Delightfully chewy low carb monkey bread smothered in rich caramel sauce and sprinkled with bacon. A real treat for kids and adults alike!
It’s funny how things that once seemed so strange and foreign can quickly become so familiar and normal. It doesn’t take long for the new norm to take hold and you begin to wonder how they could possibly have seemed so odd before. This is how I feel about low carb food and ingredients, and about the low carb lifestyle in general. All these alternative flours and meals and sweeteners were utterly foreign and quite bewildering at first. And some of their names didn’t help the cause – erythritol and xanthan gum sound much scarier than they really are. And when you first start to cook and bake with them, you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland, where nothing behaves as you’d expect. But you keep plugging away, trying this and that, researching your options, and it begins to come together. After a few successes with edible results, you begin to feel you’ve got the hang of it. And after a little while longer, you suddenly realize that this is the new normal and it’s a good place to be. And if you’re like me, you also realize you have no idea how to cook and bake the old way any more. If someone handed me some sugar and wheat flour and told me to bake some muffins, I’d be utterly lost!
But some low carb ingredients are still rather foreign to me, and although I’ve heard of them for a while, I am only just getting around to experimenting with them. I get in my own zone and I get used to using my own methods and my own ingredients. But I never want to stop learning and developing and teaching myself the art of low carb cooking. So I decided it was high time I played around with psyllium husk powder. The lovely Maria Emmerich, of Maria, Mind, Body, Health, is a deft hand at psyllium husk and uses it frequently. So does Sooze of Fluffy Chix Cook. And my first attempt with it was a flatbread recipe from Judy Baker of Carb Wars that turned out quite well. But I confess, I feel out of my element and not quite ready to branch out on my own. So for now, I am sticking with tried and true recipes from other people, until I come to know this strange beast a little better.
But you know me. I love to adapt and play and do things my own way. When I saw Maria’s cream cheese filled low carb Monkey Bread the other day, my little brain began churning. I really wanted to try it for my kids, who love conventional monkey bread (really, who doesn’t???). So I figured I could take the same dough and see if I could make my own monkey bread. I didn’t want to fill it with cream cheese, I just wanted to do the pull-apart style bread. And I love my own caramel sauce so much, I wanted to make that for the topping. And then bacon. Come on, now, bacon needs no explanation!
The results were really delicious, but they didn’t exactly follow what I had in mind. Pysllium husk powder is such strange stuff and it swells and makes things almost gelatinous. The round balls of dough I’d put into my bundt pan just melded together and you couldn’t really pull them apart in standard Monkey Bread fashion. And it had a slightly purple colour on the inside, which is apparently quite normal with psyllium. But boy, did it taste good. It was the best darn low carb Monkey Bread I could have hoped for! I did cut down on both the sweetener and salt in Maria’s recipe, and I am glad I did. The dough was sweet enough with just ½ cup of Swerve and the caramel sauce was plenty sweet for everyone’s taste bud. And the bacon. Come on, now, bacon needs no explanation!
Caramel Bacon Monkey Bread
- 6 slices bacon cooked crisp and chopped
- Preheat oven to 375F and grease a bundt pan well. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sweetener.
- Follow Maria's directions regarding the bread (I used only half the sweetener and half the salt), up to the point of mixing the dough together and giving it a few moments to thicken up.
- Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place half of them in the prepared bundt pan (you may need to wet your hands a few times to keep the dough from sticking). Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture.
- Repeat with remaining dough and cinnamon mixture.
- Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, until puffed and browned and a tester inserted down into the center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes in pan.
- While the bread is baking, make the caramel sauce. Combine butter and sweeteners in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook about 3 minutes. If using all Swerve, you may find that your caramel remains lighter in colour (you can add a teaspoon of molasses for caramel colour and it will only add 6 g of carbs to the entire recipe).
- Add heavy cream and vanilla extract. Mixture will bubble vigorously, this is normal. Sprinkle with xanthan gum and whisk vigorously to combine. Stir in salt.
- Let cool to lukewarm and then whisk in water to combine.
- Flip bread out onto a serving platter and drizzle with caramel sauce. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and serve warm.