We all know this guy; simple, square, flat, wrapped in 10+ layers of plastic like it’s a Dexter victim. That boring, generic chocolate brownie one finds in crowds of coffee shops, catering parties, and, sadly, many a food truck wanting to offer “dessert” but too lazy to make anything more complicated than a cookie (not that there aren’t some pretty damn good cookies out there…). So at one point or another we end up buying one or getting it for free (maybe from a dis-interested friend), put it in a purse or a shelf/cupboard and forget the thing for a week or so, now giving us a stale, hard brick of chocolate and flour. Completely inedible.
Or is it!!?? (Dramatic music, flashing lights, and other cheesy stereotypical occurrences)
After my mother took out her own little square of tooth-breaking baked goods, I sought to think up a couple ways to transform this disappointing phenomena into an edible delight! And I think the obvious answer involves the one good quality that dried and stale goods bring to the table: Absorbency.
Yes, we now have a product that can soak up any delicious liquid we desire without immediately turning into mush like a “fresh” brownie would. Like here, you could put it in a bowl and cover with a little RUM! Or any other liquor/liqueur you desire; I even found a Brownie-flavored Cream Liqueur at a store the other day. Now we have a delicious, booze-soaked chocolate wonderfulness perfect for eating as-is, crumbling on top of another dessert, or warming up and serving with traditional Ice Cream and Nuts (you’re gonna love my nuts… okay I’ve officially watched too many of those shamwow and slapchop commercials).
Then again, we could take this soaking property up another notch and apply it to that warm, comforting home classic, Bread Pudding. It’s always made best with stale bread for the custard to soak in anyways, why not use some stale brownies as well?
We start off by, of course, dicing our brownie into good-sized chunks.
After this, we find other things to fill out our bread pudding; sorry, as much as I’d like to make one purely from brownies, we need some other, lighter things to make a complete pudding. That doesn’t mean all bread though; I only used two slices of that. I also added some leftover cinnamon-caramel-topped cake that was made from a box (yes, you can use cake in bread pudding! And French toast!). Put it to some actual good use.
Pop those into a bowl off to the side and get started on your custard. Since I’m doing this off-the-kilt, and not following a specific person’s pudding recipe, I had to figure out what kind of base I wanted myself. You can use practically any ratio of the basic ingredients you want, I’ve seen ones where, for the same amount of milk, one person used 6 eggs and another only 2. Same thing with sugar.
All we need is milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt for seasoning, maybe some other dairy (cream, half n half, sour cream, etc), and in this case some of that tasty rum. I started out with 3 eggs, as I had enough richness from the cakes and cream I was using up, so didn’t need much eggyness.
Mix that with the sugar, ½ cup for me, pretty low compared to other recipes, and any booze you’ve got. Most of these pudding recipes don’t require the whole whisking of eggs before adding milk thing, you can easily just whisk everything together in one go, but I still enjoy the little bit of preparation beforehand.
I myself used up all the leftover cream we had (1 ½ cups, damn) and finished things with some milk for 2 cups of liquid to add to the eggs.
Once finished, we can pour over our cubed bread and cakes, making sure to give a few stirs to make sure it gets in everywhere. I’m not too sure of specifics, but I would guess Ideally you want the liquid to come at least ¾’s of the way up? Maybe just a bit underneath the top, like this…
But of course I decided to just add all of it, so it looked like THIS instead. Probably a bit too much… though the end result was quite fantastic, so I guess it didn’t matter, haha.
Let this soak on its own for at least 10 minutes, I myself like leaving it for a couple hours in the fridge. While this is going, you can get your pan (whatever kind will hold the amount of bread pudding you have) VERY well buttered, or lined with parchment paper if you want, and turn the oven on; considering how much custard I had, I wanted to ensure I baked this low and slow so there wasn’t any chance of curdling/overcooking, so I left mine at 300F. 325-350F should be a good temperature range as well for others.
Pour it into the pan, making sure to spread things about even (I had some brownies that just congregated in the middle) and bake it as long as needed, checking every so often to ensure the middle is cooked through. Check with a toothpick, not to see if it comes out clean but that what DOES come out isn’t still batter; some moist pieces of bread may still stick on if cooked well.
And there we have it; a thick, rich, dense yet very moist and creamy bread pudding studded with rum-soaked brownie pieces and just filled with goodness. Great to spoon on top of some ice cream, maybe with caramel sauce, or just enjoying as-is too! It actually sorta reminded me of a chocolate chip cookie but in pudding form. Though now I realize I’m probably gonna need to make a post about what to do with stale cookies… alright, off to figure that out now (sigh)…
As always, Good Luck and Good Eating.