It’s Monkey Bread Time of the Year

December 20, 2021 | Katy Moscoso

As far back as I can remember, food has been an integral part of my family’s holiday traditions. If you asked me what my mom would serve on a specific holiday, I could recite entire menus that I have carried into my own holiday traditions as an adult. There is something special about being able to make the same recipes that so vividly stick out to me from my childhood that made holidays extra special. A favorite dish at our house for Christmas is called ‘sticky buns’, commonly known as monkey bread.

Christmas Eve growing up was the same year to year. After returning home from our Christmas Eve church service, my sisters and I would get ready for bed and our mom would head to the kitchen, still in her church dress and tights, prepping for Christmas day breakfast. Sticky buns, or monkey bread, would have to sit overnight on the counter for the rolls to rise prior to baking the next morning. As I got older, I remember hanging out in the kitchen with my mom the evening of Christmas Eve to help measure the ingredients and rearrange the frozen dough balls in the Bundt pan. On Christmas morning, we would wake up to the smell of cinnamon and butterscotch flowing throughout the house.

As the years have gone on and I have begun making this same dish for my family, I have tweaked it a little and added chocolate chips or butterscotch chips to the pan for extra sweetness. Making monkey bread for Christmas day helps me feel connected to my family even though we are separated by 1,000+ miles for the holidays. Our new tradition is to send completed pictures of our sticky buns/monkey bread to one another to see how the dish has evolved over the years. My husband looks forward to Christmas breakfast, mainly because of my family’s infamous breakfast tradition. I envision my daughter, who recently turned 3, helping me in the kitchen after Christmas Eve church service this year to help me prep our monkey bread.

What dishes or scents bring about happy memories for you around the holidays? Please share your family favorite dishes with us!

Cheers to making your family favorite dishes during this holiday season!


Katy Moscoso

Katy Moscoso is a Program Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. As a mom to both a toddler and a preschooler, Katy loves trying new recipes that are quick and versatile. Cooking meals that can provide leftovers to fill her fridge and freezer is a win during this busy season!

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