We always look at the dessert menus in restaurants.  If there is something intriguing, we order it.  The waiters probably think it strange that we’re studying their desserts instead of eating them.  Any dessert is fair game for a new recipe or mix.

One of our favorite local restaurants is Jakers.  They have a new dessert on the menu: Cinnamon Bun Sundaes.  They’re made with cinnamon bun monkey bread in a caramel sauce and topped with ice cream and whipped cream.  We love making monkey bread so this one landed squarely in our sights.

Back in our test kitchen, we went to work.  It took us several tries.  We made them first with Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread and then with Sticky Bun Monkey Bread.  Both were good; we liked the sticky bun version better.  Finally, we made them with cinnamon rolls—actually, maple nut rolls–cut into bit-sized chunks with kitchen scissors.    The cinnamon roll version was good too but we liked the continual coating on the monkey bread chunks.

There are two keys to making this dessert.  First, make sure that the pastry pieces are bite-sized.  We used the scissors to snip larger monkey bread pieces into smaller pieces.  Second, use plenty of caramel sauce.  We found caramel ice cream topping to be too thick and rich.  Lawford’s Vanilla Cream Syrup was much better.   We also made a “from scratch” recipe that was very good and we’ll include the recipe in this article.

So here’s how to make them:

Cinnamon Bun Sundae Recipe

Step 1: Make your monkey bread either with a monkey bread mix according to package instructions or with a monkey bread recipe.

Step 2: Place bite-sized pieces of monkey bread in a wide-mouthed glass or in a bowl.  You may need to snip larger pieces into smaller pieces with kitchen scissors.

Step 3: Pour vanilla cream syrup or caramel sauce over the pieces.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts.  (We used pecan pieces.)  Heat the monkey bread, nuts, and syrup combination until warm in the microwave.

Step 4: Add a scoop of ice cream.  Top with flavored whipped cream and a cherry.

Warm Caramel Sauce Recipe

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine cornstarch, milk, salt, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and is thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat.
  2. Add the sugar, butter, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Thin if necessary with more milk.
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