It was late afternoon when I arrived at grandma’s house, having skipped both breakfast and lunch due to flight delays into New Orleans from San Francisco. I sat down at her old oak table and inhaled a bowl of red gravy stew while the real VIP warmed in the oven. I was already full by the time she plated the bread pudding, but had no problem eating two huge slices.
“Grandma, I need to lay down,” I said, after finishing my last bite. “I think I ate too much.”
“No baby,” she cajoled. “You ate just the right amount. You’re supposed to feel tired after a good meal.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not true,” I laughed, as I settled myself onto her little couch. She covered me with a floral afghan blanket, as grandmas do. I slept for two hours that afternoon and didn’t eat again until the next morning. In fact, I didn’t do much of anything until the next morning, because that’s the kind of shit you get to (not) do before you have a kid.
Fast forward 10+ years and I’ve arrived at a healthier version of what I call “Breakfast in Bread Pudding” that I am SO excited to share with you!
Craving traditional bread pudding, but inspired by my desire to not go into a coma after eating (because that yard full of leaves hiding dog poop wasn’t going to rake itself, and I was tired of my son yelling “MOM, I STEPPED IN DOG POOP AGAIN!”), I created Breakfast in Bread Pudding. It’s been an instant hit in my house, with requests to make it each weekend since the crisp fall weather rolled in.
This recipe is similar to traditional bread pudding in that it is made with leftover bread soaked in a sweet cream sauce. However, my recipe is different in that I use coconut cream instead of butter, whole wheat bread instead of French, and maple syrup instead of white and brown sugars.
Why? Because, like hidden dog doo, diabetes is a m’fer.
The result is a deliciously warm, naturally sweetened yet hearty breakfast that will have you licking the bourbon maple syrup sauce pan clean – and not feeling even a little bit guilty about it.
Breakfast in Bread Pudding
- Blender (optional)
- Nut chopper (optional)
- 8 fresh slices of whole wheat bread (or half of a loaf of my bread recipe - HIGHLY recommended), chopped into 1" pieces (about 8.5 cups of cubed bread)
- 4 large eggs (Some recipes use only yolks, but I don’t like wasting food, the whites are where the protein is at, and with only 4 eggs, this mix does not taste too “eggy.”)
- 1 can coconut milk (or 1 + 2/3 cup regular milk)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter), melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup applesauce (Or one peeled apple, pureed with 2-3 tablespoons of water.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Bourbon Maple Sauce (not optional!)
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) (Hate nuts or are allergic? Thicken the sauce by whisking in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Wait 5 minutes. If it's still not as thick as you like, add a little more and whisk. And wait.)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or spiced rum
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (This flavor truly makes the dish, but if you don't have it or can't find it, replacing with vanilla would work.)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch (or two) of salt
- 1/4 cup coconut cream or butter (Coconut cream is the stuff that settles on the top of the can of coconut milk. Don't pour in the water for this part, just the cream.)
- Heat oven to 350.
- Chop bread into 1" pieces and place in 9X9" buttered baking dish.
- Blend eggs, milk, oil, syrup, applesauce, vanilla, and salt in blender - starting on low and turn up to medium speed for 5-10 seconds, until just blended. If you do not have a blender, melt coconut oil & coconut milk in microwave for 30ish seconds - until softened, but not hot. Whisk eggs first, then whisk in remaining ingredients listed above until well blended.
- Pour mixture over bread and allow to soak into bread for 15 minutes. Check on the mixture every 5 minutes, pressing bread down into the liquid to ensure it's completely covered.
- Bake on middle rack, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, until bread is a little golden on top. Bake time depends on the kind of bread you use, so just keep a close eye on it at about 40 minutes. You can also check for 'done-ness' by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the mixture. If it comes out (mostly) clean, it's done.
- When bread pudding is done, place on cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes or it will be a big mushy mess and you'll completely regret it.
- When pudding has cooled for 15 minutes, place single servings on a plate drizzled with enough Bourbon Maple Sauce to your liking.
Bourbon Maple Sauce
- While the bread pudding is baking, chop 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts in nut chopper until almost a fine powder. Note 1: If you don't have a nut chopper, just do your best to chop the nuts by hand. They'll soften up when you cook the sauce. Note 2: If you don't have a nut chopper because you hate nuts (or are allergic), you can thicken the sauce with cornstarch, as indicated in Bourbon Maple Sauce ingredients list above. But if you're not allergic, just try the nuts! They're *SO* good for you and they truly make the sauce amazing.
- In a small saucepan, add maple syrup, chopped nuts, almond extract, bourbon, and salt. Heat on low for 15 min, stirring occasionally.
- Next, whisk in coconut cream/butter until melted, then turn off the heat and cover until bread pudding is done.
Need another delicious breakfast idea?
Check out this savory Vegetable and Baked Egg Breakfast Skillet!