Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding...those 2 words conjure up memories from my childhood that just give me that warm, fuzzy feeling!! My mom would always make this for us as kids. We would come home to find it still warm, waiting for us on the kitchen counter. My favorite part back then, and still today, is the top crispy top layer, which always seemed to be the sweetest!!

Growing up we didn't have a lot, but my mom always managed to have simple but delectable desserts for almost every meal. I think that had to do with my dad's love of sweets. If dad ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!!

I now make this for my kids, but mine is a more tweaked version, with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream on the side, and I am sure WAY more calories!! The recipe has changed, but the fuzzy feeling is still the same.

So now as I sit with the Bread Pudding in the oven, the kids are asking in the background, "Mommmmm...are you making caramel sauce to go with that"??? I holler back, "Nooo......not today". I love to play with their minds....lol. Then I yell back, "Of course I am making caramel sauce"!!! Woohooo, I hear them say. Kids....such simple things sometimes makes them happy. I can totally relate.

Bread Pudding
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10 slices of thick white bread (I use D'Italiano), cubed
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup of coffee cream (I always add an extra splash)
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup white sugar
sprinkling of cinnamon, to your taste
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cubed bread in a greased 11 x 9 pan. Drizzle melted butter over top.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, coffee cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat until well mixed, then pour over bread in pan. Let pan stand a few minutes to absorb into bread.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until light golden brown, and knife comes out clean when inserted in center of pudding.

**Just a note: I sometimes mix it up a bit and leave out some of the bread, and add in cinnamon rolls(OMG!), timbits (TDF!!), rolls, croissants, etc. Use your imagination!

Serve warm with caramel sauce and whipped cream!! Enjoy!

Caramel Sauce
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OK...here is the deal...if you went through all the trouble to make the bread pudding, you cannot, I repeat CANNOT eat it without the Caramel Sauce. It takes less than 5 minutes, from start to finish, and it makes this simple dessert the Pi├Ęce de Resistance!!

1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (use real, baby, real!)
1/2 cup of whipping cream or coffee cream

Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

That's it!! Indulge!
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Saturday, January 6, 2007

Caramelly Goodness!!


OK...here I am once again into the concocting!! With a teenage daughter who has 6 sweet-toothed friends, it never ends!

Here is the recipe first, so you will know how absolutely easy these are!

Caramel Covered Pretzels
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1 bag of pretzel wands (or the jumbo regular pretzels)
50 caramels
2 Tablespoons whipping cream (I use coffee cream)
any type of nuts, chopped finely
Approx 1 cup chocolate chips, any flavor
shortening

Melt caramels and whipping cream over low heat. Dip and completely cover each pretzel with caramel...then place in chopped, using hands to kind of press and cover wands with nuts. Transfer to foil lined pan (can be sprayed lightly with nonstick spray). Put chocolate (about 1 cup) and a dollop of shortening (2 teaspoons or so), in a ziplock bag. Microwave on low heat till melted. Squish chocolate and shortening together until mixed well. Snip a tiny end off one corner of the bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the pretzels. Allow to set and store in an airtight container.
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These are a tried and true favorite at our house. I have been making them for 3 years and always gets rave reviews! They are the kind of thing that you intend to make ONLY to give away, but then you start to melt the caramels and it is all downhill from there. About 5 minutes after the pot is on the stove, I hear the telltale creak of the bottom step and my son is sneaking up, saying, "Whatcha' making, mom?". Then the snowball affect happens...my daughter hears the phrase of anything involving food. It is like a sugar radar. She is standing beside her brother, peering wondrously into the pot. ***Mental note to attach caramel scent to chore list.***

So, by the time the last pretzel is dipped and drizzled, the kids have suffered long enough. So, with only thoughts of keeping my poor starving dentist employed, I give the kids a pretzel. The "mmmmmmms " and "oooohs" are all I need to hear.

Now I scrape the bottom bits of caramel out of the pot, and know that I have done what every good mother should do: maintain the sugar high!