This cranberry orange pull apart monkey bread is balls of soft and tender dough coated in orange sugar and layered with dried cranberries, then baked to a golden brown. It’s a lighter alternative to the traditional monkey bread.
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There’s nothing better than monkey bread – you know, that loaf of pull apart bread that’s covered in cinnamon sugar and doused in butter. But traditional monkey bread packs a lot of calories, fat and sugar. I created a lighter version of monkey bread that you can feel good about feeding your family. I went with a more seasonal flavor profile of oranges and cranberries instead of the traditional cinnamon sugar, and I have to say, this version tastes as delicious (or better than) the original!
How do you make monkey bread?
To make this cranberry orange pull apart monkey bread a more wholesome choice for breakfast, I swapped out the canned biscuits with a homemade yeast dough. My homemade dough contains some whole wheat flour and is sweetened with orange juice and a touch of honey in lieu of sugar. If you don’t have time to make your own dough, you could use frozen whole wheat bread dough, but I highly recommend giving the homemade dough a try.
The balls of dough are rolled in a sugar flavored with orange zest and layered with plenty of Craisins® Dried Cranberries. We always have a bag of Craisins® in the house, my kids love them as a snack or a cereal topper and there are so many flavors to choose from. I also love that a 1/4 cup serving of Craisins® provides a 1/2 cup serving of fruit.
After the monkey bread comes out of the oven it’s finished off with a drizzle of orange glaze. My kids called this “doughnut bread” because it almost tastes like a doughnut. This cranberry orange pull apart monkey bread makes a great addition to any breakfast or brunch and is even a fun after school snack.
So tell me, what’s your favorite way to eat Craisins®? I can tell you my favorite – this monkey bread!
More breakfast recipes
- Baked Oatmeal Cups
- Strawberry Waffles
- Cream Cheese Danish with Fruit
- Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole
- Donut Bread Pudding
Cranberry Orange Pull Apart Monkey Bread
- For the dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons very warm fat-free milk (approximately 110 degrees)
- 1/4 cup very warm orange juice (apprximately 110 degrees)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons butter , melted
- Cooking spray
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Craisins®
- the zest of one orange
- 3 tablespoons fat-free milk
- 2 tablespoons butter , melted
- Fresh orange slices for garnish (optional)
- For the glaze:
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Place the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; add the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add the 1/4 cup orange juice and honey to the yeast mixture, stir briefly to combine.
- Add the flours, salt and 2 tablespoons of melted butter to the bowl. Stir until a dough starts to form.
- Place the bowl on a stand mixer that's been fitted with a dough hook attachment.
- Knead on medium speed for 5-7 minutes or until a smooth dough has formed. You can add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if the dough seems too stiff.
- Place the dough in a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray; also coat the top of the dough with cooking spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise for an hour or until it's doubled in size.
- In a small bowl mix together the granulated sugar with the orange zest.
- In a second bowl mix together the 3 tablespoons of fat free milk with 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Tear off tablespoon sized pieces of the dough and roll into balls. Dip the balls first into the milk-butter mixture and then lightly roll the balls in the orange sugar.
- Layer the balls in a 12 cup bundt pan that's been coated in cooking spray.
- Sprinkle the Craisins® in between each layer of dough balls. Repeat the process until all of the Craisins® and dough have been used up.
- Pour any remaining butter mixture over the dough.
- Cover the pan and let it rise for one hour, or until dough has doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the bread has thoroughly browned.
- While the bread is cooking make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and orange juice. The glaze should be a pourable consistency - you can add more orange juice, a teaspoon at a time if you need to thin the glaze.
- After the bread comes out of the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then place a plate on top of the opening of the cake pan. Carefully invert the bread onto the plate and top with the glaze and fresh orange slices if desired. Serve immediately, this bread is best warm.
OMG! This is so fantastic we can’t stop eating it!
Monkey bread is a childhood favorite, but cranberry and orange monkey bread is genius. I made this with some raisins too. It was so good I bookmarked this page.
This recipe calls for way too much flour. I made it according to recipe before I realized this and the dough was so unworkable I had to throw it out 🙁
I’m sorry you had trouble with this recipe! The dough is definitely on the dense side because of the whole wheat flour but it bakes up surprisingly light. You can always add a little more water to make the dough more workable, I usually add 1-2 teaspoons at a time if necessary. I’ll make sure that’s clear in the recipe. Thanks for the feedback.
What a great breakfast/brunch item for New Years Day! Looks scrumptious.
Dang I would have loved to use this recipe for christmas morning! I love cranberry and orange together, such a great combo!!
I want to reach right through the screen and grab a piece of that monkey bread. Cranberry and orange are an amzing flavor pair.
Oh wow, I haven’t made monkey bread in forever! I need to give this recipe a shot…the cranberries + orange sound like a great monkey bread flavor. Thanks for sharing! #client
Oh my goodness, this looks fantastic!
Oh wow! Your monkey bread looks absolutely amazing. Wish I could pull a big chunk of right now.
We are big fans of cranberries in my house and I’m pretty sure this monkey bread would disappear quickly in my house. I will have to keep an eye on the clusters when out…I think they would be the perfect kiddo snack.
Wow! I didn’t know they had fruit clusters now. My kids would like those. The pull apart bread looks fabulous!