Tag Archives: whipped cream

On a Cold Night…a Comforting Dessert-Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

On these chilly nights, you need to stay warm. Sure, you can crank up the heat, or add put on another layer of sweaters, or even be buried by a stack of blankets. However, there are more appealing options out there. You could sip a glass of wine (or two), cuddle with a warm certain someone, or maybe even cradle a warm dessert in your hands. You know the kind of dessert I’m thinking about…something sweet and gooey and delicious to warm your body, and your soul. I know, it may be rationalization, but I think it’s the perfect way to get through winter!

custardOne of my favorite rich, warm desserts is bread pudding. I know, I know, some people would disagree and say it’s plain or unappealing. I ran into the same issue last Christmas Eve when I had my family over for dinner. My brother and sister both anxiously asked what was for dessert. When I told them it was chocolate chip bread pudding…well…let’s just say the excitement was gone! However, one bite, and they were hooked.

breadBack in June, I wrote about a banana’s foster bread pudding I made for Father’s Day breakfast, that was delicious by the way. This is a similar recipe, just some minor tweaks to bring out the chocolate chip flavor.

For this recipe, I once again used my favorite bread for bread pudding, challah bread, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Just make sure it’s something substantial so it doesn’t all fall apart in the custard. You’ll need about 1/2 a 15 oz loaf of challah bread, so about 7 or 8 oz.  Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes, and set them aside.

absorbingNext, make the custard.  Whisk 3 eggs with 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup brown sugar until well combined. Add a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Stir in the bread cubes, and let this mixture sit for about a half hour so the bread can absorb the custard.  After that time, stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into a greased 8″x8″ baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, until nicely browned and set.

with chipsNow, of course I can’t just leave it there. I have to add more deliciousness! To top off this wonderful bread pudding, I make a warm chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream. The chocolate sauce is easy, and my go to recipe. You can find it on my post about Martha Stewart’s coconut crunch cake. And you can find my whipped cream recipe on my post about making strawberry shortcake.

I should also probably apologize, I know many of you are trying to watch what you eat in January, and I’m probably not helping. If you’re looking for something healthy, keep looking. But if you’re looking for something scrumptious, you’ve come to the right place!done

Strawberries Everywhere…and Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberry PlantWhen I was in 6th grade, my younger brother gave me a strawberry plant. At our school, the 6th graders had “partners” in 2nd grade, and he was my partner. We helped them with school work and projects, and did some fun things with them during school. At some point, they grew strawberry plants for us as a gift (for the life of me I can’t remember why). And, at that young age, I had already loved gardening, so I was very excited to take it home and plant it in the garden. Sure enough, it did great that summer, and then the next spring, there were strawberries and plants everywhere. While the strawberries were great, over the years, my mom had enough of the plants taking over the entire garden, so, unfortunately, they all came out. But, I learned a few very important lessons: 1) strawberries are really easy to grow and delicious, and 2) the plants will take over any space you give them!

BiteMany years later, as I was cleaning up the gardens at my house, and pulling out tons of pachysandra that had been planted just about everywhere, I had a revelation. There are 3 very small beds next to my house that are completely enclosed in concrete. The beds boarder the house on one side and the sidewalk on the other. So, the light bulb went off, and I decided to plant strawberries there. They could grow and spread, and not intrude on anything else, and they have done great in this spot. For many years, they were enjoyed by my nephews who would pick away and eat them, covering themselves in the red juice. Now that they are a little older, they have some self-control, and I get to enjoy the strawberries, and when I’m lucky, there are enough to make strawberry shortcake!

For me, there is only one way to make strawberry shortcake…and that’s with a biscuit or scone. Don’t get me wrong, when you use pound cake or some other cake, it’s delicious. But it’s just not Butterthe same for me. I love the crumbly texture of the biscuit that soaks up the juice, combined with the creamy whipped cream and juicy berries. The recipe I have I adapted from one I found online, which, for the life of me now, I can’t find the link, but it’s a simple scone recipe with macerated berries and whipped cream.

Whisk together 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut in 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces. If you have a food processor, you can use that. Otherwise, just try to work in the butter using a fork. I often times need to get my hands into it to break up the pieces of butter. If you do this, just be careful, you don’t want the butter to melt. You need to work it fast if you use your hands. Then whisk 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 cup heavy cream until combined. Pour that into the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Ready for OvenTurn the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Form into a 7 inch round, then cut about 2-3 inch pieces. As you can see from my picture, mine are not perfect at all. 🙂 Place them on a greased cookie sheet and brush with a little cream, half and half, or milk, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. You want them a little golden and a toothpick to come out clean.

As those are cooking, you can get the strawberries ready. It will take about 2 lbs. strawberries, although this time, I mixed strawberries and blueberries. Whatever you prefer is fine, even Fruitpeaches are great this time of year. Take about half the fruit and smash it with a potato masher. Then add the rest, along with 1/4 cup sugar. Let that sit for a while so the juices run.

The last component is the whipped cream. I used 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and about 3 tablespoons sugar, but, whenever I make whipped cream, I always taste it. Some people like it sweeter, some people like it less. I am on the sweeter side! Start whipping the cream, and, once it starts to thicken, add the sugar and continue whipping until stiff.

Whipped CreamOnce the scones are cooled you’re ready to assemble. Of course in our hurry to eat them this time, I never took a picture of the completed shortcake, but just cut the cooled scones in half, spoon some fruit on the bottom half, with the juice of course, top with some whipped cream, and add the top!

And I know what you’re thinking, it’s a little late for strawberry season if you grow them at home, but there are tons of strawberries in the grocery stores right now, not to mention blueberries, peaches, etc. Just get some fruit, and have at it!Ready to Eat