February 09, 2016 11:37 AM

If your vision of Mardi Gras is stumbling down Bourbon Street in a hoard of strangers stepping in very questionable puddles, you are only partially correct.

In reality, there’s so much more to the holiday. Parades, historic crews, distinct microcultural traditions, and, of course…King Cake. The oval-shaped confection adorned with purple, green and gold sprinkles is as much a simple of the holiday as a neck full of beads.

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The classic recipe is is pretty involved, with a finicky dough that requires rolling out, rolling up, and multiple rises. If it’s done right, it’s a basically a giant soft, yeasty cinnamon roll with a sticky-sweet glaze that is so worth the labor.

But it’s Fat Tuesday already, and who has time for that? Our recipe takes a major shortcut by turning it into a monkey bread with store-bought cinnamon rolls jazzed up with buttery brown sugar and toasted pecans. With these 5 simple steps, you’ll be gorging in under 45 minutes.

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1. Cut the cinnamon rolls into quarters.

2. Toss them in a mixture of melted butter, dark brown sugar, toasted pecans and a pinch of salt for good measure.

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3. Transfer to a greased bundt pan.

4. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, let cool slightly and then flip over onto a plate.

5. Pour glaze over (yes, the one that comes in the tube with the rolls) and decorate with purple, green and gold sprinkles). Pro tip: We couldn’t find the right color sprinkles, so we used shredded coconut flakes dyed with food coloring. Bonus = extra flavor!

And of course, if you can find a small baby figurine at the last minute, pop that in there through the bottom after it’s already baked. Whoever gets the slice with the baby has to bring the cake next year! Get the full recipe below.

King Cake Monkey Bread
Serves 8-10
4 (17.5 oz) tubes refrigerated cinnamon roll dough (with icing), cut into quarters.
1 stick butter, melted
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
¼ tsp. salt
Non-stick spray
Purple, green, and gold sprinkles (or shredded coconut flakes dyed with food coloring)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, pecans and salt. Toss in the chunks of dough and stir to coat.

2. Transfer to bundt pan sprayed with nonstick spray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and then flip over onto a plate or serving tray. Pour the icing (from the tube) over the cake and top with sprinkles. Serve immediately!

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