Tag Archives: dessert

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Just before this blog went over 35,000 views, I posed a question on Facebook asking what I should make to celebrate the big number.  One friend suggested Gazpacho, one suggested something sweet and another suggested these very cupcakes as she perused my newest cookbook purchase, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  (A must-have if you’re vegan, for the recipes, tips and snarky commentary.)

vegan-cupcakes-take-over-the-world

Here’s the description from the cookbook: “Our favorite warm and toasty drink made into a cupcake-able form.  These have a subtle, crunchy top and a very moist interior with a delicate crumb thanks to the addition of coconut milk.  The corn flour and almonds give it an interesting texture that’s a lot like the drink (Mexican hot chocolate has pleasantly gritty bits in it), and just a little bit of cayenne gives it a spicy kick.”  Ummmm…exactly!

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Mine sank a bit in the middle, possibly due to expired baking powder or uneven heating (info from the troubleshooting portion of Vegan Cupcakes!), but not to worry–they really DO taste like Mexican Hot Chocolate!  Gather ingredients and see for yourself!

ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 TBSP ground flaxseed (find in the bulk section of a natural foods mart)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP corn flour (I used masa harina.  Corn meal is way too gritty!)
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (found with specialty flours in some bigger grocery stores, for sure at natural food stores)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (up to 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract

For topping:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners (recipe makes 12 cupcakes).

Whisk together coconut milk and ground flaxseeds and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

flax and milk

In another bowl, sift together: all purpose flour, corn flour, almond meal, cocoa,baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cayenne.

dry ingredients

Whisk sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract into the coconut mixture.

wet ingredients

Gently add wet to dry and fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  I use an ice cream scoop sprayed with cooking spray to do this.  Bake 22-25 minutes–until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool completely on a rack.

divide into pan

Sift a layer of confectioners sugar on the tops of the cooled cupcakes, then sift on cocoa, keeping more to the center, then cinnamon.  TADA!  Keep ’em in the fridge for a nice cool “hot chocolate.”  😉  A totally yummy way to celebrate 35,000 views!

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Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Suzi’s Ginger Cake

We live out in the country on a small acreage near friends on adjoining properties; we call it the commune.  🙂  The space gives us privacy, but because we’re all friends, we have a neighborhood where you can stop over for a visit, share a meal and get help with projects.  One neighbor family is vegan–they inspired us to be vegan, too.  Occasionally, we get together for great food, wine and laughs.  The other night, Suzi (she who is the best vegan baker of the whole commune) baked the most amazing ginger cake for dessert.  Suzi made her cake in a 9″ square pan, and I made one the very next day in a bundt pan.   Moist and light.  Perfectly spiced, topped with a mapley glaze and pecans.  Decadent.

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The recipe is from one of our favorite vegan blogs, The FatFree Vegan.  (So, yeah–this cake is nearly fat-free as well!)  Grab some applesauce and spices and get ready for ginger-liscious nirvana.

ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized (candied) ginger, chopped small (about 3/4 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly oil a bundt pan or a 9″ square pan.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

mix dry

Add the applesauce, vanilla, and lemon juice and stir just enough to combine.

add wet

Pour into the oiled pan.  My mom bought me this bundt pan in the early 80s.  I love its classic “harvest gold” color and faithful non-stick finish.

pour into greased pan

Bake 45-60 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean.  My cake was perfectly baked in 45 minutes.

bake til pick comes out clean

While the cake bakes, make the glaze.

glaze ingredients

  •  1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • pinch ginger powder
  • Additional candied ginger or pecans for serving (optional)

Whisk cornstarch and ginger into the maple syrup in a small pan over medium heat.

whisk glaze

Heat to boiling and boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken.

Cool the cake 10 minutes in the pan and then serve or tip it out onto a plate.  This cake stand is from my mom’s milk glass collection; it makes a cake look extra pretty.  Pour glaze over the cake and allow to drip down the sides.

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Slice and top with pecans or candied ginger.

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Savor each tender spicy bite.  You deserve a treat, especially when that treat is under 250 calories and has only 5 grams of fat. (Based on 9 servings per cake.  Skipping the maple glaze saves 25 calories per serving.)

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

It’s March 14–Happy Pi Day!  A nice coinky-dink that I just happened to make this pie yesterday.  I kinda had a hankering for a chocolate dessert and remembered a recipe I’d seen on one of my fav vegan blogs, The Vegan Flavorista.  A quick pantry and fridge check confirmed I had everything I needed for this not-too-sweet, luscious, creamy, chocolatey confection.  Oh my.

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I followed the Flavorista’s recipe, but added a teaspoon of espresso powder along with the chocolate.  I like the way espresso intensifies chocolate.  Mmmmmm.

ingredients

  • 1 cup non-dairy chocolate–chips or chunks or a bar cut into pieces, melted
  • 12 oz silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (I thought of this at the last second, so it didn’t make the ingredients picture)
  • pre-made chocolate cookie crust, or make your own  (Individual pre-made cookie crusts would make cute little personal pies to share with your friends!)

Melt the chocolate using a double boiler or in the microwave.  I used the microwave, cooking 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between until the chips were melted.  I used these vegan chips from my local natural grocer.

vegan chips

Drain and press excess moisture from the tofu and place it into a food processor with the non-dairy milk and vanilla.  Blend until smooth.

blend tofu milk and vanilla

Add the chocolate, espresso powder and salt.

add chocolate and espresso powder

Blend again until silky-smooth.  Doesn’t that look yummy?!

blend til smooth

Pour into prepared crust and garnish if you want.  I used more of the chips, but thought chopped nuts, crumbled chocolate cookie, toasted coconut, or toffee bits would be pretty and tasty as well.

pour into shell and garnish

Cover (a bonus with the pre-made crust is that it comes with its own cover!) and place in the fridge to firm up for at least 4 hours.  Being a mousse, it doesn’t get truly firm, it stays soft but cut-able and serves up beautifully.  Garnish with a few of the season’s first strawberries and voila!

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You’d never suspect this decadent dessert was dairy-free, low fat and had no added sugar.  It tastes like sin.  Big creamychocolicious sin.  Heavenly.  🙂

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dessert, food gifts, recipe, Vegetarian

Vegan Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Low-fat vegan baking is a challenge…well, for me anyway.  I have trouble achieving the texture and mouth feel of the baked goods I’ve always made.   Happily, a friend posted this link on her Facebook page, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  I adjusted just a couple of things for my personal taste, and ended up with a real Ta-Da moment!

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Do you like moist, tender chocolate cake topped with melty chocolate?!  If you answered yes(!), line yourself a cupcake pan with 12 liners and get a-bakin’!

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips, plus more for topping (find these at a natural foods store) 
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, such as soy, room temperature
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I like organic–it’s not as processed)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional, but really intensifies the chocolate flavor)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips in a double boiler, or microwave.  Since it’s such a tiny amount, I chose microwave.  Place in a microwave-safe container, cook for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted.  Set aside.

melt choc chips

Whisk the non-dairy milk with the vinegar in a large bowl and let sit for a couple minutes.  The vinegar will “curdle” the milk a tiny bit–but not in a bad way.  🙂

combine wet ingredients

Stir in the sugar, vanilla, applesauce and melted chocolate.  (I attempted this using milk straight from the fridge.  When melted chocolate met cold milk, the chocolate solidified!  I fixed this by microwaving the wet ingredients for 20 seconds or so.  Lucky this recipe has no eggs!)

add chocolate

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

combine dry ingredients

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches.  I used a hand mixer to get everything well mixed.

add dry to wet

Scoop the batter evenly into the 12 cupcake liners.  I used these pretty ones I got at an after Valentine’s Day sale last year.  Very pretty, but hard to get the batter in them because they are so tall!  Bake 18-20 minutes; until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

place in cupcake liners

Remove from oven and place the pan on a cooling rack.

baked

Top with more of the mini chips while cupcakes are still hot.  That way, the chips will melt onto the tops of the cupcake.  Yum!

top with a few chips

Cool completely, about 20 minutes.  Ummm….the ones that were allowed to cool came out of the papers better….they were awfully yummy still a bit warm.  I didn’t mind scraping the wrapper for a few little chocolatey bits.  🙂

yum1After they’d cooled a bit, I wrapped up some as Valentine surprises for the neighbors–one set of neighbors are vegan, the others aren’t.  These cupcakes were a hit with everybody!

gifts for neighbors

I decided to call them triple chocolate, because there are two kinds of chocolate inside the cakes, and more on top.  Whatever you call them, you’re gonna love them!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

We had friends over New Year’s Eve for dinner, games and champagne.  I wanted to make a special, decadent dessert for this special evening.

pwdered sugar

Special, decadent AND gluten-free as well as dairy-free to accommodate the dietary needs of our guests.  I adjusted a recipe from the cookbook, Gluten Free and Easy by Robyn Russell.

ingredients

  • 14 TBSP dairy-free margarine, such as Fleishmann’s
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup light vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • powdered sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 350F.

Trace the bottom of a 9″ springform pan onto parchment paper, cut out the shape.

trace onto parchment

Grease the inside of the pan, including the bottom with dairy-free margarine.  Place the parchment circle in the bottom of the pan and grease it, too.

grease and line

Melt the butter and oil over medium-low heat.

melt butter

Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.

add cocoa

In a large bowl, mix egg yolks and sugar until thick.

mix eggs sugar

suar and egg yolks thickened

Add the chocolate mixture and beat until fully combined.

add cocoa mix

well combined

In a clean glass or metal bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

stiff peaks

Place half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and gently fold in.  This will be a bit difficult at first, but hang in there!  Add the rest of the egg whites and fold in until fully combined.

fold egg whites in

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

pour into pan

Bake 45-50 minutes or until the center is set.

bake until set

Allow the cake to cool and fully set up in the pan.  Your cake will probably fall some and develop cracks in the surface–it’s supposed to look this way.  🙂  When fully cool, gently turn it out, remove the parchment from the bottom and place right side up on a serving plate.  Dust with powdered sugar prior to serving.  I placed a doily on top of mine before dusting to create this pretty pattern.

powdered sugar 2

Ta-Da!  Beautiful, right?!

pwdered sugar

Fudge-like, dense, rich, perfect for a special occasion.

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My guests were pleased!

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Clementine cuties are wonderful this time of year, and perfect with this cake.  Ice cream would be lovely, or whipped cream, or coffee, or……another slice.

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No need to wait for a friend with special dietary needs.  😉

 

 

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dessert, Gluten-free, Holiday foods, recipe

Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Celine’s Raw-Apple Cake

This is a cake I remember from many a potluck growing up.  Everyone’s mom had a recipe for this dense, not too sweet, “I think I’ll have another piece” cake.  While going through Mom’s recipe box, I came across her recipe in her own handwriting, on a recipe card that Dad printed at the printing company he worked for.  A true family heirlooom.

Exquisite warm, but just wonderful at room temperature.  I took this cake to a party, and was lucky to snag a piece for myself before it was snarfed up!

  • 8 medium apples (to end up with 8 cups), peeled, cored, diced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped nutmeats

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla (not part of Mom’s recipe, but I thought it needed a little something)

Preheat oven to 350F, butter and flour a 9×13 pan.

Peel, core and dice the apples.  I kept the chopped apples in a bowl of water with a bit of lemon juice in it to keep them from browning.

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well in between.

Add the dry ingredients.  This will result in a VERY stiff batter.  Not to worry, the apples will fix it right up!

Add the apples, 4 cups at a time, and mix until all are combined and your batter has “relaxed.”  Stir in the nuts.  I left the nuts out this time, because a friend at the party I took the cake to is allergic.  No one missed them but me.  🙂

Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.

 

Bake 40 minutes or until firm and golden.

While cake is cooling, prepare the topping.  Melt butter in a small saucepan.

Add brown sugar and stir to combine.

Add cornstarch and stir it in as well.

Add water, stir and continue heating until thickened.  Add vanilla.

Pour topping over the cake in an even layer.

Cut a piece and transport yourself back to the Midwest in the 60s and 70s at the potluck of your choice.

 

Maybe it was at a park, and you got to play on the merry-go-round or teeter-totters with your cousins or the neighbor kids or feed the ducks.  Maybe it was at a church craft bazaar during the holidays.  Maybe it wasn’t a potluck at all, and your Mom made the cake JUST for your family for Sunday dinner’s dessert.  Do you have a nostalgic recipe from your childhood?

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Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler

I live in Western Colorado, an area as famous for its peaches as Georgia.  Peaches usually start coming on in July and continue into September.  Big, beautiful, sweet and juicy.  The best way to enjoy them?  Fresh off the tree.  But cobbler?  Not a bad alternative.  Yum.

This cobbler can be made with fresh, canned or frozen peaches.  (I like fresh best!)  The recipe comes from my favorite cookbook, The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

  • 4 cups sliced peaches
  • 1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp mace (This spice is what makes the cobbler taste old fashioned.  Mmmmm.)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • I TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP butter

For the biscuit topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg beaten

Preheat oven to 400F.

Prepare the biscuit topping first.  Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Combine the milk and egg.  Add to dry mixture and stir until moistened.  Set aside.

Peel and slice peaches.  Combine cornstarch, mace, brown sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until thickened.

Add peaches, lemon juice and butter, cook until peaches are hot, about 5 minutes.

Pour peach mixture into a round 8″x 2″ pan.

Spoon on biscuit topping in six mounds.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.  (I didn’t have either when I made this, and you know what?  It was STILL yummy!)

Oh yummy.  The taste of summer, even if you’ve used canned peaches and it’s snowing outside.

Mom used to make cobblers on the camp stove in her dutch oven and called it “glop.”  The biscuits end up dumpling-like, rather than the crisp topping of an oven-baked cobbler.  Both ways are lovely comfort food desserts (or breakfasts!), both equally yummy.  Do you have a favorite camping yummy?

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Peach, Apricot and Basil Popsicles

Summer.  Hot days, the sound of lawn mowers, smell of fresh cut grass and barbeque, kids running through sprinklers, and popsicles!  Not just any popsicles, but frozen treats made with fresh summer fruits and herbs.  Easy-peasy, uber-yummy, (healthy!), hot weather relief.  Ahhhhhhhh….

If you’re lucky enough to have farmer’s markets in your area, head on out to select your favorite summer fruits.  I decided on peaches and apricots.  An online search resulted in basil being a nice compliment to these stone fruits, so out to the garden for a handful of fresh basil and I was halfway to popsicle nirvana!  My molds hold 1/2 cup each, so amounts given are for that.  Adjust the recipe for your own molds–small dixie cups and craft sticks work great.  I got these super-cute little bug molds at Pier 1.  Gotta love their little leaf-with-a-bite-out-of-it stands!

  • 2 small peaches, the riper the better, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 4 apricots, the riper the better, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup, infused with 16-20 basil leaves.  (Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water, boiled and cooled.  I used 1/2 cup each and had left over, which keeps in the fridge for quite a while.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Prepare your simple syrup, pour into a seal-able container with the basil leaves.  Gently muddle (crush) the leaves to release the oils, seal and allow to cool.  Of course, while basil is super yummy here, it’s optional.  You can just leave your simple syrup, well, simple.

When your syrup is cooled to at least room temperature, prepare the peaches and apricots and plop them in your blender.  Peaches first, because they tend to be juicier–the better to blend, my dear.

Puree to a smooth consistancy and add lemon juice and simple syrup (strain it if you used basil).  Puree a bit longer.  You’ll end up with 2 cups of puree.

Pour into popsicle molds.  Fill them to the brim.  Add the sticks and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Remove from the freezer (Ooooo!  Frosty and cold!) and run the molds under warm water until the molds come loose.

Oh my.  Time to take a break from the heat in the yummiest way ever!

The basil was just barely noticeable in these pops.  I’ll be upping the amount of basil next time–my 16 or so leaves were actually in a bit over 1/2 cup of syrup.  I can’t wait to try different fruit-herb combos, and maybe blend in a bit of yogurt, leaving some fruit chunks in the puree, making layers????  Oh the possibilities!

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Celine’s Spiced Pecans

These pecans are a holiday staple in my family.  After Mom and Dad moved to New Mexico, they met a pecan grower in the area around Deming.  A bag of shelled pecans could be expected to arrive here just after Thanksgiving, and then just before Christmas, I’d get a call from Mom asking if I’d made “The Pecans” yet.  Mom served these at every Christmas open house, and shared the recipe with lots of people.  She had a cute story of one friend who loved them, but had decided to never make them again because they were too tedious and time-consuming to make.  This baffled Mom, so she asked why.  The friend had dipped each individual pecan in egg white and then hand-coated the dipped pecan in the cinnamon sugar mix!  I can still hear Mom’s “Ha!” after sharing that story.  🙂 

Anyway, this week I made “The Pecans” because my sister wanted a bread pudding recipe, and I always use them in that recipe.  Look how cute they look in one of my new little birdie bowls!

Beware, these can be addictive….and you really don’t need to dip and coat the pecans individually!

  • 1 egg white + 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pound shelled pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F.  Line a jelly roll pan (baking sheet with sides) with parchment paper or a silicon baking liner.

Place cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  Seal and shake/swirl to mix.

Place egg white and water in a large bowl.  Beat until frothy.

Add pecans to the bowl and stir to coat.

Place coated pecans in the ziploc with the cinnamon mixture.  Shake/swirl to coat pecans evenly.

Pour onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes; give ’em a good stir after 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir again.  Cool in the pan.  Be careful if you decide to sample before they’re completely cool….not that I do this.  Well, maybe I ALWAYS do this.

 

Crispy, crunchy, spicy, a little sweet with a hint of saltiness, “The Pecans” are a perfect holiday buffet sort of yummy, a lovely addition to a platter of cookies, and are also perfect for gifting. 

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Perfect Bread Pudding

I have to thank my sister for this post.  (Thanks Sissy!)  This week, she texted me for a bread pudding recipe.  I hadn’t made this in ages, but thought she’d enjoy the recipe with pictures, ala Somethin’ Yummy, rather than an emailed recipe.  So happy she asked, because now I have a whole muffin tin full of perfectly portioned bread puddings that filled the house with the yummy aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.

I had everything I needed:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups 1/2″ day-old bread cubes
  • 1 cup chopped/crumbled spiced pecans (Mom’s recipe–to be blogged soon!) or pralines

Wisk eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla together.

Wisk in cream and milk.

Fold in bread cubes and pecans.

Tap floating bread cubes with a spoon to submerge them as much as possible into the custard.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Generously butter the 12 wells of a muffin tin with 1 TBSP butter.

Spoon bread and custard evenly into the 12 wells.

Bake for 30-35 minutes; until the centers are firm.

Serve with a spoonful or two or three of melted vanilla ice cream.  If you want to be all fancy, call this melted ice cream Creme Anglaise.  (They are essentially the same thing!)  The tops are crisp, the centers creamy and soft and yummy, with a lovely pecan crunch.

Michael and I enjoyed the fresh, slightly tart flavor of red raspberries with the yummy just-sweet-enough, cinnamon-y bread pudding.  I’m also loving the perfect portions created using the muffin tin; just enough to have that comfort food pampering, not enough to sabotage the efforts to eat more healthily.

I think just a bit of butterscotch or caramel sauce would also be yummy…or a scoop of ice cream….or strawberries….or with a late harvest riesling….or maybe just a quick zap in the microwave later for a midnight snack!  Hope you enjoy these, Sonia–did you notice Aunt Katrine’s plates?!  ❤

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