Tag Archives: heavy cream

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

NanaBread's Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Know what I love about this recipe? That it’s easy to make and no one will ever suspect you cleaned out your freezer to make it. Every six months or so, when my freezer is over-run with leftover hot dog and hamburger buns and half of several baguettes, I make bread pudding. The finished product is so pretty and so delicious, no one will ever suspect. Perhaps it’s the buttery bread pudding…perhaps it’s the whiskey sauce that goes on top…perhaps it’s the perfect combination of both, but it’s fabulous and now it’s available all of you. This recipe makes one 9”x13” pan, or 12 very generous servings.

For the bread pudding, you’ll need:
20 cups of diced white bread (burger & hot dog buns, French bread, etc.)
One pint of heavy whipping cream
One pint of milk (easily measured by pouring milk into the empty cream carton)
4 large or jumbo eggs
2 cups of granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
¼ cup of Toriani Vanilla Syrup, optional
4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

Bread pudding couldn't be easier to make, really!

Pre-heat your oven to 350F and make sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Clean out your freezer and let your bread thaw. I like to use a mix of 70% buns and 30% French bread for this recipe. It’s about texture. The buns will get soft and a little mushy, and the French bread will hold its shape. Together, they make a perfect finished texture. Begin by cutting the thawed bread into ½” to ¾” cubes. I know 20 cups sounds like a lot of cubed bread, but it smushes down once the liquid is added. Throw the bread into a large mixing bowl and set it aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla syrup (optional). Beat until well combined and pour over the bread cubes. Let sit for one minute, and then toss with a spatula to coat the bread with the milk mixture. Wait another minute and toss again. Do this several times, or until the milk mixture coats all the bread cubes and has been absorbed, for the most part. Spray a 13” x 9” baking dish or pan with cooking spray; pour in bread mixture and using a spoon or spatula, push the mixture out into all four corners to create an even thickness. Do not smooth out the top like you would a cake batter. You want the top surface to be lumpy and bumpy to catch all that beautiful melted butter. Trust me. Next, melt the unsalted butter and pour it evenly over the top. Place your baking dish on a rimmed cookie sheet (to prevent spill-over in your oven) and bake at 350F for 40-60 minutes, or until the top is a gorgeous golden brown and the center is not longer jiggly. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

While that’s baking, make the whiskey sauce. If you’re worried about the alcohol, don’t fret…some of it will cook out and the flavor, when combined with the buttery flavor of the bread pudding, is phenomenal. Really and truly…it’s mind-blowing. If you don’t like whiskey, you can substitute Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or a good golden rum. And if you don’t like alcohol at all, you can make a nice lemon sauce or top it with vanilla ice cream. But I recommend the whiskey sauce. I use Weller’s Special Reserve for mine; it’s awesome. And I’m not a whiskey drinker. But I love this sauce. Here’s how it’s done:

For the whiskey sauce, you’ll need:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces of whiskey (or other booze)
3 eggs, at room temperature

In a heavy-bottom sauce pan, beat the sugar and butter with a whisk until well combined. Turn the heat on to medium-low and while whisking constantly, cook until it is bubbly and the sugar starts to dissolve. This will take 6-8 minutes or so. Don’t walk away from the stove…this can scorch or burn quickly. Once the mixture is bubbling and foamy, stir in the booze and continue to whisk until sugar is completely dissolved and it returns to a bubbling boil. In a separate mixing bowl (metal or glass), crack your eggs and beat until lemon yellow. Using a ladle, gradually add some of the sugar/whiskey mixture into the eggs, beating furiously with your whisk. It’s really important that you beat the eggs rapidly with your whisk while you slowly add the whiskey mixture. Failure to do so will result in curdled eggs. (If that happens, don’t panic. You can strain the sauce before you serve it.) Once you’ve added enough whiskey mixture to warm the eggs (about ½ a cup), begin to slowly whisk the egg mixture back into the pan of whiskey/sugar. Again, beat furiously to incorporate the two to insure that the eggs don’t curdle. Remove the sauce from the heat, and continue to beat for another minute by hand, until everything is incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Serve warm over bread pudding. Resist the urge to eat it straight from the pan with a big spoon, especially when it’s flaming hot. The sauce should be stored in the refrigerator; just warm it in the microwave before drinking serving.

Bread pudding - even before baking, it looks delicious!

And that’s my recipe for bread pudding with whiskey sauce. It was adapted from one of my favorite cook books, Cleora’s Kitchen by Cleora Butler. Whether you eat it warm, room temperature or cold, it’s always delicious and it would make a great addition to your holiday menu. If you love bread pudding, I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think. Happy holidays, and happy eating!

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Recipe Review: The Pioneer Woman’s Corn Chowder with Green Chilies

This is corn chowder with green chilies. I can’t take credit for this recipe. Not one little bit. This is a Pioneer Woman creation. It was posted last week by Ree Drummond, otherwise known as The Pioneer Woman. If you don’t know who she is, you need to find out. Like now. Her website is fabulous, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a devoted fan and follower. She’s a talented, funny gal.

Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder with Green Chilies - Oh my, it's so good!

I have made several of the recipes off the Tasty Kitchen recipe link on the PW website, but this one by far has been the best. It’s creamy, it’s crunchy, and it’s got a ton of flavor with just a few ingredients. It’s rib stickin’ and soul satisfying. It’s got some of my favorite foods – bacon, sweet corn, green chilies and heavy cream. There’s just no way for this recipe to go wrong. It truly is a southwest sweet corn, green chili comfort food lover’s dream in a bowl.

I made a few slight alterations to suit our tastes, including using 8-10 shakes of Chipotle Tabasco sauce instead of 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I used 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic salt and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt instead of just using salt alone. I also added two small roasted poblano peppers (diced) and I roasted my corn-on-the-cob on the charcoal grill while The Complete Package was grilling pork tenderloins. Trust me, the toasty roasty bits on the corn added some great flavor to the soup. Other than that, stick to the recipe and you’ll be in chowder bliss in under an hour. And don’t forget to toast up a good loaf of crusty bread to serve with it…with lots of butter. You won’t regret it.

I’m not including the recipe in this post. I could never do it justice. Besides, Ree has already done all the work on her website. Here’s the link to the original Pioneer Woman recipe, complete with step-by-step instructions and mouth-watering photos. The rest is up to you, of course, but you really should try it! http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/corn-chowder-with-chilies/

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Cheery Cherry Chocolate Chip Scones

Cheery Cherry Chocolate Chip Scones - Warm From the Oven

If you love yummy scones, these will definitely make you smile. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks – The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook (Boston Common Press). It’s from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine and the America’s Test Kitchen television program on PBS. The original recipe is for cream scones, and it’s a perfect base for scone experimentation. Using heavy whipping cream for this recipe helps create a wonderfully flaky, dreamy scone.

Here’s how I made them:
½ cup dried cherries
¼ cup very hot water
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup mini-morsel semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Extra butter and sugar for the tops

Preheat your oven to 425F. Place the dried cherries in a bowl; add the hot water and almond extract and set aside to soak while you mix up the scones. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in cold butter pieces until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal with small butter chunks mixed in. Drain your cherries and press them into paper towels to remove all the liquid. Roughly chop and throw them into the flour mixture along with the chocolate chips. Stir just until combined. Add the heavy whipping cream and stir until mixture starts to clump into a large ball. It’s important not to over mix here.

Scones are like biscuits…if you over mix them, they’ll turn out rubbery. Once most of the dough starts to clump together, place it onto a lightly floured surface. Pour the remaining crumbs onto the top of the ball and gently press it all together. I don’t knead the dough; I just press it all together with my hands. Form into a circle about 1” thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet (I like to use a silicone mat on a baking sheet). It should make 6-8 scones, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter. Before baking, place a thin pat of butter on the top of each scone.

Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 5 minutes, allowing the butter on top to melt. Remove the pan from the oven and quickly sprinkle the tops generously with sugar. Put them back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until scones are lightly browned around the edges and the sugar on top crackles. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving. Scones are always best served warm from the oven with real butter (that’s my opinion, anyway). This recipe is incredibly versatile. I’ve made them with dried blueberries, diced apples tossed in cinnamon sugar, etc. Be adventurous!

Here’s a quick tip – if you don’t have a biscuit cutter, save a small tomato sauce or tomato paste can from another recipe. Just use your can opener to open both ends (making sure there are no sharp edges) and wash thoroughly, removing the label. I keep a few different sizes in my kitchen, just in case.

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