Paleo Monkey Bread for GFE’s Home for the Holidays


This recipe and post are for Shirley of Gluten Free Easily‘s Home for the Holidays, Gluten-Free Style blogging event. The cast of characters for this event are nothing less than phenomenal.  Use this opportunity to scope out some new sites that might not be strict Paleo, but are wonderful resources for living the lifestyle. I feel like Spider-man teaming up with the Avengers and the X-Men! But instead of defeating Galactus, we’re giving away a TON of stuff! Refer to the below for the list of bloggers and giveaways, including the THREE items we’re giving away too.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is busy for everyone, but even more so for us than other people. Not only do we have the best holiday on Earth to kick it off, Thanksgiving, and other holidays with meals to host, gifts to give, parties to attend and all that jazz, but we also have at least 6 birthdays as well! In fact, today is Stacy’s dad’s and sister’s birthday. How crazy is that?! It helps, in such circumstances to have go-to traditions that will work every year. And, of course, my favorite traditions can be performed in the kitchen!

When Stacy and I started sharing our lives, one of my favorite traditions she brought was having monkey bread before we opened gifts on Christmas morning (followed after by a huge brunch). Ever had it? Despite the dubious name, monkey bread is normally balls of biscuit rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked in gads of gooey syrup. The recipe we inherited from Stacy’s mom (and her mother before her as well) involved using canned Pillsbury biscuits (it says the brand name, yes) quartered and then rolled into balls.

Last year, after 2 failed attempts at our own gluten-free version, we just made it the traditional way for visiting family and didn’t partake ourselves. This year, we knew we could figure it out if we tried enough. On Thanksgiving we told family we were working on the recipe and the room got quietly serious. They threatened to not come over if we didn’t make it! Then Stacy’s sister said, “No, it’s fine, I’ll just sneak in my own.”

Monkey bread is serious business in this family. I think if there were one recipe that says Home for the Holidays for us, this is undoubtedly it. It took a LOT of testing to get us satisfied, but the end result is even better than the original monkey bread, according to Matt’s brother – a gluten loving basement dwelling 20-something. We’re thrilled to have figured out a version that won’t make all of our tummies sick when we want to be feeling jolly on Christmas morning.

Warning: this recipe is about 95% sugar. It’s not a health food – but, it gives us a feeling of nostalgia and once a year in a small portion will be a WONDERFUL treat. I wouldn’t bake it if you don’t have a full house… it’s troublesomely addictive. Make it at your own risk!

Monkey Bread


2/3 C fresh medjool dates, pureed
1/2 C coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vanilla

2 1/2 C (divided) almond flour
1 C tapioca flour
3 Tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt

3 egg whites*

1/3 C chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp (divided) palm shortening or butter
3 Tbsp (divided) unrefined granulated sugar

1/2 C unrefined granulated sugar
1 T cinnamon


  1. ♥ Puree together dates, oil, honey and vanilla until combined
  2. ♥ In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together, reserving 1 C almond flour, and stir to evenly distribute
  3. ♥ Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk until thick batter is formed (this will be very dry, that’s OK), set aside
  4. ♥ Whip egg whites to soft peaks
  5. Gently fold egg whites into batter until incorporated
  6. ♥ Gently mix in remaining almond flour, 1/4 C at a time, until a very sticky dough forms
  7. ♥ In bottom of greased bundt pan, sprinkle in walnuts, 1 1/2 Tbsp palm shortening and 3 Tbsp sugar
  8. ♥ With a fork in a shallow bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon
  9. ♥ Drop tablespoons of batter into sugar and shake bowl to coat; add “dropped sugared biscuit” into bundt pan
  10. ♥ When dough is all in pan, sprinkle top with remaining shortening and sugar
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes
  12. When done, allow to cool for at least 20 minutes, turn out onto serving platter, enjoy warm

*The fluffy egg white foam add lightness to the dough, making it less dense and helping with the biscuit-like texture. An “egg replacer” would not work, if you have egg allergies. Our suggestion would be to replace the egg whites with 1/4 cup coconut (or other) milk and add an extra teaspoon baking soda to help them fluff. This is what we’ll be attempting on Christmas morning for our vegan brothers.

It’s a lot of work. But worth it… It’s great to make with your little ones on Christmas Eve, and talk about how exciting the day ahead is. Store in the fridge overnight and pop into the oven as soon as you’re awakened by little ones on Christmas morning. Serves about 8. As usual, steps marked with a ♥ are steps for you to do with your own hatchlings!

We serve this on a big tray and just let people pick with their hands as we drink coffee and gab about gifts, but you could get fancy and put it on a plate and use forks, too. Good luck not licking your fingers! We hope you enjoy this as much as we do and that it becomes a yearly tradition for you as well.

If you want more holiday recipes, try Sunny from “And Love it Too!” and her Chocolate Pecan Toll House Pie that she posted yesterday. Chocolate Pecan pie?! If I replace the shortening with palm shortening, I can make that Paleo friendly too! And tomorrow, you can check out Maggie Savage from “She Let Them Eat Cake”. Check back at Shirley’s blog for daily updates! Here’s the full list:

Here’s a complete listing of all the excellent bloggers participating!

Monday, 11/28– your host, Shirley Braden at gfe–gluten free easily
Tuesday, 11/29– Diane Eblin at The WHOLE Gang
Wednesday, 11/30–Heidi Kelly at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom
Thursday, 12/1–Ali Segersten at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
Friday, 12/2–Sunny Busby at And Love it, Too!
Saturday, 12/3– US! Matt & Stacy at Paleo Parents
Sunday, 12/4–Maggie Savage at She Let Them Eat Cake
Monday, 12/5–Melissa McLean Jory at Gluten Free For Good
Tuesday, 12/6–Kim Maes at Cook IT Allergy Free
Wednesday, 12/7–Alexa Croft at Lexie’s Kitchen
Thursday, 12/8–Brittany Angell at Real Sustenance
Friday, 12/9–Elana Amsterdam at Elana’s Pantry
Saturday, 12/10–Kelly Brozyna at The Spunky Coconut
Sunday, 12/11–Ricki Heller at Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Monday, 12/12–Iris Higgins at The Daily Dietribe
Tuesday, 12/13–Stephanie Fourie at Gluten Free by Nature
Wednesday, 12/14–Jules Shepard at Jules Speaks Gluten Free
Thursday, 12/15–Silvana Nardone at Silvana’s Kitchen (and Easy Eats)
Friday, 12/16–Heather at Gluten-Free Cat
Saturday, 12/17–Carol Kicinski at Simply…Gluten Free
Sunday, 12/18–Alisa Fleming at Alisa Cooks
Monday, 12/19–Linda Etherton at The Gluten-Free Homemaker
Tuesday, 12/20–Gigi Stewart at Gluten Free Gigi
Wednesday, 12/21–Zoe at Z’s Cup of Tea
Thursday, 12/22–Lillian Medville at Lillian’s Test Kitchen
Friday, 12/23—Shirley Braden at gfe—gluten free easily

Here’s a complete listing of all the excellent prizes being given away!

More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow and Totally Together Journal combos by Stephanie O’Dea, three combos (3)
Simply … Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski, 2 signed copies (2) each with a package of Carol’s Gluten-Free Flour mix
Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Pete and Kelli Bronski, one signed copy (1)
Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies by Jean Layton and Linda Larsen, one copy (1) (release date Dec. 6)
Gluten-Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn — 2 copies (2)
Gluten-Free in 5 Minutes by Robin Ryberg — 2 copies (2)
Gluten-Free Makeovers by Beth Hillson – 2 copies (2)
The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam, six signed copies (6)
The Gluten-Free Cupcakes Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam, six signed copies (6)
The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell, two copies (2)
The Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Kitchen by Denise Jardine, ONE EXCLUSIVE ADVANCE COPY (1)
The Pure Kitchen by Hallie Klecker, two copies (2)
Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone, three copies (3)
Free for All Cooking by Jules Shepard, one signed copy (1)
The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed by Jules Shepard, one signed copy
Healthier Without Wheat by Dr. Stephen Wangen, three signed copies (3)
Sugar Nation by Jeffrey O’Connell, four copies (4)
Wheat Belly by William Davis, three copies (3)
Dangerous Grains by Ron Hoggan and Dr. James Braly, two copies (2)
The Food Allergy Kitchen by Amra Ibrismovic and Carmel Nelson, one copy (1)
The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen* by Lévana Kirschenbaum and Lisa R.Young
The Spunky Coconut Cookbook 2nd edition, by Kelly Brozyna, one signed copy (1)
Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts by Kelly Brozyna, one signed copy (1) –Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield, three copies (3)
Go Dairy Free* by Alisa Fleming, two signed copies (2)
Modern Spice, by Monica Bhide, one copy (1) (in combo package with Monica’s app, iSPICE)
Perfect One-Dish Dinners*, by Pam Anderson, one signed copy (1)
The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook*, by Ali Segersten and Tom Malterre, two signed copies (2)
The Steamy Kitchen*, by Jaden Hair, one copy (1)

Gluten-Free Goddess E-Book: Best Loved Recipes by Karina Allrich (1)
The Gluten-Free Diner Cookbook by Diane Eblin, one copy with tote bag (1)
7 Quick Start Tips for Living a Healthy Gluten-Free Fit Life, by Erin Elberson, five copies (5)
Sweet Freedom*, by Ricki Heller, one copy (1)
Combo Set of following: Good Morning Breakfasts, Desserts Without Compromise, and Anti-Candida Feast Book by Ricki Heller, one copy (1) of set

Easy Eats Magazine, three subscriptions–electronic (3)
Delight Magazine, two subscriptions–print (2)
Living Without Magazine, two subscriptions–print (2)

Cook IT Allergy Free App by Kim Wilson-Maes, three apps (3)
iSPICE App by Monica Bhide, one app (in combo package with her cookbook, Modern Spice; already mentioned above) (1)

GlutenTox Testing Kit, two packages (two tests in each kits) (2)
*Indicates prize is not exclusively gluten free, but offers much that is gluten free or easily adapted

And each entry (comment on each Home for the Holidays blog post) enters you for the THREE GRAND PRIZES:
3rd Prize: Caveman Cookies Gift Package ($89 value)
2nd Prize: Free From Gluten Shopping Spree ($150 value)
Grand Prize: Vitamix Super Healthy Lifestyle Package ($550 value)

OK… so what are we giving away? Here is what we have to give away:

Modern Spice, by Monica Bhide with her app, iSPICE

I am very jealous of what you’re getting here. As you may know, I love spices. I will boldly spice things far beyond what most people would expect. Often, I’ll spice things far beyond what people can tolerate! Most people, though, worry about ruining dinner if they go off on their own. Well, if you wanted to go experimenting in Indian spices, Modern Spice is your book! Not only that, but you’ll also win the iSpice iOS app! Unless I rig the contest to win it myself because I REALLY dig it! It looks gorgeous and shares all kinds of information on a variety of spices, how to use them, where to get them, and recipes!

Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield

Now you probably don’t need me to sell you on Paleo Comfort Foods, do you? It’s the best selling Paleo cookbook on the market today! Not to mention a top selling book on Amazon for ALL cookbooks! Jules and Charles won their way into Robb’s heart with their food, and they will win their way into yours with this book. Check out our review here.

Dangerous Grains by Ron Hoggan Ed.D. and Dr. James Braly

Although we’ve never read or heard of this book before, it’s TOTALLY up our alley. We’re thankful Shirley “matched” us up and gave such a good personal recommendation to us. Back in 2002, it was an fairly early bellwether of the arriving gluten-free movement. It’s an extensively referenced, highly informative book you’ll want on your bookshelves.

How do you WIN?

It’s simple: (1) reply to this post with a comment telling us what you look forward to making, eating and sharing during the holiday. (2) Bonus entries are offered if you comment again linking us to where you have shared this post. That means, if you comment and share to Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Google+ and your personal blog you’ll be able to comment and be entered 6 times!

The contest will be super quick! It ends at 12 midnight EST of December the 5th!

We hope that even if you’re not a winner on this post, perhaps you’ll find other blogs you enjoy and recipes to try so that you’ll feel like a winner! We know that after we ate this Monkey Bread we sure felt like we were on top of the world.  Fair warning: do not make this recipe if you will not have an army in your home to eat it afterword, it’s dangerous!

About Matthew

Matthew McCarry has written 227 post in this blog.

Matt is the husband of Stacy and somehow manages to contribute to this blog in between taking care of three children, producing the Paleo View Podcast and cooking most of the food featured here.