Welcome to CARAMEL WEEK!!! This week marks a momentous occasion when strong and courageous women bloggers stand up for what is good and holy in the world–caramel.
I honestly could not be more excited for all of the delicious recipes from caramel week! To think of all of the caramel taste testing that went on during recipe development is mind-boggling. There was a lot of spoon-dipping and finger-licking in my kitchen alone!
It took me a surprisingly long time to decide on what to make, mainly because caramel anything is amazing. A local restaurant serves an incredible bananas foster bread pudding, so I thought a riff on that might be fun to try. Boy, am I glad I did! This caramel banana bread pudding is The Taste.
I always start my recipe development by scouring the internet and cookbooks for recipes similar to what I’m planning on making. I usually check Foodgawker.com, FoodNetwork.com, America’s Test Kitchen, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, and whatever other books I have lying around.
Once I’ve found a few favorites, I examine the ingredients in each, decide upon what I think would taste the best, and what my ratios should look like. I really liked the idea of challah bread because it is thick and eggy, which fits perfectly with an eggy bread pudding. I decided to use more brown sugar in my recipe because bananas and brown sugar are like bread and butter, like Sonny and Cher, like a shmoke and a pancake. I also knew that I would need to replace some milk with heavy whipping cream because…well…heavy whipping cream makes everything better. Obviously.
After I decide upon my ingredient list, I make up ratios needed to increase the flavor town (pinch of salt here, extra vanilla here, etc.). Eventually my bread pudding recipe was ready to go and I was ready to start cooking!
Slice your challah into 1 inch cubes like this.
I ran into a problem when I was pouring the milk and egg mixture over my challah; I didn’t have enough liquid to cover the bread! Nothing to fear, I simply added a splash more cream and wrote down a new estimated amount on the recipe.
This is what your pudding should look like after soaking and smooshing for an hour in the fridge.
If my recipe is a winner, I post it on the blog. If it’s terrible or mediocre, it’s back to the drawing board! Recipe development sounds scary, but it’s really fun to get creative with your favorite ingredients and to try out new foods.
For the bread pudding you will need:
- 1 loaf challah bread (the loaf I found at the store was huge, so just use what you need to fill a 9 x 13 pan) — cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 banana — mushed
- 3.5 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp butter (melted and cooled slightly)
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp rum
- 1/2 tsp salt
For ingredients and directions for the salted caramel sauce, visit Comfortably Domestic’s blog. Her sauce is wonderful. It tastes almost like a Werther’s Original, but so much better!
Comfortably Domestic’s Salted Caramel Sauce (This was a key ingredient for the bread pudding because the saltiness mixed with the sweetness and took the dish to the next level)
- Leave the challah out on a cookie sheet overnight to dry. You can also dry the bread out in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes.
- Place the challah in a 9 x 13 pan. Do not use a glass pan for this! The pan will go straight from the fridge to the oven and we don’t want any broken glass pudding mixtures in the bottom of our oven.
- Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl until combined.
- Pour mixture over bread.
- Put the bread pudding in the fridge for 1 hour. Squish the bread down into the milk every 20 minutes so that each cube of bread is soaking. This allows the bread to absorb all of that nummy milk mixture and to ensure you aren’t inadvertently making croutons.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Bake for 45 minutes or until pudding is no longer jiggly.
- Serve and drizzle Kirsten’s salted caramel over the top.
Check out the other wonderful caramel treats throughout the week with this schedule of events:
Have you ever created your own unique recipe? How do you develop recipes?