbury Grands monkey bread blew any of the scratch biscuit attempts out of the water.”
Currence continues, “I firmly stand behind the conviction that there are moments when only the most ridiculous store-bought products will suffice. There are times when only French’s yellow mustard or the cheapest hamburger dill pickles will make a certain recipe work.”
The truth of the matter is that you and your guests won’t care who made the biscuits and as a result it is super easy to whip up a pan of his decadent Monkey Bread.
By John Currence
- .75 cup Granulated sugar
- 1.5 tsp Ground cinnamon
- .5 tsp Ground nutmeg
- .75 cup Chopped mixed nut topping (see Note)
- .5 cup Dried currants
- .5 cup Granny Smith apple, diced
- 2 (16-ounce) cans Biscuits, each biscuit cut into quarters
- 1.25 cups Firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a 9-inch round or square cake pan.
- Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag. In a bowl, toss the nuts, currants, and apple with 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture, then spread in the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Add the biscuits to the bag, seal the bag, and toss to combine well. Layer the biscuit pieces and sugar mixture evenly in a single layer in the pan on top of the nuts, currants, and apple. Don’t be concerned if the biscuits don’t fit perfectly. They will expand to fill out the pan.
- In a small saucepan, warm the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla over medium heat until it reaches a very low simmer.
- Turn off the heat and pour the sugar mixture evenly over the biscuit pieces. Bake until golden brown and puffed up nicely, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3 or 4 minutes, then turn out onto a large serving plate.
- Serve warm and pull off the individual pieces to eat.
NOTE: Chopped mixed nut topping is available in the bakery aisle of the grocery store.
Reprinted with permission from Big Bad Breakfast by John Currence, copyright © 2016. Photography by Ed Anderson. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.