Duff Goldman's Secrets For The Ultimate Monkey Bread - Exclusive

When pastry chef and TV host Duff Goldman went to Disneyland to cook for the Disney Food & Wine Festival, he knew he had to bring his A-game. As he told Mashed, the pastry program at the theme park is "seriously on point." To impress the discerning patrons of the House of Mouse, he made an upgraded version of monkey bread that turned out to be a big hit. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Goldman shared how he takes his monkey bread to the next level.

One way Goldman elevates his monkey bread is by adding a somewhat controversial ingredient: raisins. Some people won't allow any dried grapes to touch their baked goods, and Goldman said it's often a textural issue: "When you bite into a really soft enriched dough like you have in monkey bread, it's really soft and tender. And if you have a raisin just right out of the box that's in there and that ... hasn't really soaked up any liquid, it's just a little too leathery."

Goldman solves this by reconstituting his raisins in hot water before kneading them into his monkey bread dough. This softens and plumps them, making them a perfect textural match for the pillowy bread. Just be careful when incorporating them into the dough, as the raisins will be very delicate after having been reconstituted. Add them in right at the end, and don't over-knead the dough after mixing in the raisins.

Duff Goldman's lucky monkey bread breakthrough

Duff Goldman's other monkey bread upgrade came to him as a happy accident. Many monkey bread recipes involve pouring a butter-and-brown-sugar-based butterscotch sauce over the balls of dough before baking them. During his demo at Disney, Goldman turned a butterscotch-making mishap into a major win. "My pan got really hot when I was melting the butter, and so I was just like, 'Well, it looks like we're making brown butter butterscotch,' and so we just made brown butter butterscotch for the sauce, and it was so good."

Making your monkey bread butterscotch with brown butter instead of simple melted butter will make it significantly more complex and delicious. The toasty, caramelized notes of the cooked milk solids in the brown butter will add deep layers of flavor that regular butter can't compete with.

As Duff noted, it will make your kitchen smell amazing, too: "Everybody's like, 'Why does that smell so good?' I'm like, 'It's brown butter. It's amazing.' Brown butter is one of the most delicious things on the planet." When browning your butter, be sure to watch it carefully — butter can go from perfectly toasty to acrid and burnt very quickly, so you need to remove it from the heat the moment it achieves the desired color.

Watch Duff Goldman on Food Network's "Spring Baking Championship." You can also have cakes shipped from Charm City Cakes nationwide.