Doughnut Bread Pudding

Doughnut Bread Pudding | Pinky's Pantry
Doughnuts can be found all over the world in some form or another but no one loves them more than Americans. It’s not uncommon for the couple of doughnut shops we have in town to run out of doughnuts by mid-morning. You gotta get there early and be prepared to stand in line if you want to be able to snag a few of your favorites. I love plain sugared doughnuts myself and whoever invented maple bacon doughnuts deserves a medal!

If you’ve ever been to a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, you know just how mesmerizing it is to watch those sweet little rings move slowly along on the conveyer from formation, to frying, to glazing. And the first bite of that still warm, light-as-air confection makes you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.

This bread pudding is a great way to use up leftover donuts. It’s wonderful served plain on its own, but that being said, you’ve got to try it with my coffee cream sauce. Yum! After all, as any self-respecting American cop can tell you, there’s nothing like a doughnut with coffee.

DOUGHNUT BREAD PUDDING

  • 1 doz. plain glazed doughnuts
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
  2. Cut each doughnut into 8 pieces.
  3. Arrange the doughnut pieces in the buttered baking dish.
  4. Make custard by whisking together eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, and salt until well blended.
  5. Pour the custard evenly over the doughnut pieces in the baking dish.
  6. Gently press the pieces down into the liquid so they all get soaked with custard.
  7. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to give the doughnuts time to absorb the custard. If you like a softer, more custardy texture, let the doughnuts soak for a longer period of time.
  8. Bake the pudding for 30-35 minutes or until the custard is set. It’s okay if the center jiggles slightly when you shake it.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

NOTE:

  • This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 9×9-inch square baking dish if you’re feeding less people.
  • You can also make this dish in advance. Just follow the recipe from Step 2 to 7, then cover the casserole and place in refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove casserole from refrigerator and let sit on counter for at least 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before continuing with Step 8.

Basic Drop Biscuits

Drop Bisciuts | Pinky's Pantry
Drop biscuits are some of the easiest biscuits to make because you don’t have to roll them out or cut them with a biscuit cutter which makes for less equipment to use and less handling. Remember, the more you handle your dough, the tougher your biscuits turn out so you want to handle your dough as little as possible. These biscuits are Old Goat Honey’s favorite because he loves how they’re all crispy on the outside but chewy inside. I love making ham and cheddar drop biscuits, like the ones I have pictured, and serving them with eggs and coffee for breakfast.
Drop Bisciuts | Pinky's Pantry

BASIC DROP BISCUITS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk (can substitute milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter, for brushing on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter in the microwave and let cool about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour melted butter and buttermilk into flour mixture and stir just till mixture comes together. You’ll have a soft, sticky dough.
  5. Drop about 1/3 cup of batter onto prepared baking sheet, about 1½ inches apart.
  6. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until tops are golden brown and crisp.
  7. Take biscuits out of oven and immediately brush tops with 2 tablespoons melted butter, if desired.

VARIATIONS:  You can add things to the dry ingredients like ½ cup shredded cheese, or ½ cup chopped ham, or ½ cup crumbled bacon, or ¼ cup minced herbs, etc., alone or in combination with each other, before combining with the wet ingredients. You may have to increase the buttermilk to moisten the dough some more if you add other ingredients.

NOTE:  For the biscuits pictured, I added ½ cup shredded cheddar, ½ cup minced ham, 2 chopped green onion stalks, and about another ½ cup buttermilk.

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur | Pinky's Pantry
I found out that today is National Sandwich Day. Who knew we had a day dedicated to sandwiches? I love sandwiches. They’re the easiest thing to pack for lunch, they’re adorable cut into dainty little shapes for tea, and our family road trips just wouldn’t be the same without a cooler of sandwiches and drinks in the trunk of the car.

It’s commonly believed that the sandwich was the invention of John Montagu who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich in England. I can’t vouch for the truth of that, but the story goes that Lord Sandwich was a notorious gambler. They say he spent long hours at the gaming tables and rather than get up to eat, he would ask the servants to bring him some sliced meat between two pieces of bread so he could hold the food in one hand and keep his cards in the other. His friends embraced the custom and when they got hungry, they would ask for “the same as Sandwich” and that’s how the sandwich got its auspicious beginnings.

Anyway, in deference to National Sandwich Day, I decided to make Croque Monsieur for dinner tonight. Croque Monsieur is typical French bistro fare. Fancy as its name is, it’s basically just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel sauce and more cheese. It’s delicious served all hot and melty with a glass of wine or an ice cold beer. If you top a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg, you’ll have what’s called a Croque Madame. But that’s for another post.

CROQUE MONSIEUR
(Makes 6 sandwiches)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 12 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • room temperature butter for spreading on the bread slices
  • 1 jar dijon mustard
  • 6 ozs. thinly sliced Black Forest ham or Virginia ham
  • 8-10 ozs. Gruyère cheese (can substitute Emmental, Comté, or Swiss cheese)
  1. Slice enough Gruyere to make 6 sandwiches (6 or 7 ozs.) and grate the rest to use for topping. Set cheese aside.
  2. Make béchamel sauce by melting 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.
  3. Add flour, whisking until well combined.
  4. Gradually whisk in milk, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes.
  7. Set béchamel aside and preheat broiler to high. You’ll broil the sandwiches later.
  8. Butter one side of all 12 slices of bread.
  9. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat on the stove.
  10. Place 3 of the bread slices, butter side down, in the skillet.
  11. Brush some mustard on top of each slice of bread in the skillet.
  12. Top each with a slice of ham and a slice of Gruyère.
  13. Cover sandwiches with 3 slices of bread, butter side up.
  14. Cook until deep golden brown, then carefully flip over and cook other side.
  15. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining bread.
  16. Spoon béchamel sauce over each sandwich.
  17. Sprinkle a little grated Gruyère over béchamel.
  18. Place under broiler until cheese is melted and light brown.
  19. Serve hot.

Waffled Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy | Pinky's Pantry
My sister-in-law, Anna, loves Biscuits and Gravy. It’s one of her favorite American breakfasts. Whenever she comes to visit, we always make sure to go out for breakfast and invariably, that’s what she orders. Biscuits and Gravy is an old American favorite, especially down south. It’s literally a biscuit topped with sausage gravy, sometimes also called Sawmill Gravy.
Biscuit Waffle | Pinky's Pantry
For this recipe, instead of just baking my biscuits in the oven, I cooked them in a waffle iron. The little wells made by the waffle iron made perfect little pockets to catch more of the savory gravy. Yum! Added to that, they looked so darn cute! If you don’t have a waffle iron or you’re feeling lazy to pull it out, just bake your biscuits in the oven like normal.

WAFFLED BISCUITS AND GRAVY

  • 1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage, optional
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 8 biscuits, homemade or purchased refrigerated biscuit dough (like Pillsbury)
  • butter for greasing the waffle iron
  1. Brown sausage in a medium pot, breaking up with a spoon, until completely cooked.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and stir till flour is all absorbed.
  3. Pour in the milk, stirring well.
  4. Add green onions, sage, pepper, and salt. If using refrigerated biscuits, you may want to omit the salt because store-bought biscuits are pretty darn salty.
  5. Continue to cook, stirring until thickened.
  6. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
  7. Preheat waffle iron on medium-high heat. Brush center lightly with melted butter.
  8. Place 1 biscuit round into waffle iron and gently close without pushing down.
  9. Cook halfway, then close lid completely and continue cooking until biscuits are golden and cooked through.
  10. Repeat with remaining biscuits.
  11. To serve, place a biscuit on a plate and top with sausage gravy.

Sausage Apple Stuffing

Sausage Apple Stuffing | Pinky's Pantry
Every year, when Thanksgiving would roll around, I would try a new stuffing recipe to serve with our turkey. I tried making chestnut stuffing, cornbread stuffing, caramelized onion stuffing, ciabatta stuffing, cranberry nut stuffing, sundried tomato stuffing, you name it. The kids never liked any of them! Then came the year when I finally gave up and said, “I’m not making stuffing this year.” Strangely enough, everyone went up in arms when they heard that. So at the last minute, I sent Old Goat to the grocery to buy some Stove Top “instant” stuffing. Well wouldn’t you know it, for the first time in years, there wasn’t a lick of leftover stuffing in the bowl!

Well I’m nothing if not a quick learner. Stove Top was the key! Since then, I’ve made Stove Top stuffing every year. I just doctor it up with a few ingredients to make it fancier and no one ever guesses that the stuffing wasn’t made from scratch. The empty bowl each Thanksgiving is a testament to how yummy this stuffing is. And my big smile is the testament to how easy it was to actually make.

The amount of stuffing you make depends on how many people you’re having over for dinner. I usually make 6 boxes for our family shindig, but we have a large family. I’ll post the ingredients for one box of stuffing and you can just multiply it as you need to.

EASY SAUSAGE APPLE STUFFING

  • 1 box (6 oz.) Stove Top stuffing
  • ½ lb. bulk sausage
  • ¼ medium onion, diced
  • ½ stalk celery, sliced
  • ½ – 1 apple, peeled and cut in cubes
  1. Prepare stuffing according to package directions in a large pot.
  2. In a skillet, brown sausage with onion and celery.
  3. Stir in the apple and continue to cook until apple is beginning to soften but isn’t mushy. You can use a half to a whole apple, depending on how much you want.
  4. Drain and discard any grease rendered by the sausage.
  5. Pour sausage mixture into the pot with the prepared stuffing.
  6. Stir to combine well.

Three-Cheese Garlic Bread

Three Cheese Garlic Bread | Pinky's Pantry
When you’re looking for a nice accompaniment to a bowl of hot soup or a refreshing salad, you need look no further than this cheesy garlic bread. I even just eat it by itself for a light meal. It’s so yummy and addictive. It’s hard to stop at one slice.

If you want, you could also slice your loaf in half horizontally, then spread the filling on each bread half and bake them till the topping is hot and bubbly. When done, cut the bread into one-inch slices and serve warm. M-m-m!

THREE-CHEESE GARLIC BREAD

  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread (not sourdough)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, butter, garlic, and green onions.
  3. Slice bread into ½-inch thick slices.
  4. Spread cheese mixture on each slice of bread and arrange on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
  6. Serve warm.

Cheese Crostini

Cheese Crostini | Pinky's Pantry
This recipe for cheese crostini is so simple to make and takes hardly any time. If you’re looking for a nice accompaniment to a crisp salad or a hearty bowl of soup, you need look no further than this recipe.

These crostinis are great served warm from the oven. But let them cool down for a few minutes before serving so you don’t burn the roof of your mouth. When I pull these out of the oven, the family can hardly wait for them to get to the table. I have to slap away the hands trying to sneak one off the baking sheet!

CHEESE CROSTINI

  • 1 loaf (1 lb.) Italian or french bread, sliced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 packet (.7 ozs.) Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella (or other white cheese like monterey jack)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing mix and cheese together in a medium bowl.
  3. Spread over bread slices.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until tops begin to brown

NOTE:  I like Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix, but you really could use any brand you like.

Halfway There Monkey Bread

Halfway There Monkey Bread | Pinky's Pantry
The first time I ever heard of monkey bread was from one of our tenants. We had rented out our condo to a couple with a young son. Their first year, I stopped by to drop off a Christmas present for them and commented on how good the place smelled. She told me she had baked some monkey bread earlier. I’d never heard of monkey bread and asked her what it was and she explained to me how she made it using refrigerated biscuit dough.

It sounded so simple and I knew I had biscuit dough in the fridge back at home so I decided to try making monkey bread the way I thought she had explained it to me. The kids loved it! So I made it for them that way every time.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned I had evidently remembered only the first half of what she told me! Hence the name “Halfway There Monkey Bread.” Apparently, you were supposed to coat the raw dough with cinnamon sugar, put it in a bundt pan, make a sort of sauce that you poured over it, and then bake it. Sheesh! My take-away from her explanation was totally off. Someday, I’ll post a recipe for “real” monkey bread here. For now, this recipe is so good and the kids still love it so much that I continue to make it for them this way. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

HALFWAY THERE MONKEY BREAD

  • 1 can (8 biscuits) refrigerated biscuit dough
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place butter in a rectangular baking pan and put it in the oven to melt the butter. Remove it when the butter is melted.
  3. Tear each biscuit into quarters and roll each quarter into a ball.
  4. Drop each ball in the melted butter and roll it around so it’s completely coated.
  5. Bake the buttered biscuit balls for 12-15 minutes.
  6. While biscuit balls are baking, place sugar and cinnamon in an extra-large plastic tub with a lid or in a gallon-size ziploc bag and shake to combine well.
  7. When biscuits balls are done, transfer them into the tub with the cinnamon-sugar.
  8. Close lid tightly and shake with all you’ve got till each ball is coated with cinnamon-sugar.
  9. Pour into a serving bowl and serve warm with a glass of cold milk. Yum!

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

This bread pudding was made without the raisins.

My Mom used to make bread pudding for us all the time when we were growing up. It was a good way to make use of stale bread or left-over crusts that she had removed from sandwiches for a party. She would coat her pan in caramelized sugar which would turn into a sort of self-basting syrup for the bread pudding so there was no need to make any kind of sauce to serve with it. We loved it!

The raisins are traditional. I always liked them in my bread pudding but I remember my little sister didn’t so she used to pick them out. It’s totally fine to leave them out if you prefer a bread pudding without raisins. The recipe still turns out delicious even without them!

Rum-raisin is a common and well-loved flavor combination, but sometimes, just for a change, I replace the rum with cinnamon. I mean, who doesn’t love a slice of buttered cinnamon-raisin bread? Right? And that’s what it tastes like.

OLD-FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING

  • 4 cups bread cubes (cut with a knife or tear into pieces by hand)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 4 cups evaporated milk
  • 6 whole eggs
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. rum, optional (or could substitute 2 tsp. cinnamon)
  1. Toss bread cubes and raisins together in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk until well combined.
  3. Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and stir together well.
  4. Let soak as long as possible, preferably overnight.

To Cook Bread Pudding:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place sugar and water into a 2½ – 3 quart metal bowl.
  3. Heat bowl over low heat on stove top until sugar is completely melted and begins to turn caramel-colored, swirling bowl quickly to coat bottom and sides with caramel. Make sure to use oven mitts because the bowl will get hot!
  4. Set bowl aside to let caramel coating cool and harden, about 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry if the caramel cracks as it sits. This is normal.
  5. Pour bread pudding mixture into the bowl that has been coated with caramel.
  6. Cover tightly with tin foil.
  7. Place in large roasting pan and fill roasting pan with enough water to come at least halfway up sides of bowl. This is called a water bath.
  8. Put into oven and bake for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, remove foil cover and jiggle bowl back and forth. You want to see a slight jiggle in the center of the pudding.
  9. When done, remove bowl from water bath and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.
  10. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. You could also eat the bread pudding warm if you want to.
  11. To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the pan.
  12. Invert pudding out onto a serving plate with a lip to catch the sauce.

NOTES:

  • If you prefer, you can make the caramel sauce by just melting 1 cup of plain sugar without adding any water to it. This goes much faster, but it can burn faster too, so watch your caramel carefully!
  • You could also cook the caramel in a saucepot or skillet. Once the caramel reaches the color and consistency you want, quickly pour it into whatever container you’re making your bread pudding in, swirling the container to coat the bottom and sides.

Mom also had what she called her TIPID VARIATION (economical variation):

  • 2 cans evaporated milk + 1 cup water
  • 5 cups bread cubes
  • 4 eggs

Basic Biscuits

Basic Biscuits | Pinky's Pantry
Biscuits are an all American classic. They’re perfect for breakfast with bacon and eggs, or turned into sausage and cheese breakfast sandwiches. And who doesn’t love biscuits and gravy, strawberry shortcake, or peach cobbler? Biscuits also go great with a bowl of hot soup. They’re wonderful piled warm into a basket and served with butter and honey. And let’s not forget they’re the quintessential ingredient in monkey bread. However you like to eat biscuits, this recipe is tasty and really easy to prepare. The secret is to handle your dough as little as possible. The more you handle your dough, the tougher your biscuits turn out. Biscuits are best served warm from the oven the same day they’re made, but these ones will keep in an airtight container for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Basic Biscuits | Pinky's Pantry

For soft sides like these, bake biscuits in the pan with their sides touching each other.

BASIC BISCUITS
(Makes 6-8 biscuits)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut in pieces (can substitute margarine or shortening)
  • ¾ cup milk or buttermilk (you might need a little extra)
  • extra flour for kneading
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter, for brushing on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease bottom of cast iron skillet or baking sheet.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Using 2 knives or a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Stir in milk just till mixture comes together. You’ll have a soft, sticky dough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface, sprinkle a little more flour on top, and pat it with your hands into a rough rectangular shape.
  6. Knead dough by folding it in half towards you and lightly pressing it together.
  7. Turn the dough a quarter turn and fold it in half towards you again, lightly pressing together.
  8. Repeat till you’ve done this 4 or 5 times. Don’t over knead your dough!
  9. Pat dough to desired thickness (I like about an inch thick).
  10. Cut with a sharp biscuit cutter dipped in flour using a straight down and up motion. Don’t twist the cutter or your biscuits won’t rise properly. Dip the cutter in flour between each cut.
  11. Arrange biscuits in pan. If you want crusty sides, place them an inch apart. If you want soft sides, place them in the pan touching each other.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Take biscuits out of oven and immediately brush tops with melted butter, if desired.

NOTE:  To make make biscuits using a food processor, place dry ingredients in work bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Pulse cold butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in milk or buttermilk and pulse until just combined. Then continue with Step 5.

TO MAKE HERB BISCUITS:  Add ¼ cup dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, savory, parsley, etc., to the dry ingredients. You can use a single herb or a combination of 2 or more herbs.