A German take on the classic monkey bread – soft biscuits oozing with diced apples, sugar and cinnamon and topped with a sweet icing glaze. Add this to your apple favorites with Homemade Apple Cinnamon Toaster Strudels, Apple Cider Donuts and Paleo Apple Galette with Maple Drizzle!
Monkey bread is delicious, it’s filling, and smells amazing. But… it’s messy. And when your hands are all sticky and you try to pick up a glass of milk, now your glass is sticky.
And then you pick up a napkin to clean your hands and glass, and now your hands are stuck to the napkin, and it starts falling apart and it’s glued to your fingers.
And then you need to go wash your hands and finally just grab a fork to eat the rest of it and by the time you get back someone has stolen the rest of your monkey bread because you took too long.
However, apple strudel, doesn’t have this problem (stay with me on this one). I eat apple strudel with a fork or spoon – mostly because I consume massive portions in one sitting and it always has to be accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Eating ice cream with my hands would be difficult and awkward. So, silverware it is.
So, I started thinking that if I combined apple strudel with monkey bread, it would give me an excuse to eat it with a fork and not be judged. I also thought that if I made it in a loaf pan instead of a tube pan it would be easier to break apart since they’d just be slices and not little cubes you have to finagle to break apart.
I decided to cheat a little and take the easy route: I just grabbed a can of biscuits and the ingredients for the filling of my apple strudel.
Making apple strudel monkey bread
Side note: Is there ever going to be a time when opening a can of biscuits doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of me? I kinda figured by my 30s I’d stop being afraid of a can of pastry dough.
First, we need to prep the biscuit dough:
1) Remove all the biscuits from the cans and slice each biscuit in half. If you’re using the flaky kind, you might be able to just separate them in half with your fingers without much of an issue.
2) and 3) Gently pull and stretch each half-biscuit round to about the width of the loaf pan. They’ll be about twice their original size.
4) You’ll end up with a big pile of stretched out biscuits. Feel free to stack them into a weird biscuit dough tower, or lay them out on a flat surface.
Next we need to prep the apples:
1) Core and dice each of the apples.
2) Toss the diced apples in a medium bowl with freshly squeezed lemon juice – this will keep them from browning.
3) Add light brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and ginger.
4) Toss and/or stir to combine.
Now we’re going to cook the apples:
1) Add the prepared apples to a medium saucepan.
2) Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
3) and 4) After about 5 minutes the apples will have softened and released their juices. Remove from heat and let them cool and the sauce will thicken.
And now, assemble!
1) I find that starting out with your loaf pan (sprayed with nonstick spray ) tilted inside a cereal bowl helps a lot!
2) Start with a biscuit round, follow with a tablespoon of apple filling, and alternate like that the entire length of the pan (finishing with a biscuit round). As you start assembling further up the pan, tilt the pan a little more and let some of the liquid drain into the bowl.
3) Pour any of the liquid that came out back over the fully assembled loaf before you put it in the oven.
4) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the insides are cooked through. You can check with a toothpick near the center of the loaf.
And voila! A full baked apple strudel monkey bread loaf. Isn’t it pretty?
It’s going to be golden brown and crisp on the outside, but the insides will be soft and filled with mouth-watering apple cinnamon flavor.
And as far as I’m concerned, no form of apple strudel is complete until it’s topped with an icing glaze, so that needs to happen.
Making the easy vanilla icing
In a small bowl, you’ll combine powdered sugar, softened butter, vanilla extract and milk until smooth.
You want it to be easily drizzled on top of the bread, so if you need to add more milk to make it pour-able just add a little bit more at a time, stir to combine, and check the consistency.
Thoroughly coat the bread by drizzling it on with a spoon. If you’d prefer to use a spatula to spread it on, leave it at a slightly thicker consistency.
But really, how could you say no to that drizzle? You can’t.
That’s the answer – you can’t.
Now start tearing it into pieces and dive in!
When it’s served warm, it smells exactly like apple strudel – and tastes like it, too. Ooey, gooey apples covered in cinnamon sugar and vanilla glaze.
If you need to reheat it, just a piece or two in the microwave for 10 seconds.
It’s so. freaking. good.
You won’t even miss the typical crisp strudel pastry crust, I promise. Go ahead – grab another slice before you let others dive in. I won’t tell.
Oh, hell – grab the whole plate and lock yourself in the pantry and finish it off.
I’m sure you deserve it.
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Apple Strudel Monkey Bread
Bread and Filling
- 2 cans homestyle or flaky buttermilk biscuits
- 2 large apples or 3 medium apples, diced (I like using Cortlands)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup raisins, chopped (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened (borderline melted)
- 1 teaspoon milk, more if needed
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Bread and Filling
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cut each biscuit in half to double the amount of biscuit discs. Press each between the palms of your hand to flatten and gently pull the edges to stretch them out a bit. The goal is to get them wide enough to fit the width of your loaf pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss your diced apples in the lemon juice – this will keep them from turning brown (and adds a little zing). Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger and raisins (if desired). Stir to combine.
- Pour your filling mixture into a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat. Stir occasionally until apples are soft and sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- Hold loaf pan in one hand vertically and at a slight angle*, and place one of your biscuits at the bottom (flat against the side). Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling mixture on top of the biscuit, as much in the center as possible. Top with another biscuit and press the bottom and sides against the biscuit below it to help seal the filling and prevent it from leaking out the sides. Spoon another tablespoon of filling on top and continue this process until you’ve used all the filling and biscuits, finishing with a biscuit.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until top of the loaf is browned, about 10-15 more minutes or until the top is golden brown and the insides are cooked through. You can check with a toothpick near the center of the loaf.
- Let set in pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on a platter to finish cooling.
- In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, butter and milk and stir briskly to combine. You want to be able to pour the glaze, so add more milk to thin it out if necessary.
- Pour glaze over top of loaf in whatever way your little heart desires*. Serve slices warmed and enjoy!
- *I find that starting out with your loaf pan tilted inside a cereal bowl helps a lot. As you start assembling further up the pan, tilt the pan a little more and let some of the liquid drain into the bowl.
- **If you’d prefer to use a spatula to spread it on, leave it at a slightly thicker consistency.
- To reheat, just put the slices on a microwave safe plate and warm for 10 seconds.
This post was originally published in September 2015 and was updated for clarity and new photos in October 2019.