Ohio weather is always a bit on the confused side. I’ve been in snow storms in November and, more recently, 60 degrees in January. Just this past Saturday, there was a Winter Weather Advisory saying we’d get 3″ of snow overnight. Locals know what this causes:
Few people realized that the ground is warm, so more than likely whatever snow we get wouldn’t stick. Logic does not matter. At the first sign of a flake in the sky, Cincinnatians cancel dinner reservations (really– we were in Nada on Friday and the place was dead; our server said that they had over 50 cancellations because of the weather), turn on the news, and head to the grocery store for bread, milk and eggs. Local 12 recently did a fantastic spoof of this phenomena that makes me giggle a little every time I see it:
What the heck do Cincinnatians do with the bread and milk and eggs? It’s as if the entire city is making French toast. I have a slightly different idea for what to do with your hive-mind induced grocery run: bread pudding, with a local twist.
Busken just launched a new product: cinnamon toasting bread. It’s cinnamon bread, baked in a round pan, and when it’s done, it’s dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Oof. So it’s not healthy, but more than likely whatever you’re eating during your winter hibernation isn’t either. Grab a couple of loaves and use some for the aforementioned French toast and use another loaf for bread pudding.
Think of bread pudding as sweet stuffing. Eggs and bread combine for a fluffy, moist casserole– the only difference is the seasoning and the liquid: for stuffing, it’s stock, for bread pudding, you use milk. Whipping up a bread pudding takes mere minutes, and after an hour in the oven you have a fairly impressive dish. If you decide to do this for Valentine’s Day, soak some raisins– maybe 1/4 cup– in bourbon on Tuesday night to add in to the dish.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
1 loaf Busken Cinnamon Swirl toasting bread, or another cinnamon bread
3 cups milk
1.5 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the real stuff, please)
Preheat your oven to 350. Slice loaf into medium-sized chunks. Place in a buttered 1.5 quart baking dish. Pour milk over the bread, allowing it to soak in (pressing it a bit with your hands is helpful). In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and spices together until well combined, then pour over the bread and milk mixture, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the outside is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
There are two varieties of bourbon sauce: one with heavy cream, and one that uses egg. I like the thinner, eggier version. Versions of this recipe also call for anything between 1/4 to 1 cup of bourbon– you know which direction I’ll head, so you can vary this for your own tastes. This would also be excellent with a dark, spiced rum.
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup of bourbon (or to taste)
Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. When melted, whisk in sugar and egg until a thick sauce is formed. Add the bourbon, whisking constantly. Pour generously over bread pudding (or simply eat off of a spoon).