Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

The following recipe was prepared for my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting New Orleans chefs. You can read about it and get other recipes from the event HERE.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
shared at the event by Joelen
inspired by this recipe & adapted from here

4 loaves – French bread, each 1’ long
1 qt – Heavy cream
1 ½ C – Whole milk
1 ½ C – Sugar
3 C – Light brown sugar
12 ea – Egg yolks
3 ea – Bananas
1 C – Rum
½ t – Ground cinnamon
4 T – Vanilla extract
Fresh mint for garnish

Slice French bread and dry in a 200° oven for 20 minutes. Combine remaining pudding ingredients in a large container and blend well with a hand mixer. Thinly slice dried French bread and place in an 8” x 10” x 2” pan. Pour pudding into pan and mush all bread by hand so that the liquid is absorbed and the bread becomes very soggy. Be sure to flatten all of the lumps. Cover pan with foil and bake at 300° for 2 ½ hours, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the pudding comes out dry. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Foster Sauce
4 ½ C – Unsalted butter
4 ½ C – Packed dark brown sugar
3 t – Ground cinnamon
2 ¼ C – Golden rum
2 ¼ C – Banana liqueur
8 – Bananas, sliced lengthwise and in half

Melt butter in a saucepot. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Add the rum and ignite. Allow the flames to subside. Then, stir in the banana liqueur. Add fresh bananas and simmer over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the sauce coats the spoon.

To Serve: Cut bread pudding into 3 ½” x 3 ½” squares. Top warm bread pudding with Foster sauce and garnish with mint leaves.

Strawberry Bread Pudding

While my sorbet was freezing, I started to prepare a Strawberry Bread Pudding to use up the remaining leftover dinner rolls. I made a large pan so that my husband can bring it to work and feed the masses there (and because I don’t want any more desserts accessible at home!).

I’m also submitting this recipe to Waiter, There’s Something In My Berried Treasure blogging event. This event highlights berries and thought my Strawberry Bread Pudding recipe would fit the bill.
I found this recipe for Berry Bread Pudding, but decided to alter it a bit. So here’s my adapted recipe for Strawberry Bread Pudding:

20 dinner rolls, a few days old; cubed
4 eggs + 5 egg whites (optional)**
5 cups half & half
1 12oz can strawberry nectar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla paste or extract
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Generously butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange the cubed rolls in the dish to fill it completely.

Add the strawberry slices and frozen berries to the cubed rolls and carefully toss together. The berries should be distributed equally throughout. It may not look like it will all fit, but stay with me!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs & 5 egg whites, half & half, strawberry nectar, white sugar, and vanilla. Pour the liquid over the bread and berries, and let it sit for about 15-30 minutes. Press down the top with a spatula occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the bread pudding for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden, and the middle is firm.

** So to explain the addition of 5 egg whites (which is completely optional), I also planned on making another recipe calling for 5 egg yolks today (read on for details!). To prevent wasting them or figuring out how to use 5 leftover egg whites, I added them to the bread pudding recipe above.

Rice Pudding Rescue

How often do you throw food out? Weekly? Daily? For me, I just can’t do it if at all possible. In fact, when I made some horchata recently, I was left with a few cups of processed rice. To prevent throwing it out, I decided to make rice pudding. Initially I was hoping to find a unique recipe to liven up the usual rice pudding recipes. One I contemplated was a pina colada rice pudding, however I got a bit lazy and resorted to a simple recipe. In fact, I used Ina’s recipe below, from the Food Network. I ended up doubling the recipe since I had so much rice to work with. It was good for some simple but I think I’ll try playing with it by incorporating some additional flavors for next time.

Here’s Ina Garten’s recipe for Rum Raisin Rice Pudding:

3/4 cup raisins (I omitted)
2 tablespoons dark rum
3/4 cup white basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups half-and-half, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 extra-large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum. Set aside.

Combine the rice and salt with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stir once, and simmer, covered, on the lowest heat for 8 to 9 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. (If your stove is very hot, pull the pan halfway off the burner.)

Stir in 4 cups of half-and-half and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, until the rice is very soft. Stir often, particularly toward the end. Slowly stir in the beaten egg and continue to cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, add the remaining cup of half-and-half, the vanilla, and the raisins with any remaining rum. Stir well. Pour into a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

This recipe was featured in my Springtime Cupcake swap event, which you can read about HERE.

Joelen’s Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes:

1 butter yellow cake mix
1 3oz box french vanilla instant pudding
1 cup half & half
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup chocolate ganache
(or 1 tub prepared chocolate frosting, slightly melted)

Prepare yellow cupcakes as directed.
In the meantime, prepare the vanilla custard filling by combineing the instant pudding with the half & half in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer using the whip attachment, place cream, vanilla and powdered sugar on medium speed. Whip the cream until you get soft peaks.

Gently fold in pudding mixture into the whipped cream until fully incorporated.

Place filling into a piping bag or makeshift ziploc bag, fitted with a coupler and a #21 tip.

When cupcakes have cooled, place tip inside the center of each cupcake and pipe in filling, being careful not to overfill.

When all cupcakes are filled, have your ganache (or melted chocolate frosting) ready and dip only the tops of the cupcakes. Place glazed cupcakes on a cooling rack to dry.

Drain and pat dry maraschino cherries. While cupcakes are slightly “wet’ from the glaze, place a cherry on top to garnish.

Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe was featured in my Springtime Cupcake swap event, which you can read about HERE.

Charity’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cupcakes:

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook

Time: 22 Minutes
Ready In: 37 Minutes
Yields: 24 servings

2 cups all-purpose whole grain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup and 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 package chocolate pudding mix
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon butter, softened
2-1/4 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups milk
24 peanut butter cups

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, pudding mix, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Add peanut butter cups on top.

3. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Serve when cooled.

Bread Pudding Pleasures

What do you do when you have lots of leftover bread that you’d hate to throw away? You could make breadcrumbs or better yet, bake up some bread pudding! Because it was such a dreary, damp and dark spring day here in Chicago, some comforting bread pudding definitely fit the bill.
I used this Butterscrotch Bread Pudding recipe as my guide, but to put my own spin on it, here’s my recipe for Caramel Apple Bread Pudding with Fresh Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

1 1/2 loaf of old bread, 1″ cubed
( I used an artisanal italian pane, but you could use a french baguette, french bread or even bagels)
3 cups half & half
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
1 cup caramel chips
3 medium apples, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or butter.

COMBINE all ingredients in large bowl. Allow bread to soak in liquids, especially if the bread is really dry. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

BAKE in preheated oven for 1 hour, until nearly set. Serve warm or cold, with a dollop of whipped cream.

For the vanilla bean whipped cream:

1 tablespoon vanila paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Place all ingredients in your stand mixer and whip with whip attachment until it thickens to whipped cream consistency.

12 Minute Turtle Bundt Cake

12 Minute Turtle Bundt Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips
3 eggs
cooking spray
caramel sauce
chopped pecans

In a stoneware bundt pan, grease the inside with cooking spray.
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, chocolate chips and eggs in a large bowl.
Place thick cake batter into the greased stoneware bundt pan.
Bake bundt pan in the microwave for 12 minutes.
Allow cake to cool and sit for 10 minutes in pan.
Invert onto a cake platter when slightly cooled.
Top cake with caramel sauce and chopped pecans.
This is served great with ice cream!

C is for Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend’s cookie package has inspired me to make more chocolate chip cookies… since it is my favorite cookie in the whole wide world!
Ruth Wakefield was known for her sugar cookies, which came free with every meal, and were for sale in the Toll House Inn’s lobby. One day, while mixing a batch of sugar cookie dough, the vibrations from a large Hobat mixer against the kitchen’s wall, caused bars of Nestlé’s baker’s chocolate on the shelf above to fall into the mixer, where it was broken up and incorporated into the dough. Ruth thought that the dough was ruined and was about to discard it, when George Boucher stopped her and talked her into saving the batch. His reasoning was out of frugality rather than a prediction of the cookie’s future popularity. Logically, the accepted story of the cookie’s origin doesn’t hold up since Ruth Wakefield was an accomplished chef and author of a cookbook, so would have known enough about the properties of chocolate, and that it wouldn’t melt and mix into the batter to make chocolate cookies, while baking.
Here’s a classic recipe for Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies I decided to whip up using french vanilla pudding mix:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

** This recipe can be doubled easily.