September 2015

chocolate ribbon whisky bread pudding

The chocolate bread pudding I usually make is an old favorite, clipped from the local paper years back. I’ve since adapted it a time or two. This latest variation is inspired by something ultra-delicious I enjoyed at Matunuck Oyster Bar this summer. Just out of the oven, it’s crisp on top and delightfully light and custardy beneath, with a bit of bourbon in the mix to make it extra nice-nice.

This may be my new favorite spin on bread pudding. Will it be yours?


half pound of croissants cut into 1-inch pieces (conveniently, Stop & Shop sells mini croissants in a half-pound package–how did they know?)
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup (½ stick) of butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons Maker’s Mark bourbon
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (I use Valrhona Guanaja 70% dark chocolate feves)
cinnamon to sprinkle over the top–along with 1-2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (I used ground Sugar in the Raw)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8 x 8″ baking dish and fill with half the cubed croissants. Sprinkle chopped chocolate evenly over this layer. Then top with remaining croissants.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, bourbon and vanilla.

Separately, warm the cream, milk and butter till the butter melts. I use the microwave on the defrost setting, but you can use a pan on the stove, if you prefer.

While whisking the egg/sugar/bourbon mixture, slowly add the warmed cream/milk/butter. Pour this combination over the croissants. Sprinkle with cinnamon and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. Granulated is fine, I just happen to buzz Sugar in the Raw in the food processor for making chocolate chip cookies, so I have a whole box on hand.

Place your 8 x 8″ pan into a larger (9 x 13″) pan filled with an inch or so of hot water. The water should come no higher than two thirds of the way up the side of the pudding pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the edge of the pan comes out clean.

chocolate ribbon whisky bread pudding serving

I serve this dish warm (it reheats beautifully in the microwave), but you can serve it cold as well. It’s perfect for dessert and even breakfast! NOM!



For the longest time, my friend and neighbor, Sharen, told me about the yogurt she buys from a farm the next town over. Finally, she said, “C’mon! We’re going for a ride. I’ll show you where it is!” And off we went to Deerfield Farm–just down the way from us, off Route 68 in Durham, Connecticut.

Deerfield Farm barn

Their self-service farm store is stocked with creamy, European-style yogurt (plain or vanilla) that’s perfect to top with homemade granola and fresh fruit. And, though I’ve not yet tried it, they also offer raw Jersey milk (chocolate, too!), eggs, and two items high on my gotta-try list: ricotta and a soft, creamy, fresh cheese called Brianna.

Deerfield Farm prices

Sometimes you’ll find people along with the cows and cats in the barn, but the payment system is simple and old-fashioned. So be sure to bring cash and exact change.

Deerfield Farm honor system
Now that you know what prompted me to make granola, let me show you how–so easy, so delicious. You’re gonna love it!


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients
3 cups rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill–they’re great!)
1 cup shredded coconut (Baker’s is my fave)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons golden flaxseed
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (30 seconds in the microwave did the trick for me)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Ready for how easy this is? Combine dry ingredients well. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then spread out evenly over a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir, then bake 15 minutes more. Let cool, then store. Or enjoy right away over your favorite yogurt. Or gelato. Or however you like to enjoy–just by the spoonful works, too!




They say if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. So, after a failed attempt at making salted caramel pudding a few weeks ago–and after eating all the not-quite-thickened portions myself, MOO–I gave it another go this afternoon. These little babies are heading over the river in their own little individual containers for a cookout with my family, so I’m not going to trick them out even further with caramel sauce and whipped cream as directed in the original recipe, but you sure can!

Let’s do this in steps to keep everything straight. I find it easier to follow this way.

inspired by Marcie Turney’s recipe from Barbuzzo (Philadelphia, PA) via Bon Appetit

8 Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers, crush and set in jars (2 per serving)

1. In a small bowl, whisk and set aside:
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch

2. In another small bowl, whisk and set aside:
3 egg yolks

3. In a small saucepan, combine and heat just to a simmer; then set aside:
½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ vanilla bean, scraped

4. Get ready to add at the end:
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Maker’s Mark

5. In a separate saucepan, stir to combine over medium heat till sugar dissolves:
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
Increase heat; cook without stirring for approximately four minutes, then remove from heat. Now, here’s where we start moving quickly and combining the previous steps.

Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into eggs.
Whisk milk/eggs into milk/cornstarch.
Slowly whisk all the above into saucepan with caramel in it and cook over medium-high heat until it thickens, about 3 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon Maker’s Mark.
Pour through a fine-mesh sieve.
Pour 1/2 cup of budino over each chocolate-cookie lined jar.

Chill. When the east is in the house, ohmygod! Danger! Enjoy! Happy Labor Day, amici!