It’s true – the kitchen is the heart of the home. Ever notice how people always gather there? Whether baking treats, making dinner or spending time with family and friends, the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Since my day job is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens, you can bet I love to stir things up. This column lets me pass along to you some of my best recipes, tips and baking secrets.
I love it when the days are cool and the evenings have just a bit of a chill in the air. It’s cool enough for my favorite fall sweater, but I can leave the winter coats in the closet for a little bit longer.
Days like these call for something to warm the family up from the inside out. Rich ‘N Creamy Mint Cocoa is perfect for a cool afternoon or on an early weekend morning. And this scrumptious Warm Cherry Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce is a little bit of comfort food heaven!
These are two of my favorite ways to warm up to fall – what are yours? You can get some new ideas at www.VeryBestBaking.com.
Warm Cherry Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce
Makes 6 servings
18 1/2-inch slices (1 pound loaf) Challah or other egg bread
1 can (12 fluid ounces) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 package (6 ounces) dried cherries (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 cup (6 ounces) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Bread Pudding:
Preheat oven to 400º F. Grease six 6-ounce ramekins.
Use a 2 1/2-inch-round cookie cutter or glass to cut circles in bread slices (save remnants for another use). Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350º F.
Combine evaporated milk, water and sugar in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Whisk eggs in large bowl. Gradually whisk warm milk mixture into eggs. Stir in rum and vanilla extract.
Place prepared ramekins on baking sheet. Place one bread round in each ramekin. Top with level tablespoon of cherries. Repeat layers, then top each ramekin with a third bread round. Divide custard mixture among ramekins. Let stand for 30 minutes, pressing down on bread occasionally.
Bake for 25 to 27 minutes or until tops are puffed and brown. (Puddings will rise over edge of ramekin but shrink slightly on cooling.) Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve with Chocolate Sauce.
For Chocolate Sauce:
Combine morsels and evaporated milk in small, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until morsels are melted. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract. Makes about 1 cup. Store any remaining sauce tightly covered in refrigerator.
Rich ‘N Creamy Mint Cocoa
Makes 10 1/2-cup servings
2 cans (12 fluid ounces each) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 2/3 cups (10-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping suggestions: whipped cream and Nestlé Toll House Baking Cocoa
Heat evaporated milk, morsels and water in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in liqueur and vanilla extract.
Pour into ten 4-ounce demitasse cups or five mugs. Top with whipped cream and dusting of cocoa.
Variation: Substitute evaporated lowfat 2% milk for the regular evaporated milk.
Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.