The song: “Hey Hey We’re the Monkees (Theme)” by The Monkees (lyrics)
The foodstuff: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread (recipe below)
The connection: Is obvious!
Want a pizza bite? You’ll have to punch the monkey first!
As a kid, I was a ridiculous fan of The Monkees (the sitcom! and the boy band! back before there was such a thing as boy bands!), cheesy as they were. Of course, this was the ’80s (oh how I date myself!), so I met Davy, Micky, Peter, and Mike in reruns. In the ’90s, I fancied myself a hippie, and often looked as though I could stand in as an extra on the show. When I wasn’t dressing all in black lingerie, anyway. Twenty years later, and I’m still nursing a secret crush on…well, I’ll never tell. That’s what makes it secret!
I even have a little plush monkey that plays the cymbals while singing the theme song to The Monkees. It was a x-mas gift from mom – when I was 28 or so. Don’t wanna grow up, you can’t make me.
Fresh bread, in your face.
So I’ve been meaning to veganize the many Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread recipes I’ve seen circulating the interwebs, and Vegan MoFo seemed the perfect time. I mean, hello! Monkey Bread. The Monkees. Talk about your OTPs.
Though it’s a total pita to make (not difficult, just a little tedious), the final product is amazaballs – so worth it! Basically what you have are 48 or so individual pizza rolls, coated in margarine and spices, and baked together to form one ginormous pizza-cake-shaped-bread-thingie. If you have any leftovers (Doubtful! Shane and I polished off more than half the loaf – loaf? pie? cake? idk! – in one sitting), pop ‘em in the oven on a pizza stone or similar at 425F for about ten minutes. That’s just enough time for the cheese to get all melty and gooey again. Good as new!
The underside of the loaf is a delicious neon, much like your brain on carbs.
I actually made this dish twice. I keep telling myself that the reason for the repeat is because I wasn’t happy with the first batch of photos – but, if I’m being honest, I really just wanted to have Pizza Monkey Bread again! (But still, the second photo shoot? Way cuter! With a treeloot monkey and everything!)
Itty bitty baby bites! Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle.
Pro tip: Use AT LEAST six ounces of cheese! I trusted my pizza bread to the Follow Your Heart brand and, while there are plenty of haters out there, it melted like a charm. Any block-form vegan cheese will work, though: Teese, Daiya wedges, whatever. The first time around, I underestimated how much cheese could fit in a bite, and ended up with pizza bread tragically lacking in cheesiness. The cheese liquifies as it melts, thus taking up less space – so keep this in mind when considering the optimal cube size.
Hot oozy FYH action. (It really DOES melt!)
When in doubt: add more cheese! That’s my motto, anyway.
We’re just trying to be friendly,
Come watch us sing and play.
We’re the young generation,
And we got something to say.
You’re dancing, aren’t you? ME TOO!
Paint me like one of your french rolls.
Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
…for the dough
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
…for the pizza
~ 48 slices Smart Deli Pepperoni (about one package) or the vegan pepperoni of your choice
~ 6 to 8 ounces mozzarella Follow Your Heart cheese (less than one brick to one brick), cut into ~ 48 small cubes
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
vegan parmesan cheese (recipe)
2-3 cups marinara sauce, warmed, for dipping
1. To prepare the dough: stir the water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and salt, as well as any extra spices or seasonings. Stir in the flour until blended. Form the dough into a small ball and let rest in large bowl, covered loosely with a towel, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
2. When you’re ready to make the monkey bread, coat the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with cooking spray.
3. Pull off marble-sized chunks of dough and flatten with your hands. Top with a cube of mozzarella wrapped in a slice of pepperoni. To close the ball, wrap the dough around the mozzarella and pepperoni; pinch the edges to seal. Repeat 47 times (or until all the dough is gone), setting each ball aside as you work.
4. In a small bowl, combine the melted margarine, parsley, basil, garlic, and salt; mix well. Sample and add any extra spices to taste. Dip each ball in the butter mix and then place it in the bundt pan. Repeat until done. If desired, garnish with a bit of parmesan cheese.
5. Cover the bundt pan with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400F.
6. Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 400F for approximately 30 minutes, or until the crust is brown.
7. When done cooking, transfer the monkey bread to a serving tray. Enjoy with warm marinara sauce.
Chillin like an internet villain.