If you have never heard of Monkey Bread before, you haven’t really enjoyed life all that much.   It is a gooey, sweet pull-apart pastry that ranks among the best things a person could ever eat.

Especially if it is made with tea.

And so I present my newest recipe, Chai Monkey Bread.   It is infused with chai not just once, but twice – in both the bread as well as the yummy coating.

By the way, Chai Monkey Bread is at its absolute best when served warm.  Enjoy!

Chai Monkey Bread

start monkeying around!For the Dough

2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened, plus 2 tablespoons melted

1 tablespoon kama chai sutra

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 package rapid-rise yeast or instant yeast

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface

2 teaspoons table salt

For the Brown Sugar Coating

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

2 tablespoons kama chai sutra

Adjust oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

Heat milk to just below boiling, then remove from heat. Add tea leaves, stir and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and allow mix to cool to about 110 degrees.

In large measuring cup, mix together chai-milk mix, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

While dough is rising, melt butter, keeping on the heat until bubbles start to disappear (but before it turns brown). Add tea leaves, and allow to steep for 7 minutes. Strain. Mix brown sugar, cardamom and cinnamon together in second bowl. Set both aside.

Gently remove dough from bowl, and pat into rough 8-inch square. Using bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.

Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted chai butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. Roll in brown sugar mixture, then, layer balls in Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.

Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.