Nutella and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

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For as long as I can remember, my mom and I were avid readers of Food Magazine. I’m not sure if it was the first of its kind in the country, but one thing was certain: it was the best. I was particularly glued to a column by its then editor-in-chief, called “Kiddie Cuisine” which showcases simple recipes designed for little hands in the kitchen. But most of the time when I was younger, I may or may not have let my mom do it and passed it off as my own.
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Food Magazine has grown over the years, with around two editorial board changes, but I’m glad that its first editor-in-chief, Norma Chikiamco, is still pretty much active in print, with her column appearing in the Lifestyle section of Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In one of her columns she shares a recipe for bread pudding which, according to her, is one of the best she has ever tried. It digresses from my usual take on bread pudding. For one, this recipe is more traditional in the sense that she doesn’t toast the bread. Toasting the bread gives it more texture and bite, which I like, but my mom doesn’t. And I was apprehensive at the amount of sugar the original recipe called for, because I’m always scared of making desserts too sweet.
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I tweaked this recipe a bit with the additional of NUTELLA, which has been my recent go-to, “out of the jar” snack when I’m craving for just one spoonful. Don’t judge. I essentially made nutella sandwiches using stale bread, sliced and shredded the bread into smaller chunks and allowed it to sit in the custard mixture.
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The result: a little too sweet for my taste, that’s why for this recipe I’ll put in the amount of sugar that I wish I could have used. But she was right – when allowed to cool for a while, but still very warm and toasty, it melts in your mouth like a custard, dripping with melted chocolate. Well, I’m not really a fan of chocolate if it’s not dark, so if you have a bar of your favorite dark chocolate on hand, use that instead of chocolate chips.
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I can imagine a better version of this that’s a notch lower in sweetness, peppered with melted dark chocolate. Nutella or no nutella, this is something special. Wait, I take that back, nutella makes everything more special.
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Nutella and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding (Makes 12-16 servings; adapted from PDI Lifestyle)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips/chunks
  • 16 – 18 slices day-old loaf bread
  • a jar of Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking pan. Or, spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Spread nutella all over one sandwich slice and top with another slice. Repeat the process with all the slices. You will end up with 8 – 9 sandwichesPhotobucket
  3. Slice the sandwiches into smaller chunks, around 4 – 6 chunks per sandwich.Photobucket
  4. Using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer/hand mixer, “whisk” or “cream” the butter in a bowl. Add sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla extract and nutmeg.PhotobucketPhotobucket
  5. Arrange the sandwich chunks and the chocolate chips on the prepared pan.Photobucket
  6. Pour the milk mixture into the prepared baking pan.Photobucket
  7. Bake for one hour or until it turns solid and the top is golden brown and crusty.
  8. Let stand a few minutes before serving. Best served warm.

This is completely unrelated but important nonetheless. Let me just put it out there that The Hungry Giant is rooting for Jessica Sanchez to win it all on American Idol! I’m rooting for her not just because she’s Filipino as well, but really because she’s the best. She deserves to win!

If you’re American, and you love The Hungry Giant, then please, do me this really big favor and vote for Jessica Sanchez. You’ll love her too, well, if you haven’t already. It’ll be a total shame, not to mention an upset, if she doesn’t win. I know, I know, win or lose she has a bright career ahead of her but seeing her take the crown this year  would be a victory on so many levels. Please?

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I first heard of Sticky Toffee Pudding from Nigel Thornberry, you know, that guy from The Wild Thornberrys, one of the best Nickelodeon cartoons all time? I’m not sure who he was talking to, but I do remember a phrase from his dialogue, in his thick British accent, he said, “…faster than you can say sticky toffee pudding”. So I presume it sticky toffee pudding is an English dessert.
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Then I learned more about it when the Lifestyle Network aired a short reality show which pitted everyday American homemakers against each other to create “the new Häagen-Dazs ice cream flavor”, and by luck and taste would have it, the honor went to the genius who thought of “Sticky Toffee Pudding”.
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A dessert from across the pond – it’s a moist cake studded with prunes or dates, then topped off with a toffee sauce like molten gold. I actually made my first batch of pudding (the British sometimes call a sweet dessert ‘pudding’, without specific references to a custard) more than a year ago, and I baked it in muffin tins. This time I used a 9 x 3 inch cake pan because it was my grandma’s birthday and I also baked her something sweet, since she doesn’t get a lot of it on a regular day.
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But to be completely honest I did have a few moments where I did give myself a facepalm. The last time I baked a cake, I did have an issue removing the wax paper – and the cake from the pan. In my defense flipping it over a plate was not a great idea since it was baked with a topping. This time however, I did have to make heads or tails on how to properly remove the cake, sans topping, from the pan. Because I was banking on my novice skills, I had a few moments of hesitation. I didn’t know handling a cake involved rocket science.

But I did get it out of the pan by first lifting it using the wax paper, then flipping it over so the flat, even bottom layer was on top. Youtube helped the poor fella out. Note to self: go to battle sufficiently prepared.
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The pudding is everything good in a dessert – moist and packed with flavor but not too sweet. The fact that you can drench it in a heavy toffee-like syrup is an incredible thing to see and taste. It really reminds me of  Food For The Gods, except that this is more dense like a cake. But either way, I don’t have to wait for the holidays to get my fix.  So far, this recipe has never failed me. And I believe this’ll be a nice addition to your range of recipes as well. Scratch that, not ‘nice’. Not even ‘good’. This is GREAT.
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Sticky Toffee Pudding (makes one round 9×3 inch cake; adapted from yummy.ph)

  • 1 1/4 cups dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (In a pinch, I used fresh milk + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to make 1 cup buttermilk)

For the pudding sauce

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Using a pastry brush (or a brush that you exclusively use for cooking/basting), brush the inside of a round 9 x 3 inch baking pan with shortening/oil. Do not use butter. Line it with wax paper all the way up to and beyond the sides, so there is an “overhang”. A different method can be seen here and here. I might try it next time. Photobucket
  2. In a bowl, steep dates in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the water. Pulse dates in a food processor until roughly chopped.Photobucket
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt together butter and sugar on medium heat.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time. Stir immediately to incorporate the eggs. Transfer to a large bowl.Photobucket
  5. Mix in vanilla extract and dates.Photobucket
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually add in to the egg and date mixture. Add the buttermilk, mixing until combined.Photobucket
  7. Transfer batter to cake pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.Photobucket
  8. Make the pudding sauce: In a saucepan over low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream, stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened. Spoon over pudding. Serve individually on dessert plates with more sauce. Enjoy!