Walking through Albertsons today I noticed freshly baked bread- and instantly I knew what I wanted to make for tonight's festivities (New Year's Eve- 2010/2011)- Bread Pudding! When I started the yummy goodness, I decided I wanted to experiment, so I made a double batch and created a couple of different versions- S'mores, Chocolate Cranberry, and Almond Raisin- yum! So take the basic recipe below and experiment away!
[S'mores had mini-marshmallows (the kind that go in hot cocoa with the consistency of a Lucky Charms marshmallow) and mini-chocolate chips, then I added a bit of cocoa powder to the custard mixture, Chocolate Cranberry was mini-chocolate chips and Craisins]
10-12 slices white bread, cut into cubes (or be adventurous and use sourdough, french, wheat or whatever you have in your cupboard- if the bread is freshly baked, toast for a couple of minutes so it doesn't get squished when you cut it)
1/4 C Butter, melted
1/2 C raisins (or Craisins, or whatever you decide to use)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (Then a little extra for sprinkling on top)
6 Large eggs
3/4 C Granulated (white) sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or any flavor of extract that accentuates your topping choices)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 C warm milk or heavy cream (I prefer half milk, half cream- don't overheat or you will risk curdling your egg mixture when you add the milk)
1.Heat oven to 325 degrees F
2.In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, melted margarine, raisins, and cinnamon; mix well, and transfer to a two-quart baking dish or ramekins (ramekins should be baked in a water bath to keep from overcooking)
3.Use the same bowl to beat the eggs. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt until sugar is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the warm milk/cream. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes set aside to soak for 5 minutes.
4.Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.