Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Burn-free Bread Pudding!

 Really, I should be calling this the "born free" bread pudding, considering how it was a child of my impulsive and rather fatigued mind, baked up at 9 something at night... No recipe at all... So I have looked at a couple bread pudding recipes online in my days, and I have to say that while they all look tempting, I've never been in the position to make them. I don't usually have bread in my house, so the idea of going out to get a loaf just to spoil it, as it were...isn't the best economical idea for me. Plus, if I did have bread, it would probably be some cheap (as in least expensive) plastic-wrapped commercial brand bread that wouldn't be fit for purpose anyway.

 On top of that, I will add that my experiences with bread pudding have been rather limited and anywhere on the spectrum between underwhelming and straight-up bad. Or downright bad - whichever you prefer. Before I really get into why that's been, I should tell you a little about myself as a person... More aptly, as a consumer:

  1. I eat with my eyes. If you don't believe me, do take a look at exhibit A... So, moving on (I assume you know what the Hell I'm jabbering about by now) the way things look is very important to how I perceive them. When I look at tantalizingly yummy gets me much more excited about trying it. This is key to my dining experience! It also makes me a prime target for Marketing Agents and all sorts of packaging ploys...
  2. I set high a fault. When I think something is going to be good because my eyes have told me so, I expect that goodness to actually happen. Because my eyes wouldn't lie to me... My perception must be 100% accurate! (As I'm sure you can imagine, this sort of thinking has caused quite a deal of issues in my life...but damn does that hot rock look just like my elbow!)
  3. I catastrophize. Really. I always feel like Doomsday is right around the corner, and so when something doesn't meet my expectations, I take it as a sign from God. Now I don't really know why God decides to weigh in so much on half the stuff that goes wrong...but I spend less time questioning that and more time beating myself up for obviously not deserving whatever that faulty experience was!
 Moving on, I think I can now explain to you the nature of my experiences with bread pudding. I ought say lack thereof, because what I have had didn't tick a single box on my internally formulated definition of what the delightful little dessert casserole should be. In fact, my taste buds have been scarred mightily by soggy, goopy, omelette-y, yuck that's deceitfully attractive. That being said, I was a little afraid to actually try to master a version of my own, even though I know there must be some good recipes out there given all the love for it buzzing around the web. But alas, I have at last attempted! And it was...
Super amazing.

My only regrets are not making this sooner, or really writing down my measurements (er eyeball-isms) for you to recreate should you so desire. However, I'm proud to present a super easy and delicious bread pudding that can make you impress all your friends at the next potluck! This is really perfect for holiday parties too... 

 Bread Pudding 


  • 1 loaf artisan bread, cubed (I used oatmeal molasses from my local bakery, but you can use what you prefer, so long as it's relatively porous and chewy, not too light. Mine was freezer-burned, actually, but it tasted like fresh once baked!)
  • 2 1/2c milk of choice (I used almond)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1t cloves
  • 1/2t cardamom (optional)
  • 1/3c demerara (turbinado or as unprocessed of sugar as you can find is fine -- just try to get big crystals!)
  • 1/4t butter extract (optional)
  • 1/2c additions of choice (I made mine with my homemade fig-nut larabar "batter" but anything would work! Just make sure to reduce some of the milk if you're using a liquid addition like syrup or honey, or fresh/frozen fruit)
  • coconut oil or butter (for the pan)


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Grease an 8x8 brownie pan with the coconut oil or butter. Pack cubed bread loosely in the pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the milk, vanilla, cardamom, cloves, butter extract, and about half of the sugar. Mix until well combined and uniform in color; I would recommend a fork or a whisk. 
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs until a little frothy. Combine with the milk mixture and mix until  incorporated.
  4. Stud the bread with the additions of your choice, lifting up pieces and putting stuff under them before returning the pieces to their original place, moving things around, etc. You want to get everything peppered throughout the bread so that not all of your additions will be concentrated (and thus have a limited scope of appeal to most people...since one person will get it all in one slice! Unless this is you, and you're an unsavory sort - I guess that's why you bake sweet...). Just be sure not to put it all on top, else it won't seep in all the way and will burn (and we don't want that now, do we?)
  5. Pour the milk-egg mixture over the bread and press the pieces down lightly to enable maximum soak-age potential. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.
  6. Bake in your preheated oven until golden and the tips of the bread peeking out from the milk mixture are toasted, about 20 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it, though, because it can burn! If it seems almost but not quite done, turn the oven off after 20 minutes and just let it sit in there for a few more minutes to help it set.
  7. Remove and allow to cool...if you can... Otherwise...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Best EVER Banana Bread

 I have a problem....and it's name is gluten. No, I don't have Celiac, however my roommate does and my mother is on some sort of Paleo-esque diet hoping to remedy her adrenal fatigue...
...easy to say that the baker in me has her hands full!
Look; it's smiling!

But despite having my taste buds revolt against some of the God-awful experiments I've turned out, I finally found one recipe that they appreciate -- a Gluten-Free Paleo-Friendly Cinnamon Banana Bread! You wouldn't expect me to have the sense to come up with one of these all on my own...but lo and behold, I have!

Actually, I owe 99.9% of this recipe's success to Sally at Sally's Baking Addiction: the woman is a genius. 'Nuff said, hands down; whatever you want to call it, I definitely have to give her the credit for the standard recipe. I modified it, I did, but there's no way intuition would have guided me hrough without her measurements! I love her blog too because she is careful to list the weight of the ingredients in grams; the incorporation of weighted measurements has made a world of a difference in my baking. I was shocked to discover how off my cup only measurements could be - even when I spooned the flour in, it could be a third more than it should have been! Seriously; if you're a real foodie baker at heart, invest in a kitchen scale. They have them everywhere (I got mine at Tuesday Morning for about $14): here are some from Don't pay more than $20; really you shouldn't have to. 

*Ahem* now without further ado, here's the recipe!



  • 2 cups (250g) gluten-free flour blend (I used 140g Bob's All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour and 110g Bob's Organic Coconut Flour) - Wheat flours are fine of course!
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already has, or you're using wheat)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar, not packed
  • 4 Tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, softened (I used Kerrygold)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3-4 Bananas (I used 4 average/small, but you can get away with 3 if they're big...though why you'd want to get away with less is beyond me... 
  • 1/3 cup (80g) yogurt (I used plain greek yogurt, but I'm sure a flavored one would be lovely!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter extract
Cinnamon Swirl
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar (I didn't actually scale this)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter with a stand (I have a KitchenAid) or handheld mixer on medium speed until well blended – about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a wooden spoon, stir in the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Do NOT overmix. "Batter" will be thick, and by thick, we mean more of a dough (like cookies) than batter. This is what makes the bread dense and moist - don't give into the scared little devil trying to get you to add more liquid!
  3. Spoon and spread (it's very thick, after all) half of the batter into prepared loaf pan. With your fingers, flake the 1 Tablespoon of butter into the cinnamon and sugar until well combined. Spread the ingredients onto the layer of batter in the pan. Top with remaining batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.
  4. Top with frosting, glaze, or accompaniment of your choice....and CONSUME! (Ideally you'd get 14-16 slices out of this, but I won't hold it against you if you just tip the whole thing back into your mouth for a big ol' princess bite...). I didn't make the glaze that Sally has on her website, but I'm sure it would be divine! I like to have mine with Nutella or Peanut butter...or warm with a little ice cream/custard...

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