Sugar-Free Monkey Bread – Nance & Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Single-Serve Monkey Bread, found over at Tasty Kitchen. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice, and at first I was all “Ooh, monkey bread!” and then I was all “Oh. Sugar free monkey bread…” God knows I could use less sugar in my diet, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so off I went!


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Reduced-fat crescent rolls, Splenda (or Stevia or whatever sugar substitute you prefer), cinnamon, light butter (I honestly did not know there was such a creature as light butter), sugar free maple syrup.

I had intended to not EVEN tell Fred that this was a sugar free recipe because he can be a bit of a judgmental douche when it comes to sugar free, fat free stuff, but he wandered into the kitchen when I was gathering my ingredients, so the jig was up.

Here’s the thing about reduced-fat crescent rolls, or at least the ones that I had: they’re a pain in the ass. I got the first can of them open and went to unroll them, and they just kind of.. shredded. You’re suppose to take each triangle and divide it into three equal pieces, but as I went to pull the first triangle off the rest of the dough, it fell apart and I was all kinds of “OH, HELL NO.” and might have had a bit of a temper tantrum wherein I threw the dough into the pig bucket.

Luckily there was another entire roll of crescent dough yet to go, so I decided to halve the recipe (there only being the two of us, after all) and made Fred come into the kitchen and deal with the dough. I opened the can for him, and he started to unroll it, whereupon it fell apart on him.

(I was glad it wasn’t just me!)

He thought for a moment, then mushed the dough together, kneaded it for a moment, and then started pulling off pieces of dough and rolling them into balls. I had him put the balls on a plate while I mixed together the Splenda and cinnamon, and then had him roll the balls in that.

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Then I sprayed the muffin tins and had him put four balls in each tin while I mixed the syrup and butter and cinnamon. He was TOTALLY my kitchen bitch.

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I drizzled the syrup/ butter/ cinnamon over each set of four crescent dough balls, then stuck the whole shebang in the oven.

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It smelled really good while it was baking (I love cinnamon), and then after they were done baking, they had to sit for 15 minutes and I was drooling by the time that 15 minutes was up. I scooped one out onto a plate for Fred, who was waiting impatiently, and one for myself.

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Fred took one bite, spit it out, and dumped the rest in the trash, because he is a great big drama queen. I kind of wanted to stab him in the face, but I figured that was just anger due to hunger talking, and began eating mine.

I didn’t care for it, honestly. It tasted kind of fake and chemical and was just not my thing. I couldn’t even give the rest of the stuff to the pigs because Fred objected to giving them sugar-free stuff due to the chemicals (and yet doesn’t mind giving them cookies from the Dollar Store that are made in China and are likely comprised of nuclear waste and plastic, so I am totally rolling my eyes here), so hmph.

Not my thing but, y’know, they can’t all be hits!


Nance’s take:

Our family tradition is to have Monkey Bread every Christmas morning. I make it up on Christmas eve and pop it in the oven while we un-wrap gifts. By the time we’re done, the monkey bread is done and we chow down. It’s a fatty family tradition.  We call them Monkey Balls which is the original name (take a good look at them).  Apparently there are some uptight people out there that managed to get the name changed because only a few people still call them monkey balls.  They should have just called it cinnamon dough balls or some shit and got rid of the monkey part if they were going to be so bent out of shape about it.  I mean, really.  Why even keep the word monkey?  It makes no sense. It’s not like monkeys are known for their baking skills. Or their love of cinnamon sugar. All they do is make faces, screech and throw their feces!  And, oh my god, can I rant about the puritanical ways of people any longer?  SHUT-UP, NANCE.

122507 - Monkey bread.

This is a picture of what my usual monkey bread looks like. Pretty, if you’re into things that will make your blood sugar soar.  The recipe for this one is located here.

My husband loves monkey bread. But he’s a Type II diabetic and monkey bread loaded with sugar (and butter!) is something he shouldn’t be eating. Especially until I take out a few more life insurance policies (I just look stupid).

I’ll be honest, I don’t hang out at  I believe it’s founded by Pioneer Woman and I’m just not into her recipes (nothing personal, cute kids, just not into it).  I found this recipe when I was trying to find a way to make monkey bread just a little more healthy than my usual recipe.


Am I the only person that hates this fucking packaging? I mean I’m completely convinced that one of these days it’s going to blow up in my face. I tense up the minute I have to open the goddamn thing and then, and THEN, it’s a pain in the ass to get out of the freaking tube! Pillsbury needs to change the way it does things, man. Eh, who cares. I don’t usually buy their crap anyway.


Truth game. I made this recipe after 9 o’clock on Sunday night (with the entry due for Monday morning). I was not in the mood when I saw that the recipe said to divide each triangle into 3 equal pieces. BLOW ME.


I made 3 balls before I got disgusted and walked the hell away. Rick took over because he knows that I have no patience (and thankfully he has more than enough for both of us).  I took the pictures.


Splenda and cinnamon. I imagined that this was going to take ALL FREAKING NIGHT and OHMYHELL, WHY DID I PICK THIS RECIPE? Wah, wah, wah. I’m TIRED.


I decided to throw it all into a big plastic bag and do it that way. Rick thought it was a good idea until he realized I was going to put all 24 balls in at one time. He took the bag from me because I was doing it all wrong. Apparently one has to put only a few in at a time to make sure they are completely coated and WHO GIVES A SHIT?


Do not mock the old cupcake pan from hell. When I make cupcakes I use those foil cupcake wrappers that stand up on their own. You won’t believe how hard it was to find this damn thing. And also, the perfectly covered dough balls are compliments of the RickMonster (the ones that are not perfect, mine).


Stirring butter, syrup and cinnamon (hush, I needed more pictures).


This is my mom (tube-top/pajama bottom wearing Shirley) trying to get them out of the pan without smooshing them. I was PISSED because my beat-up cupcake pan led to an incident in which there is STICKY SHIT ALL OVER THE BOTTOM OF MY OVEN. Now I have to run the self-cleaner on my oven and DO YOU KNOW HOW ANNOYING THAT IS? AND IT SMELLS.

Bitch. Thy name is Nance. And Nance had a headache that required ice packs and a shot of whiskey (for Rick).


These look like calf nuts (shout-out to Pioneer Woman) on a platter. I think my pathetic monkey bread up there on the aluminum foil covered pizza pan looks better.


A close up. The outcome? Shirley liked them because she said that she didn’t think they were as sweet as the ones I normally make. Rick and I were not impressed. At all.  I thought they were a huge pain in the ass and why go through all that trouble for something that tastes sub-par? This recipe is not going into rotation. In fact, it’s already in the garbage. I may try and make my recipe with Splenda and Splenda Brown Sugar just to see what happens, but until then I’m going to stick with what I do every year. Make my regular monkey balls and only eat two balls. I’m pretty sure since Rick is watching his health, he’ll be joining me this year. We would rather have a little bit of something that tastes fabulous than a lot of something that tastes like crap. Lesson Learned.


Single-Serve Sugar-Free Monkey Bread - Nance & Robyn make the same recipe
Original Source/Author:
: Breakfast
  • 2 cans (8 Oz. Can) Reduced Fat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • ¼ cups Stevia/Splenda (or Sugar Substitute Of Choice)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cinnamon, Divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Butter
  • ½ cups Sugar Free Maple Syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray (I suggest using non-stick muffin tin to prevent sticking!).
  2. Open up the cans of crescent dough and cut each triangle into 3 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into 3 equal-sized small balls, totaling 24 balls per pack of crescent rolls. (Note: balls should be smaller than golf balls, but big enough that about 4 balls will fit into each muffin tin.)
  3. Combine the stevia/Splenda (or whatever sugar substitute you choose) with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon in a small bowl. Toss the dough balls in the cinnamon-”sugar” mix until the balls are well-coated.
  4. Next, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds, or until melted. Add the syrup and the remaining tablespoon of cinnamon to the melted butter. Stir and set aside.
  5. Place four balls into each individual muffin tin and pour the butter-syrup mixture over each muffin tin, until the dough balls are almost covered in the syrup mixture (if there isn’t enough to cover each muffin tin, I just add a bit more syrup to each tin).
  6. Bake for 15-–20 minutes, or until a caramelized crust forms on the top of each little monkey bread.
  7. Remove from the oven, and let cool for about 15 minutes. Use a knife to remove the edges and serve on a pretty plate, preferably while still warm!



Sugar-Free Monkey Bread – Nance & Robyn make the same recipe — 31 Comments

  1. Dear Robyn,
    I just read your entry and cracked the fuck up! We BOTH made our husband’s our kitchen bitch over these stupid things! And also, I will now admit that I pulled a Fred…I took a bite, chewed it up, and walked into the bathroom. Rick was following me, yapping at me (I left the door open) and he got to see me spit mine out into toilet paper (like a lady) in order to toss it into the garbage. I hate to admit, once again, that Fred and I are alike, but that shit was not going to be swallowed. Hee!

    PS: Quit copying off of me!

    • DUDE. Guess who else is skeered of the container that the croissants come in because he’s afraid they’ll blow up and blind him or take half his face off?

      You and Fred share the same brain, I swear to god. 🙂

      • I believe it’s because Fred and I have enough sense to show caution where some people just flounce around all willy nilly and hope for the best. Without us, Rick and you would probably be dead by now. Such a burden. Sigh.

      • Once, as I was opening biscuits with my spoon, the seam popped open, making my spoon fly into the air and onto the floor. I could have been blinded or something! Jeeze! This is the year 2012, you would think they would come up with a better package!!!

  2. Ha! I loved that both of you had the same frustrating experience! Sorry ’bout that:) Monkey bread is also a Christmas tradition at my house but unfortunately I eat way more than 2 pieces. I justify it by also serving fruit and telling myself that it’s a once a year thing.

    • Allison, I love the fact that you serve fruit in your justification! I would do the same thing if I thought for even a minute the boys would eat it. It’s almost like my mom…she insists on slicing oranges during our major brunches in this house. Nobody touches them and it’s now become a guilt thing where we force Alex’s girlfriend to eat most of them because she’s the dummy that spoke up and said she actually likes oranges. She’s also the skinny one in the group. Go figure.

      • Oranges are one of the highest sugar fruits. Just sayin’. Of course they are and bananas too because I love both of them. Everything that tastes good is a damn carb as well. I was very pissed in the Diabetic education classes. Soup is a carb and milk etc-just kill me now and get it over with! Grapes are very high sugar too because they are another favorite. BOHICA!

      • Wait. SOUP is a carb?!?!? And milk?!?!?! Huh. Maybe my doctor really did want me to go to diabetic education classes … but I haven’t yet. Sigh.

  3. I have no comment on the recipe since it contains at least 2 things I don’t eat – bread and cinnamon. But, back when I could eat bread, I too was afraid of the popping of the biscuit tube – still am, but now I can justify not having them in the house. Also, I hate balloons and refuse to allow them in the house either – I claim that the dogs might swallow them after they pop, which is probably true as my dogs will chew soda cans for fun if we allow it.

    • I noticed that the older I get the less I like loud noises and surprises. I even hate it when the dishes sometimes get slammed together when putting them away.

  4. I am so glad y’all didn’t like this. I was afraid you’d be all “it’s wonderful! you don’t even miss the sugar!” and I’d have to be all “my ass!”

    My mother-in-law is a diabetic and only keeps sugar-free syrup in the house, a fact I was NOT AWARE OF while I was pouring it over my pancakes. I couldn’t even jump up and spit that shit out, because how rude would that be? But seriously, that stuff tastes like cough syrup and evil to me.

    • I like Splenda in some things, but I’m very specific. My personal iced tea always has Splenda, but when I tried it in regular iced tea it was awful. I just realized how uppity I sounded there, but it’s a fact – “my” iced tea is the Tazo Black iced tea that they serve at Starbucks. I order it from because I love it so much. Since nobody else cares, they get the Lipton. Heh. My point is: Splenda is okay in some things, but totally messed up in others. Best you believe if it’s screwed up in something, I’ll be the first one to tell you here!

      • Just a quick comment about your tazo awake tea, Nance–delicious! I was so glad when Starbucks came out with their trenta size!

  5. Agree with Lisa. This sounded like the worst idea in the world to me because sugar-free shit is from Satan and I have all sorts of conspiracy theories about sugar substitutes. I’m so glad to hear that it sucked.

    Also, I don’t like regular monkey bread that much anyway. YEAH I SAID IT. It’s always dry and greasy at the same time.

    • I was hopeful. Oh, so hopeful, but I hear you on the conspiracy theories about sugar substitutes. I fell into the Splenda love when I heard it that it was the only one that used “real” sugar – never thinking it would be “real” sugar and who the hell knows what else.

      The only time I had greasy monkey bread was when I used margarine. Yuck. I just pretend they’re those sticky buns made with nuts (because I never get them in this house) so between those two balls and my imagination, I’m good.

  6. I knew sugar-free, fat-free monkey nuts were a bad idea. Thank you both for making me laugh until I cry every stinking Monday.

    Crescent roll packaging is the best and worst ever all rolled into one. I get irrationally excited at the idea of being able to open a package with a spoon (not sure why… I probably need to get more of a life). But after the package pops (which makes a bigger noise than necessary, startles the heck out of me, and makes my family laugh hysterically because “Don’t you know the package pops by now?” Jerks.) the instructions are shredded and I end up needing to assemble a freaking jigsaw puzzle just to find out how long to cook the stupid things.

    Again with the no cats? We couldn’t get a disgusted Miz Poo burying this crap?? Perhaps we should be them working on the disclaimer at the top. I’ve looked for it every Monday and it’s still not there. 😉

    • I have to admit that the last couple of recipes I did were kind of rushed, because I wanted to get them made and pictures taken before I went on vacation. I’ll see what I can do about sneaking the cats in in next week’s post. 🙂

  7. Ha! That disclaimer will be up one of these days. I’m the one that’s working on it and believe it or not, there’s a lot of legalities involved – We’re busy covering our asses so that everybody understands that we’re just reviewing recipes not claiming ownership. There are a lot of bloggers out there that don’t know the difference and will accuse people of stealing other’s recipes. That’s why you’ll never see anybody else’s photographs on here, but ours and you’ll never see our names as the author unless it’s our recipe. This way we avoid a shit-storm. And it takes a minute to get Mr. MBA who understands copyright law better than most to sit down and help me write a disclaimer. Like I said, working on it! Until then – Yeah, Robyn – get on it with the cat pictures, dammit!

    • Nance, I think you just “disclaimed” beautifully. Perfectly understood, although I would have no idea what else would need to be in a disclaimer. Looking for it has become a bit of a game for me, anyway 😉

  8. This made me think of a story I heard years ago. Probably not a true story, but still…
    Woman loads her grocery bags into the back seat of car, gets in driver seat, hears a popping noise and feels something hit the side of her head, just below and behind her ear. Her hand instinctively goes to the spot where she feels a gooey blob. Totally freaked, she sits there holding the side of her head, afraid to move.

    Some time goes by before someone notices and is concerned enough to get involved, but finally a passerby asks, “Ma’am, are you alright?”

    “I’ve been shot in the head and I can feel my brain oozing out! HELP!!!11!”

    911 was called, and when the EMTs got her to move her hand, a hearty laugh was had by all (except maybe the red-faced lady), when the gooey blob was discovered to be part of the contents of an exploded tube of biscuits.

  9. Something like that happened to me in high school. I was coming out of Walgreens and digging into the bottom of my bag for my tropical punch Bubbilicious when I heard and felt an explosion, felt a bullet hit my chest, and was instantly blinded. I stumbled into the bushes sobbing and clutching my chest screaming, so sad for the end of my young life, a victim of street crime/thug life.

    After a minute, I wasn’t dead yet and I heard people laughing. I noticed the blood running down my face was fizzy and tasted like Diet Coke. I pieced the crime together Columbo-style and realized that the bullet to my chest was the cap to my 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke, which exploded when it fell out onto the pavement when I was digging through the bag. I was blind because my eyes were full of my beverage of choice, and I was humiliated because there was a circle of a-holes pointing at me and laughing. Moral of the story, don’t be a greedy B and wait till you get home to find your stupid gum.

    This has nothing to do with biscuits really, aside from the last story. I just like to humilate myself in public. I’m going to post this on my blog too, why waste the type-out!

  10. I’m freaking terrified of the crescent roll package, too… I cringe away as I open them. HATE those things!

    I’m not a fan of all sugar free stuff, but I have to admit, I prefer sugar free maple syrup to any of the sugary ones… but ONLY if it’s Log Cabin brand.

  11. I love the way you guys are honest enough to say that crap is crap. (Besides which, you make me laugh a lot. Thanks.)

    When I saw this recipe I knew it was one I would never make after I saw the word “Splenda” in the ingredients list. Actually, I knew it before that, when I saw the words “sugar free” in the title because I know that “sugar free” does not equal “no sugar needs to be added because it will taste just fine without it” — “sugar free” actually means “uses some vile chemical that will be discovered years from now to be responsible for a majority of all fatal diseases and disgusting physical conditions and contributes to both global warming and polar bear baldness.”

    I have a habit of reading ingredient labels on packaging in the supermarket and if I see the words “high fructose corn syrup” I immediately put it back on the shelf and make a mental note to avoid that brand. (I now avoid all products from a particular bakery brand because they used high fructose corn syrup in their sliced whole wheat bread, I have abandoned what had been one of my favorite cereals, and I have now rejected the Smuckers brand (which had been my automatic choice) when I realized that their products are not fruit plus sugar, they are high fructose corn syrup plus fruit. But I would buy high fructose corn syrup by the gallon before I ever touched anything made with Splenda or any of those other industrial chemical fake sugar stuff.

  12. Have bookmarked and will make. Made your banana bread last week (threw some sliced almonds in) and it was devoured by the family within an hour. Huh, so much for the aging process!

  13. This was the most enjoyable article I’ve read in a very long time. I laughed for 5 solid minutes… I felt your pain … identified with every step you took. Thank you for the ride!

  14. I have to say, I read your full article recipe thingy whatever it is and lmao. I don’t ever read the full thing just always jump to recipes! I don’t know you, but I fucking love you. It was love at first profanity!

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