I Paid: $4.23 for a 21-ounce tray of rolls (prices may vary by region)
If you grew up with monkey bread—or, more likely, if you’ve fallen under its spell via retro-happy publications like Cook’s Country—you know that it’s about as seductive as aggressively sweet breakfast foods can be. Essentially a mass of doughy little cinnamon rolls slathered in a caramelly sugar glaze, monkey bread is far too sticky and messy to pick up and far too bite-size and fun not to, which is the joy of it.
Thus the frozen Sticky Bun Pull-Aparts by Rhodes Bake-N-Serv promise quite a lot and have a long way to fall. Fall they do, unfortunately. The problem doesn’t lie with the adequate but hard-to-apply sweet glaze, which could use more cinnamon flavor but is otherwise acceptable for a freezer-to-oven product. The problem is the pull-apart rolls themselves, which are, in essence, dinner rolls. They lack the rich, sweet, spiced flavor of a good cinnamon bun or the moist denseness that echoes the pleasure of the glaze. They’re basically just bread with a cinnamon dipping sauce.
In short, if you want to recapture the sinful ecstasy of classic monkey bread in your own kitchen, you’re going to have to make it from scratch. That’s probably for the best, in the long run—the stuff isn’t health food.