Easy old-fashioned monkey bread recipes from the 60s

Old-fashioned monkey bread recipe

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Have you tried Monkey Bread? (from 1966)

Monkey bread is one of “The Things” in Hollywood and Beverly Hills right now. If you haven’t heard of it, bought it (like at the Farmer’s Market), eaten, made or served Monkey Bread within the last two weeks, you are definitely not in the gastronomical swim.

What is it? Where did it come from? How did it get the name? To each of these questions, there are several answers.

Basically, Monkey Bread is made up of 2 or 3 layers of small light rolls or biscuits, each section slathered with butter and then packed together and baked in an angel cake pan, a ring mold. or a bread pan.

It’s always served warm in the loaf, which is happily pulled apart at the table and eaten in fragrant, steamy, hot little hunks with more butter!

Originally the idea came, some say, from Louisiana. Not at all, others shriek, Tennessee! “[Silent movie actress] Zasu Pitts brought it back after a visit to friends in Nashville!”

As for the name, “It’s eaten as a monkey might!” That’s one explanation.

More widely-accepted is the theory that it was dubbed originally Monkeying-Around Bread. “Because monkeying-around is what it takes.” So says Ken Johnson, who is by day a post office official; at night, a dinner party caterer for the movie mogul set.

The Monkey Bread which he and his partner, Mary Louise Gresham, provided for a lavish dinner party was an airy ring, homemade of a yeast dough, light as brioche.

But when pressed for time, which is often, they make Monkey Bread from brown-and-serve rolls or ready-to-bake refrigerated biscuits.

Photo by Christinalanee via Twenty20
Photo by Christinalanee via Twenty20

#1: Old-fashioned monkey bread: Basic recipe

Provide yourself with 24 brown-and-serve buns or refrigerated ready-to-bake biscuits. Cloverleaf rolls are particularly good, but other shapes will do. Do not choose crusty rolls.

Break or cut each bun into 3 or pieces. Slather the inside of a ring mold or angel cake pan with softened butter. Roll each piece of bun into very soft or melted butter, covering all the surfaces.

Fit pieces closely and neatly together, lining the pan on the bottom, then making several layers. There should not be any holes between the pieces. Fit them as if you were building a stone wall.

Bake in a hot oven (about 425 degrees) about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

#2: Old-fashioned monkey bread: Sweet recipe

Follow the recipe above for pull-apart monkey bread, but after rolling the pieces in butter, sprinkle heavily or roll in brown sugar (light or dark) and, if desired, in crushed corn flakes. Sprinkle top with sugar, cinnamon, and corn flakes.

#3: Chatterbox coffee cake – a classic Monkey bread recipe (1965)

“What a treat for your bunch at Easter brunch — or any time! Try this light-hearted, melting good chatterbox coffee cake, and taste the delicious new flavor and appetizing new texture Karo [oran syrup] adds to food.”

Old-fashioned monkey bread recipes

Old-fashioned monkey bread recipe from the '60s


  • Rolled biscuit dough (using 4 cups flour) or biscuit mix
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine
  • 1/3 cup Karo corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup (for drizzle after baked)


  1. Prepare your favorite rolled biscuit dough using 4 cups flour or biscuit mix. Form the dough into 1-inch balls.
  2. Mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon; sprinkle 1/3 of the mixture on bottom of greased 9 or 10-inch solid tube pan. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts to remaining sugar mixture.
  3. Dip half the dough in 1/3 cup melted margarine; place on bottom of pan, just touching. Sprinkle with half the nut mixture. Repeat for the second layer.
  4. Drizzle 1/3 cup Karo Crystal-Clear Syrup over dough. Bake in 350 F oven 1 hour. Remove from pan at once and invert. Drizzle 1/4 cup Karo over top.
  5. Break into spicy “conversation pieces” and serve warm.

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Bake someone happy with this sensational graham streusel cake from the seventies

chatterbox coffee cake

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