Cranberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

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Why is bread so wonderful?

I was going to start this post with the question “Do you have any leftover bread?”, but if you have leftover bread sitting around, you aren’t doing life right.

Well, let’s not be so harsh.  As a single gal, I do have problems buying and using up an entire loaf of bread myself.  Let’s not lie, there is an easy fix to this problem of just putting all the bread in my mouth, but I have to cling to some of my last dredges of self control in order to save my binges for sugar.  Thus, why I have several dinner rolls stored in my freezer in case of emergency.

So, say we have some bread laying around.  There are lots of options for what we can do with it.  Slather slices with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, fill  with melted cheese, or stuffed with lots of meat.  Today, we are going to focus on pouring some wonderful custard on top of that bread.  Bread pudding.

Before making this, I had actually never had bread pudding before.  (Another dish mom doesn’t like- mushy foods aren’t her thang).  I definitely enjoyed my first exposure- what is not to love when there is white chocolate and cranberries involved?

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING
Adapted from Honey What’s Cooking

INGREDIENTS

1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup craisins
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, divided
1-2 cups cubed bread
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 2 ramekins

In a bowl whisk together egg, milk, vanilla bean seeds, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir in craisins, 6 tablespoons white chocolate chips, and bread.  Let sit for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and light brown sugar.  Mix in walnuts.  Set aside.

Divide bread mixture between ramkins.  Top with streusel.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool slightly (or completely).  Top with remaining white chocolate chips.

Makes 2 ramekins, serves 2.

Cranberry Cinnamon Sugar Candied Walnuts

7-3 Cranberry Cinnamon Sugar Walnuts

During the day, I am not much of a snacker.  I tend to stick to my main meals- although you will often find me with a Diet Coke by my side.  I know it’s not the best thing to pump into my body, but I am addicted. Just hook me up to a Diet Coke IV please.

However, the sun goes down (and I can’t drink Diet Coke anymore or else I will be awake all night), and my stomach starts to grumble.  I am a night snacker- I look forward to the unwinding from my day with a sweet snack, and I often will snack and scroll through food blogs.  I have my snack staples: ice cream sandwiches, leftover holiday candy (I just found a bag of Halloween M&Ms in my closet, hurrah for being a hoarder), and pudding.  But I was ready to mix it up.

So for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I decided to look for a new snack to try.  I was assigned Desiree’s blog, Steak n Potatoes Kinda Girl.  And upon hearing her website, I just wanted a big juicy steak.  But I had a mission: snacks.  I had a great time looking through her great array of recipes, and when I saw her recipe for Salted Candied Pecans I knew I had found a new great snack.

I made a few changes: walnuts instead of pecans because that is what I had in my pantry, and I added craisins because adding craisins is always a good decision.  And these nuts did not disappoint.  Crunchy nuts, chewy craisins, and sweetness. Perfect for late night web surfing and also a great road trip snack!

Also goes great with Diet Coke.  But what doesn’t?

CRANBERRY CINNAMON SUGAR CANDIED WALNUTS
Adapted from Steak n Potatoes Kinda Girl

INGREDIENTS

1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup craisins

DIRECTIONS

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine walnuts, sugar, and water.  As the sugar begins to liquefy (3-5 minutes), begin stirring.  Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar thickens and crystalizes, about 4-7 minutes.

Decrease heat to medium low.  Continue to cook until sugar begins to harden and turn brown.  Stir in salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and craisins.  Stir to evenly coat nuts. Pour into single layer on a baking sheet and let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!

Fig and Walnut Tapenade

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend with lots of good food.  Our Half-Thanksgiving celebration was a huge success.  I got to spend a day cooking up food in the kitchen so all in all, a good weekend for me (excluding a terribly bitter chocolate pie and an emergency grocery store run for dessert).

Our menu included fried turkey, stuffing, cornbread, broccoli salad, cranberry sauce.  All great but my favorite was this fig and olive tapenade.  This recipe is an example of mother knowing best.  My mom found this recipe which sounded okay, but I was not tempted.  She had it and liked it, so when I couldn’t come up with another dip for appetizers, I decided to settle for this tapenade.  So. Delicious.  I had to restrain myself from downing this dip so I would still have room for dinner.  But in the end, I finished the dip up (with some help from mom) as a late night snack.  I miss it already.

FIG AND WALNUT TAPENADE
Slightly Adapted from Bon Appetit
INGREDIENTS

9 ounces dried figs, stemmed and chopped
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

To Serve: Goat Cheese, Crackers

DIRECTIONS
In a medium skillet over medium heat, combine figs and water.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until water has evaporated and figs are soft.  Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a large bowl combine figs, olives, capers, herbes de Provence, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  Stir to mix.  Chill for at least 1 hour, preferrably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully, until toasted.  Mix walnuts into tapenade.  Serve on top of a cracker with goat cheese.