Happy New Year!!!!
Yes… I know that this is almost two full months after the fact… but, this is the first blog that I have been able to write this year due to a multitude of reasons. This is also the first time that many of you are reading the phrase Happy New Year in this blog… so with that being said… I hope the year is currently happy for everyone… for a multitude of reasons.
Now, indulge me while I turn back the clock for a moment and let me tell you that…
There is a date on the calendar where I just give up on shopping – for gifts, for food, for everything. I loathe the shopping crowds! The simple act of pulling into the parking lot just makes my entire mood sour. If I am able to find a parking spot, I hike to the store… ranting and raving as people trail me looking for a spot and steady dodging the cars speeding in and out of the parking lot. In the store, all cheeriness is off as people are inevitably everywhere in holiday-psycho frenzy searching for the perfect this or that…. or rolling their carts across my feet while they try to yank food out of my hand.
It is at this point that I always forget that the holiday is a rooted in good-tidings and Christian goodwill to all humankind. To avoid this entire scene, I choose a date and decide that this is the last time I shall shop until the holidays are over. I prepare IOU’s for remaining gifts; I dig deep into my closet to mix and match clothes for the perfect “new” holiday outfit; and I start looking over the holiday menu to make any necessary revisions.
Holiday Season 2009 was no different…. And thus, a new family favorite was conceived for the dessert – Bread Pudding.
My Mother made bread pudding growing up and I loved it. She would collect day old bread for weeks before turning it into a mish-mash of bread, sweet raisins, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract. Bread pudding, for me, was a homey way to use up old bread. I never made bread pudding as I never have much bread around that is day old. What little day-old bread we have around, I generally make breadcrumbs or croutons.
I never ordered bread pudding in restaurants… until I vacationed in New Orleans and had the pleasure of dining at Brigtsen’s where an incredible Banana Bread Bread-Pudding with a Banana Custard Sauce was a part of their prix fixe menu. Oh the memories of that trip are often overshadowed by the indulgent, luxurious flavor of that dessert. It was so perfect… so homey… so upscale… and was just so right.
So as I searched through my kitchen looking for something to turn into a holiday dessert, I found day-old plain bagels, leftover from a catering gig. I knew then that our new holiday dessert favorite would be a Fabulously Homey and Decadent Chocolate Bagel Bread Pudding.
My Recipe: FABULOUSLY HOMEY AND DECADENT CHOCOLATE BAGEL BREAD PUDDING
5 – 6 plain bagels, torn into pieces to make 4 – 5 cups
3 c almond milk, dairy milk or soy milk will work just as well
1 c strongly brewed coffee, leftover from the morning
2 large eggs, beaten
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
1 T unsalted butter
Caramel Rum Sauce or Whipped Cream or Ice Cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Butter a large baking dish and set aside
In a large mixing bowl, add the torn bagel pieces, ½ c chocolate chips and cocoa powder; combine well
In a smaller mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the almond milk, beaten eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, coffee, and kosher salt; whisk together until the sugar is dissolved
Pour custard mixture over the bagel-chocolate chip mixture. Stir until all of the bagel pieces have thoroughly soaked up the custard mixture
Pour enitre mixture into the buttered baking dish; sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips; and bake for 45 – 60 minutes until the top is richly browned, edges are crisp, and the center is just set
Serve warm, room temperature, or cold with Caramel-Rum Sauce, Whipped Cream or your favorite Ice Cream
As my Family and Friends tucked into the bread pudding, I could not help but think about how this dessert, made of humble nothingness and conceived because I refuse to go to the market, had made my holiday table so perfect… so homey… so upscale… and just so right.
always in good T.A.S.T.E – cause you gottatastethis!