Monday, June 16, 2008

Pumpkin bread pudding

This is one my mom has made ... it is SINFUL. I'd like to make it for a special occasion this fall. I'm not sure if this is her exact recipe but it seems very similar.


Bread pudding
2 cups half and half
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 cups 1/2-inch cubes egg bread (about 10-ounces)
1/2 cup golden raisins

Caramel sauce
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
Powdered sugar


For bread pudding: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in golden raisins. Transfer mixture to 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake pumpkin bread pudding until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare caramel sauce: 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.
Sift powdered sugar over bread pudding. Serve warm with caramel sauce.

The beauty of banana bread

What I love about banana bread is that it can take you from this:

To this!

Click here for the recipe.

And sometimes, you crap it up:

I only baked the pumpkin bread for an hour (the instructions said between 1-1.5 hours) ... I am still figuring out cooking with a gas stove. I have always had an electric before we moved last August, and I quickly learned that gas tends to be a bit hotter faster. Also, I have a bad habit of missing the buzzer and I was afraid of burning the bread.

Welp, today I had the opposite problem. Goo bread. One of the loaves was a bit larger and it sunk in the middle so I tried to save it by putting it in the oven on a cookie sheet for a while: no good. When I sliced into it the top was still batter. So I sliced it into chunks and am in the process of drying it out. The other loaf is in the freezer ... it wasn't as sunken on the top so hopefully it's all right.

Lesson learned? Cooking isn't an exact science.

Revised Mac & Cheese

I've finally found a more structured recipe for mac & cheese. I made this a few times last month, once for a friend's birthday and then again for a church potluck and both batches were consistent. Hope it works for you!!

Manda's Mac & Cheese

1/2 gallon whole milk
1 box Barilla small elbows
1 stick salted butter
1 (4 cup) package shredded cheddar
1 (2 cup) package Mexican blend cheese
4-6 T. flour
1 block colby jack

Cook macaroni according to package instructions (in salted water, about 1.5 T). Drain in collander and leave in sink until ready to return to pot. DO NOT RINSE!!

Pour entire 1/2 gallon of milk into hot macaroni pot and reduce heat to medium/medium-high. Add stick of butter. Whisk until butter is melted, then add in flour one tablespoon at a time until mix begins to thicken and loses its "grittiness." Add handfuls of cheddar cheese while continuously whisking until you have a combined sauce (note: don't stop whisking, ever!! This is the part that takes a little finesse, but it's important so you don't scorch the milk). Finish with a light handful of the Mexican blend cheese, but don't overdo it. You may want to continue whisking until the sauce reduces a little bit, but you don't have to. At this point I taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Add the macaroni back into the pot, carefully separating the noodles (they'll be a bit sticky after sitting in the sink a while, but that's good! They will absorb the sauce!!). Take a few minutes and stir well, making sure all the noodles are coated and beginning to soak up the sauce.

Pour the mixture evenly into TWO 8x11 glass dishes. Cube the colby jack cheese and add half to each pan, tucking the cubes into the noodles so they are hidden (about one per scoop -- my husband refers to these lovingly as "cheese bombs"). Top with the remaining Mexican blend cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 mins until bubbling. Serves 8-10, depending on how hungry everyone is.

This is an original recipe! If you would like to republish it please do so with my name and a link back to this blog.

[Copyright Amanda Huddle, 2008]

Favorite cooking tool: My big bowl

My mom got me this bowl from Goodwill when I was in grad school. My husband got violently ill after eating buttered popcorn at the movies about SIX years ago (when we were still dating) and he still can't stand the smell or even consider eating popcorn again, so my big bowl gets used for other various things because of how big it is. I mix up bread batter, serve big salads, chips, I love how much it can hold! It's a pain to handwash sometimes because it's a bit heavy, but I use it weekly!

When Starbucks quits offering pumpkin bread ...

...the pregnant lady gets baking on a lovely warm June day. Sigh.

I love this recipe (click here to see it). It's so easy ... you just dump all the ingredients in a big bowl, combine, and bake!! It's not Starbucks pumpkin loaf, it's much cakier and doesn't have frosting or nuts, but it helps with my pumpkin craving. These freeze well. Since the recipe makes 2 loaves I'll freeze one for later. My mom and sister are visiting this weekend so it'll be a nice treat!

Dry ingredients:

Don't forget the pumpkin (I almost did):

Everything in the bowl:

350 degrees for 1-1.5 hours: