Can one have too many cookbooks?
I think not, but then again I may have a problem and just can’t admit to it.
How did I come to realize that I might have a cookbook collection problem?
A wonderful reader of my column recently asked if I had a good recipe for bread pudding. I could honestly and quickly say, ‘I don’t know.’ I have never attempted to make bread pudding, so I wasn’t sure if I had a recipe for it. When I got home, I decided that I would look and see, and that’s when I realized I have quite a few cookbooks.
Then I started to think about how many recipes I have never tried and how sometimes I – and I’m sure many others – will stick to what I know or something similar to what I have always cooked and baked.
Why haven’t I tried something I have never cooked or baked before more than just once in a great while?
I can’t answer that question with a simple response, so I have decided that I am going to change a little and step away from the familiar. For the rest of the year, I am going to pick through the cookbooks I have at home and choose a few new-to-me recipes to try out.
Maybe they’ll be recipes I have always wanted to try, maybe they’ll be for things I’ve never even heard of, or maybe there’ll be one that I just wasn’t sure I could even do. I am going to try now.
I started with bread pudding. Bread pudding is a bread-based dessert popular in many countries. There is no real fixed recipe, but it’s usually made using stale bread and some combination of liquid ingredients.
Not knowing too much about making bread pudding, I started searching through my cookbooks and, sure enough, I found one. One of my church cookbooks contains a recipe for Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. Sounded delicious to me!
I didn’t have any dry bread cubes so I took the whole wheat bread that I had at home and cut up what I needed and dried it in the oven, which was very easy to do. This is a lighter version of bread pudding and is, in my humble opinion, delicious.
With this recipe you can use bourbon or brandy extract. I actually used honey bourbon (you don’t use that much at all) and it complimented it very well. Definitely a recipe I will be making again.
After making the bread pudding I looked through other dessert recipes to see if I could find another that I had never tried. I stumbled upon a recipe for Oslo Kringle. I had never even heard of it before, but the recipe didn’t look complicated and sounded good.
Before I attempted to make it, I wanted to learn a little more about it, so I went to good ol’ Google and did a little research. Oslo Kringle is a Norwegian dessert made with a cream puff base and topped with icing. There are many varieties.
With ingredients in hand, I made my first Oslo Kringle. It’s yummy, simple and just wonderful.
It really wasn’t hard at all to put together, and it has a simple taste that I can see being addicting. It would be good with your morning tea or coffee and as a dessert. Next time I think I am going to put some slivered almonds on top to add a little something extra.
I really enjoyed trying these two new recipes, and am excited to keep branching out and finding more. Some may be great and some not so much, but I am ready to take that chance and have fun with it.
If you have a recipe you have been looking for, or a suggestion of something I should try, I would love to hear from you!
Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
2 cups fat free milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 cups dry bread cubes – about 8 to 10 slices of bread
1/2 cup raisins, if desired
1 cup fat free caramel sauce
2 tablespoons bourbon or 1 tsp brandy extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter. Heat on medium heat until butter is melted. In a large bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, and eggs. Whisk until mixed together well. Stir in the bread cubes and raisins (if desired). Stir in the milk mixture.
Put into an 8-inch pan. Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes or until set.
In a small bowl, mix caramel sauce and bourbon until smooth. Serve sauce over warm bread pudding. Store in fridge. Makes about 8 servings.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
Cream Puff paste:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
Cut butter into flour; add cold water and mix as for pie crust. Divide dough in two and roll out to ropes 16 inches long. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and, with your hands, flatten out each portion to 4 inches wide.
For the paste, bring water and butter to a boil. Remove from the stove and immediately add flour. Stir until smooth and then add the eggs, mix all together until smooth.
Spread on the above strips, covering dough completely. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes two pastries, 30 pieces or more when cut.
Frost when cool with the following icing:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon butter, soft
1/2 tsp almond extract
1-2 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream
Mix confectioner’s sugar, butter and almond extract. Add just enough cream for spreading consistency. Best eaten the same, day but freezes well.
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