Copycat Monkey Bread Pizookie Recipe
My spin on BJ’s Monkey Bread Pizookie pairs low fat cinnamon sugar biscuit pieces with a lightened up mixture of caramelized brown sugar, butter, and walnuts to make two layers of decadent pull apart bread. And in place of the vanilla ice cream on top, you’ll find a sugar free glaze.
While it’s not the healthiest recipe on my blog, it’s gotta be one of the tastiest!
How to Make the Monkey Bread Pizookie
Below you’ll find a walkthrough of the recipe with photo examples of each step, notes on ingredient modifications and nutrition facts, and a printable recipe card—in that order. If you have recipe questions I miss, leave a comment at the bottom of the post and I’ll help you out as best I can!
Okay, time to stop monkeying around. Let’s dive in.
Step 1: Make the low fat biscuit dough.
If you’ve made my Greek yogurt biscuits, this will be a breeze! (There’s also a video tutorial in the original recipe if you’re into that sort of thing.)
All you’ll need to do is mix all purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt with a tiny bit of light butter and fat free Greek yogurt. Never made dough from scratch? Have no fear, you can mix everything together with a fork. Easy peasy.
And by mix everything together, I mean just barely. As soon as you no longer have any visible portions of Greek yogurt, dump everything on a flat surface and bring the dough together with your hands.
One of the most common errors in my original biscuits recipe is overworking the dough, which prevents the biscuits from rising. If you want light and fluffy monkey bread pieces, don’t overwork the dough!
Once you have the crumbly beginnings of dough, it should take about 30-60 seconds of working it together with your hands to form a ball of dough like you see in the photo below.
Side note: The dough should be easy to handle. If it’s sticking to your hands, your measurements were off somewhere. Get a food scale!
And that’s it for the dough. You’ll need to pinch off pieces for the next step. I used 15 pieces for my monkey bread, but you could make smaller or larger pieces if you’d like.
Step 2: Toss pieces of the dough in cinnamon sugar, layer with walnuts (optional), cover with butter and brown sugar, and bake.
The hard part is over. Now it’s time to assemble and get your monkey bread pizookie in the oven.
Don’t sweat the technique too much in this step. Any left over cinnamon sugar will go on top before the melted butter, and you’ll end up with candied walnuts regardless of placement accuracy.
One thing worth mentioning here is the skillet. The recipe calls for the same 6.5″ cast iron skillet I used for my chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bake and protein skillet cookie. While you can use a similar sized baking dish or another oven-safe skillet, you may need to modify the bake time. If you use a larger skillet and put everything in one layer, for example, your pizookie will bake faster due to the increase surface area.
Once it’s all assembled, give the butter and brown sugar a whirl, pour it over, and throw the skillet on a baking sheet to catch any run off.
While the original Monkey Bread Pizookie from BJ’s is served with ice cream, I went with a glaze consisting of powdered sugar or Swerve Confectioners (more on this ingredient in a second) and water. Though ice cream is NEVER a bad move. And if you’re on a calorie budget, this stuff is tasty enough on its own if we’re being honest.
All right, that’s the from-start-to-finish walkthrough. Let’s talk ingredient substitutions and how to make your pizookie a bit lower calorie if need be.
Ingredient Modifications and Nutrition Information Notes
If you’re wondering about all purpose flour substitutes, I’ve not had much luck with other types of flour for the biscuit recipe. However, I’d encourage you to check out my Facebook group where you’ll find tons of hands-on research from the 13,000 home cooks there.
Aside from the flour, I’d like to touch on the granulated and brown sugar. I used Swerve products to replace both. If you’re unfamiliar with Swerve, they make zero-calorie, all-natural sugar substitutes that measure and taste just like sugar. Using these substitutes saves around 400 calories in this recipe!
What if I don’t have Swerve?
You can try using other sugar substitutes as long as they measure 1:1 for sugar. Though you may lose some of the caramelization effects that Swerve produces like real sugar.
And if you’d rather use the real thing, go right ahead. If you use real granulated and brown sugar, the entire recipe has 1,627 calories, 40g protein, 239g carbs, and 59g fat.
How do I track Swerve in MyFitnessPal or calorie trackers?
This can get confusing since Swerve products are zero-calorie products but still have a few carbs on the label. My approach is to ignore them completely, but that’s totally up to you.
I ignore them because erythritol has around 0.2 calories per gram. That means this entire recipe has about 19 calories from the Swerve. I think I burned 19 calories just doing the math.
Whatever you decide to do, just stick to that consistently and you’ll be good to go. It’s not that serious. 🙂
More Ideas for Reducing the Calorie Count
- omitting the walnuts saves 200 calories
- swap some flour for protein powder (full notes at the bottom of the post)
- you could try replacing some of the butter and brown sugar with a sugar free pancake syrup (though I haven’t tested it)
- cutting the butter and brown sugar mixture in half saves 100 calories (last resort)
And I’ll end on this. Don’t cut too many calorie corners. Save this pizookie for a time you want to treat yo’ self a little.
For the Dough
- 1 1/2 C (180g) All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tbsp (24g) Granulated Sugar*
- 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
- 2 Tbsp (28g) Light Butter (Land O' Lakes with Canola)
- 3/4 C (170g) Vanilla Fat Free Greek Yogurt (Chobani)
For the Topping
- 2 Tbsp (24g) Granulated Sugar*
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 C (30g) Walnuts, crushed
- 1/4 C (56g) Light Butter
- 1/4 C (48g) Brown Sugar*
For the Dough
- Preheat an oven to 350º F.
- Mix the dry dough ingredients together in a large bowl before cutting the butter in with a fork (until slightly crumbly). Add the Greek yogurt and mix until a dough begins to form. Don't over mix. There should be some remaining flour in the bowl.
- Empty the dough and remaining dry ingredients onto a flat surface. Use your hands to work everything together until no crumbs remain. Set aside.
Assembling and Baking the Pizookie
- Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a separate bowl. Divide the dough into small pieces (I did 15, but you could make them smaller/larger.) Toss a few at a time in the cinnamon sugar to coat.
- Fill the bottom of a 6.5" cast iron skillet or similar sized baking dish with the dough pieces. Sprinkle some of the crushed walnuts on top and place another layer of the dough pieces on top with more walnuts. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.
- Microwave the butter for 10-15 seconds before stirring in the brown sugar. Stir and pour over the top in an even layer.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the the dough pieces have risen and the bottom layer is cooked through. Different dishes or different sized dough pieces may affect bake time.
For the Optional Glaze
Mix 1/4 C (36g) powdered sugar (I used Swerve Confectioners*) with 3-4 tsp water and pour over the top.
*I used zero-calorie Swerve Granular, Swerve Brown, and Swerve Confectioners in place of the sugar. The nutrition facts do not include any nutrition info from the Swerve replacements. More notes included in the post above.
Each serving of the original recipe has 6 WW SmartPoints (blue plan).
The notes for making a high protein version are below this recipe card.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Servings Serving Size: 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210Total Fat: 9gCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 7g
Update: How to Make High Protein Monkey Bread
Thanks to members of my Facebook group, Amanda Megan and Meredith Henson, we now know you can swap 1/2 C (60g) of flour for 2 scoops (62g) of PEScience Select protein powder. This is my go-to protein powder for recipes, and you can use my affiliate discount code ‘mason’ to save 15% on PEScience products.
Everything else in the recipe remains the same. In my testing, I under baked by about 5 minutes and it was perfect!
Total nutrition facts with for the high protein version: 1,270 calories, 82g of protein, 102g of carbs, 61g of fat, and 33 WW SmartPoints (6 per serving) on the blue plan.
Can you use another protein powder?
It’s risky. They are all a bit different and any time you have to handle dough, it can be unforgiving. PEScience is a whey and casein blend so if you try another protein, try to stick to the same blend of protein.