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Fluffernutter Bread Pudding

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On the weekends, my husband and I take turns sleeping in, while the other person brings the boys downstairs to get them started on their day. Yesterday was my turn to sleep in. Today, my husband’s.

But my husband picked the wrong day to sleep in. For today is April Fool’s Day. And while he leisurely slumbered, the boys and I began to lay a few tricks. We hid his breakfast cereal and the coffee K-cups. We turned the chairs around in the dining room and planted a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs to trap him. We agreed that when he came into the room, we would all pretend not to know him and demand to know what he was doing in our home. Just a few fun, non-destructive tricks.

And then I lost all control over the situation. Within moments, the two boys were giggling wildly as they ran from room to room trashing the place. Apparently their idea of an April Fool’s joke involves complete demolition of our home…dumping out every bin of toys, pulling cushions off the couch and rearranging every piece of furniture. Clearly the joke was on me now.

As I buzzed around after them, fruitlessly trying to contain their holiday spirit, my husband came down the stairs to find himself trapped by the gate. One of the boys immediately thrust a coloring book at him and demanded that he sign his name in order to be released from the gate (he came up with that part on his own). All the while, his younger brother stood there repeatedly shouting “Butt” in between wild giggles…because shouting butt is clearly hilarious. A moment later, Señor Butt ran off and came flying back over to wag the bag of hidden K-cups in his father’s face, totally busting that joke before my husband had a chance to discover they were missing. I might as well tell you that we also hid your cereal and there’s a giant plastic spider in your work bag.

I have a feeling that I’ll be contending with a higher than usual level of mischief and mayhem today. Lesson learned…kids shouldn’t be told about April Fool’s Day.

But fun days require fun food. And I can’t think of anything more fun that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches turned into a warm bread pudding and drizzled with marshmallow topping. I’m not even sure if this qualifies as breakfast, lunch, or dessert. Almost certainly dessert, but I won’t tell if you serve it for breakfast or lunch. It’s made out of PB&J sandwiches…sounds like lunch to me! The marshmallow Fluff was an afterthought. I’d initially planned to sprinkle my pb&j bread pudding with powdered sugar, but the marshmallow fluff caught my eye at the grocery store. Not sure I’ve ever purchased fluff before, but it certainly works for this fun little treat!

Fluffernutter Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 small/medium loaf of crusty Italian bread, sliced
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (approximately)
  • 1/2 cup jam or jelly (approximately)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff or other marshmallow topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use the bread, peanut butter, and jelly to make several peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then, cut the sandwiches into small (approximately 1″) chunks. Arrange the chunks of PB&J in a large baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the half and half, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Pour the mixture over the PB&J chunks. Press down on the mixture to ensure that all pieces have been moistened. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, periodically pressing down on the mixture to soak all pieces.

Remove the baking dish from the fridge. Bake for 45 minutes. While still hot, drizzle the marshmallow topping over the bread pudding. Serve warm.

**A little trick for drizzling the marshmallow topping: Place some of the topping in a small baggie. Cut off a tiny bit of one corner and squeeze the topping over the bread pudding.

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Spiced Fruit Bread Pudding

I was well into adulthood before I tasted bread pudding for the first time. Quite honestly, I didn’t really understand what it was and the thought of it was completely unappealing to me. Soggy bread in some sort of puddingy mix? Eww. I certainly wasn’t about to choose the bread pudding option over the 15-layer chocolate ecstasy cake on any restaurant dessert menu!

It wasn’t until I attended a Sunday brunch, at a restaurant which was local to me during my DC days, that I finally had the opportunity to try bread pudding. There, amongst the dessert table of fruity pastries, chocolate croissants, and elegant petit fours, was a large dish of warm bread pudding. This, my friends, is exactly why buffet-style dining delights my heart. I could take a risk-free scoop of that bread pudding without chancing disappointment and without the opportunity cost of my chocolate selection.

Imagine my shock upon taking my first bite of that bread pudding! That bread pudding schooled me, for sure. It was not the soggy, unappealing concoction I’d imagined it would be, but rather a sweet, luscious treat for my palate. Think french toast, but sweeter and richer. I was reformed that day. I’d even consider passing up a heavenly slice of chocolate cake for a scoop of warm, homemade bread pudding. Now, that’s saying something!

Here is my spicy, fruity take on a bread pudding; chunks of day-old French bread, topped with a spiced mixture of dried apples, apricots, and raisins, then baked to perfection in a sweet custard. Served warm, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon, this treat would make a fantastic dessert or decadent brunch treat for any occasion or no occasion at all!

And if you’re ever in the DC/Silver Spring, MD area on a Sunday morning, check out the brunch at Mrs. K’s Toll House! Have a mimosa and a scoop of bread pudding for me while you’re there!

Spiced Fruit Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried fruits, chopped (apricots, apples, raisins…)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 6 cups stale French bread, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Whipped cream and cinnamon, for garnish

Directions

Place chopped fruits in a bowl. Stir together the apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Pour the mixture over the fruits and allow to sit for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour the melted butter into a large (about 2-quart) baking dish and swirl to coat the bottom and edges. Arrange the chunks of bread in an even layer in the baking dish.

Scatter the soaked fruits in an even layer over the bread. Drizzle any remaining liquid over the bread.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Pour the mixture over the bread and fruit. Press down on the bread to ensure that all pieces have been moistened. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the fridge and press down on the top again. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm, topped with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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