Do you like french toast? Do you like cinnamon raisin bagels? Do you like bread pudding? If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, then you should like this recipe. It combines the rich sweetness of french toast, and the great flavor combination of cinnamon /raisin, with the heartiness of a bread pudding. I spoke about my mom’s bread pudding when I posted the Pumpkin Bread Pudding in October, but I have to again.
My mother has been baking bread puddings probably longer than she can even remember. It was something she did usually on the weekends with the leftover bread no one deemed good enough to make a sandwich with. There were times when there were 4 or more bread bags with only the ends left in them. My mother didn’t make too much of a fuss about wasting food though. She always knew she could throw together a bread pudding that we would all be clamoring for. Her bread puddings became so famous among her friends and fellow church ladies that they started making requests. My mother started buying bread for the sole purpose of making a bread pudding! She can be counted on to have one ready for a birthday, informal dinner party, or just to say,”Here, I was thinking of you”.
When I realized this week that I had not touched the loaf of sliced wheat bread in the refrigerator, I figured I could do a bread pudding. It was when I was so lucky to find a bag of cinnamon morsels at Stop & Shop, that I realized that a cinnamon raisin bread pudding would be perfect. I love the way some of the cinnamon morsels melted into the pudding. If you cannot find a bag of these morsels, you may just want to add a bit more cinnamon. I hope you can find them; they really made this bread pudding special.
I already knew it would be a great dessert or snack, but thought it would also work as a brunch dish like french toast with some bacon on the side. I used wheat bread because that’s what I had, but my mother’s puddings were usually made with white bread. Either is fine. French or Italian can also be used. Hawaiian bread is good as well, but it is already sweet so you may want to cut some of the sugar out. Served hot or at room temperature, this is definitely one of those dishes someone can make their own. What would you put in your bread pudding?
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1 pound of sliced wheat bread (about 16 slices)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup golden raisins (regular is okay)
- 1 cup cinnamon morsels (like Hershey’s)
- 1 teaspoon almond essence
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- a pinch of salt
- fat free Cooking Spray or butter to grease baking dish.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Lightly grease 7 x 7 square baking dish with butter, margarine or Cooking Spray.
- In a large bowl, tear bread slices into pieces. About 1 inch is a good size.
- Add milk and stir until all the bread is coated.
- Add the sugars, eggs, ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, salt, almond essence, and vanilla extract. Stir until well mixed.
- Fold in the cinnamon morsels and raisins. Pour mixture into greased baking dish, and spread evenly.
- Bake until top has browned and pudding has set, about 1 hour.
You can dust some powdered sugar over the bread pudding before serving. For dessert serve with a scoop of ice cream and top with a little ground cinnamon.