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 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
Cut each doughnut into 8 pieces.
Arrange the doughnut pieces in the buttered baking dish.
Make custard by whisking together eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, and salt until well blended.
Pour the custard evenly over the doughnut pieces in the baking dish.
Gently press the pieces down into the liquid so they all get soaked with custard.
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.
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.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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.
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)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, butter, garlic, and green onions.
Slice bread into ½-inch thick slices.
Spread cheese mixture on each slice of bread and arrange on baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
I had a bunch of blueberries that I needed to use up. Today didn’t feel like a blueberry pie kind of day so I decided to make cake instead. Blueberries and lemon form the perfect sweet and sour flavor combination. Specially if you get blueberries when they’re in season and are at their peak, practically bursting with juicy sweetness. This recipe makes a super moist cake that’s great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of hot tea.
Speaking of which, I saw a picture somewhere (probably on Pinterest) of a blueberry cake that was cut in small little rounds so I decided to try doing that. I baked one loaf cake with half my batter, but poured the other half of the batter into an 8-inch round pan to make a thinner cake which I cut into little circles with a mini-biscuit cutter. Don’t those look adorable? How perfect for a dessert table or for my annual Mother’s Day tea party!
BLUEBERRY LEMON BREAD
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups flour + 2 tbsp. for tossing with blueberries
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla or lemon extract
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Toss blueberries in 2 tbsp. flour. This helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf. Set aside.
Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk eggs together; then whisk in melted butter, milk, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Gently fold blueberries into batter.
Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Make topping by mixing lemon juice and melted butter together.
Brush lemon-butter mixture on top of loaves.
Sprinkle with a heavy layer of sugar while tops are still wet.
NOTE: My kids love the crunchy sugar topping made by sprinkling granulated sugar over the loaves, but if you prefer to have a glaze for the topping, just omit the butter, replace the granulated sugar with 1 cup of powdered sugar, and stir in 2-3 tbsp. of lemon juice till it reaches a good consistency for drizzling.
A nice trick to help you remove a cake from a loaf pan is to line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper long enough to go up the short sides and stick out at least a couple of inches past the edge of the pan on either side. After your cake has cooled for 10 minutes, grasp the ends of the parchment paper that stick out past the loaf pan and use them like handles to lift the cake up and out. You can then tip the cake on its side to peel the parchment strip off.
I read about Coconut Toast on this blog called Laugh With Us Blog. It reminded me of this Filipino coconut dessert we ate all the time growing up. It was called “bukayo.” Bukayo is a native coconut “candy” made by cooking fresh grated coconut and sugar together. One of these days, I’ll have to post a recipe for you guys so you can see what it’s like. Our cusinera (cook) — yes, we had a cook when I was growing up — used to make it for us for an afternoon snack all the time. It’s usually shaped into little balls or little flat patties, but Manang Francisca used to just pile it all into a bowl and we each got to have a tablespoon or two of it. Saved her the work of rolling it into balls, I guess.
Anyway, the coconut in this recipe is prepared a bit differently as it has egg in it, but it reminded me a lot of bukayo. Of course, piling it onto bread takes it up a notch. How clever is that? Then you actually get to eat it with your fingers! No spoon needed. And eat it you will! Esther from Laugh With Us Blog wasn’t kidding when she said this was a must try. OMG! You’ll not only eat it with your fingers, but you’ll lick every little crumb off said fingers, too! It’s that good!
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flaked coconut
9-12 slices of bread
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and coconut together.
Spread the mixture onto each slice of bread.
Arrange bread on an ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until toast is lightly browned.
NOTE: The original recipe is supposed to make enough mixture to cover 12 slices of bread. Apparently, we slather it on a lot thicker than that because we only get 9 slices of bread per recipe. LOL! Just spread the mixture on as thickly as you like. You’ll get anywhere from 9 to 12 pieces of toast.
Also, for those of you looking to cut down on your sugar intake, I’ve made this recipe with only 3/4 cup of sugar. It’s just as delicious as it is with the full amount.
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!
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)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing mix and cheese together in a medium bowl.
Spread over bread slices.
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.
When Spunky was born, I hired a girl named Angela to help me around the house. She came from war-torn Nicaragua where she grew up in an orphanage run by nuns. She didn’t cook, but there was one thing that she did make and that was this banana bread. Angela told me that the nuns taught her how to make it and she shared the recipe with me. It’s the simplest recipe to make and the bread turns out super moist and delicious.
SUPER MOIST BANANA BREAD
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup water
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×4-inch loaf pan.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, melt butter and water together in microwave.
Pour into flour mixture and mix well.
Add mashed bananas, beaten eggs, and vanilla, stirring until well combined.
Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
NOTE: Old Goat always wants nuts in his banana bread. If you want nuts in yours, feel free to stir 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans into the batter. This bread is also good with 1/2 cup chocolate chips stirred into the batter before baking.
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
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place butter in a rectangular baking pan and put it in the oven to melt the butter. Remove it when the butter is melted.
Tear each biscuit into quarters and roll each quarter into a ball.
Drop each ball in the melted butter and roll it around so it’s completely coated.
Bake the buttered biscuit balls for 12-15 minutes.
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.
When biscuits balls are done, transfer them into the tub with the cinnamon-sugar.
Close lid tightly and shake with all you’ve got till each ball is coated with cinnamon-sugar.
Pour into a serving bowl and serve warm with a glass of cold milk. Yum!
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)
Toss bread cubes and raisins together in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk until well combined.
Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and stir together well.
Let soak as long as possible, preferably overnight.
To Cook Bread Pudding:
1 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Place sugar and water into a 2½ – 3 quart metal bowl.
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!
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.
Pour bread pudding mixture into the bowl that has been coated with caramel.
Cover tightly with tin foil.
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.
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.
When done, remove bowl from water bath and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.
Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. You could also eat the bread pudding warm if you want to.
To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the pan.
Invert pudding out onto a serving plate with a lip to catch the sauce.
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):
I keep seeing recipes for pull-apart breads everywhere…. pull-apart cheese bread, pull-apart bacon ranch bread, pull-apart cinnamon bread….. Well, I had some leftover Costco pesto sauce and I wanted to use it up before it hit the expiration date so I thought, “why not pull-apart pesto bread?” It sounded like it would be good, don’t you think? So I made a quick stop at the store to buy a french bread boule and some provolone cheese. Here’s what I came up with.
PULL-APART PESTO CHEESE BREAD
1 round french boule (bread bowl)
1 lb. sliced white cheese, such as provolone, swiss, monterey jack, etc.
½ cup butter
⅓ cup basil pesto
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on top of a cookie sheet and place the bread on it.
Slice the bread lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom of the loaf.
Next slice the bread crosswise, again taking care not to cut all the way to the bottom, so you have little 3/4-inch squares.
Insert slices of cheese into the cuts between each bread cube, cutting cheese as necessary to fit.
Melt butter in a small bowl in microwave.
Add pesto to melted butter, stirring to combine well.
Spoon all over bread making sure pesto butter goes into the cuts.
Wrap foil closed over bread.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Open up foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.
Transfer bread to a platter and serve immediately. To eat, everyone just pulls a little cube of bread out.
NOTE: This bread is best served warm out of the oven.
New Year’s Eve for me means time for new appetizers. Every New Year’s Eve, I make a whole bunch of savory appetizers and bite-sized sweet treats. I don’t bother fixing dinner or creating a fancy sit-down meal. Instead, I start putting out different appetizers and canapés at around 7 p.m. for people to graze on all night long. Everyone just wanders up to the dining table and eats whatever they want to whenever they feel like eating.
I usually make some tried-and-true favorites, but this is also the time that I look for new appetizer and dip recipes to try.These Onion Cheese Puffs were one of my newbies. I found the recipe in an old issue of Saveur magazine and thought they sounded good. They were so easy to make and smelled amazing while they were baking! Of all the new appetizers I tried for our New Year’s Eve celebration this year, I liked these the best. Definitely a keeper!
ONION CHEESE PUFFS
½ small sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
8 slices of white bread
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix onion, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, and parsley in a medium bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Using a 1″ round cookie cutter, cut 4 rounds from each slice of bread.
Place bread rounds on a cookie sheet and bake, without turning, until lightly toasted, about 6-7 minutes.
Spread about 1 tsp. onion mixture onto each round, then sprinkle with more parmesan.