Mardi Gras Monkey Bread
For the Bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm
⅓ cup water, warm
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 package rapid-rise or instant yeast
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt
For the Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the Mardi Gras Sugar Topping
Purple, green and gold sugar
Adjust oven rack to medium position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Grease Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.
Mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast in a large measuring cup.. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, about 60 minutes.
Gently remove dough from bowl, and pat into rough 8-inch square. Using a knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter. Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan.
Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. While bread cools, sprinkle with Mardi Gras sugar. Serve warm.