Beginner's Box: Sticky fingers a fun benefit of this monkey bread

Saimi Rote Bergmann

It’s tree-tapping season. When the sap is flowing, our thoughts turn to maple syrup and pancakes.

But Kathy Pucci of uses maple syrup year-round to add pizzazz to myriad recipes.

“I put it in baked beans. It’s my secret ingredient,” she said. “I put it on ham when I’m baking it. Brown sugar tends to fall off. I squirt syrup on it like a glaze.”

Pucci’s favorite secret is the addition of maple syrup to her “monkey bread,” a pull-apart bread made with ready-to-cook biscuits from a tube.

She starts by melting butter in a bundt pan (you could use a tube pan), then stirs in brown sugar, vanilla and a healthy squirt of maple syrup. She then cuts each biscuit into quarters and rolls the pieces in cinnamon-sugar before tossing them in the pan (a fun job for children).

After baking, turn the bread upside down onto a serving plate to expose the caramel topping.

“Everyone thinks you’ve created this marvelous wonder,” Pucci said, laughing. “It’s so simple.”

I tried the simple recipe and served it for Easter to rave reviews. To save calories, I cut the butter to 6 tablespoons and cut the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. I added 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the melted brown sugar before adding the biscuit pieces.

Pucci has also experimented with sprinkling finely chopped fruit such as apples or canned peaches amongst the pieces of biscuit.


1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar *

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tubes of refrigerator biscuits

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Melt butter in bundt pan in oven. Remove pan and stir in brown sugar until it begins to melt. Add maple syrup and vanilla, stirring well.

Mix sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg in shallow bowl. Separate biscuits, then cut into quarters. Roll each piece in cinnamon mixture and drop into bundt pan.**

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Immediately put a plate on top of the pan and invert. Wait a couple minutes and remove pan. Quickly scrape out the remaining topping and put on top of the bread. (It will harden as it cools, so move fast.) Serve warm. Yields 8-10 servings.

* Kathy usually cuts this to a heaping half-cup.

** After adding one tube of biscuit pieces, Kathy gently stirs to distribute the melted butter-sugar mixture.

Reach Repository Food Writer Saimi Bergmann at (330) 580-8493 or e-mail Look for Saimi Bergmann’s new food blog at