I love the movie “Sound of Music” but my absolute least favorite song ever is “Something Good”. You know, that song where the Captain and Maria drone on and on about nothing? As in, “Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever couououououould……” I always thought it was the most boring song ever on a musical, which is saying something because there are lots of songs on lots of musicals and a lot of them have boring potential. However, that one holds the “THE Most Boringest” title in my mind. What’s more, the song is not even true. It sounds true: nothing comes from nothing. But I am here to prove to you that it is definitely not true.
OK, so maybe sort of true, because we’re starting with bread crumbs, which is definitely something. However, these bread crumbs came from old stale bread, which is generally considered trash or compost. And trash is comparable to nothing, right? Work with me here; I know my logic is stunning at times.
Actually, in my house, stale bread is never considered trash, because I know what a true treasure in disguise it is. From the humble dry bread can come a multitude of amazing edibles, including, of course, bread crumbs (Don’t ever buy those, by the way. They are SO simple to make and cost, well, practically nothing.), but also meat loaf or meat ball filler, croutons, stuffing, even bird food if nothing else. I save all the “heels” from my loaves of bread and any bread that gets stale before it is used up, and I freeze them in a plastic zippered bag. When the bag is full, I usually make bread crumbs, but if I don’t happen to need bread crumbs, I like to make more fun and exciting things.
Like this absolutely delicious chocolate bread pudding. It’s actually more like a soft, moist, elegant cake, delicious and pretty enough to serve even to distinguish guests. It’s really something. And it came from nothing!
So don’t throw away your stale bread. Not only can it be used for such staples as toast and bread crumbs, it can also be magically turned into a deliciously yummy dessert. This chocolate bread pudding is even worth buying a loaf of bread and watching it go stale! Yes, that good.
You can find the original recipe here. I’ve significantly health-fied it by reducing sugar, switching the shortening out for butter, and using homemade whole wheat bread crumbs instead of store-bought white bread slices.
Something-from-Nothing Chocolate Bread Pudding
2 cups milk
1 TBSP butter
1/2 cup sugar
6 TBSP cocoa
4 slices stale bread (about 2 cups crumbled dry bread)
Dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
Scald the milk, together with the butter, in the microwave or on the stove. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and cocoa. Crumble the bread into the milk and sugar mixture and allow to soak until bread is soggy. Beat with a hand mixer until well blended. Add eggs, salt and vanilla; beat well. Pour mixture into greased casserole dish. Set the casserole dish in a pan of water and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serve warm.
This pudding can be eaten on its own, but it’s even better garnished with some berries and whipped cream or ice cream. This recipe will serve 6.
You have to allow an hour for bake time, but the prep is pretty QUICK, probably about 15 minutes or less, so very little hands-on time.
It’s very EASY, also. Using a water bath sounds complicated but is actually very simple. I just place a cookie sheet in the oven, and then put the baking dish on top of it. I pour water into the cookie sheet, and that’s it! It’s also a very useful technique for cheesecakes.
Such a CHEAP dessert. The base of it is the bread crumbs, which would otherwise be trashed. It does take 2 cups of milk, but if you really wanted to save money and have a slightly less rich dessert, you could use a mixture of milk and water. Or use powdered milk for baking.
It is dessert, but it’s a fairly HEALTHY one. The sugar is really the most unhealthy thing about it, and I reduced that by half from the original recipe. I also used bread crumbs from homemade whole wheat bread, so they are significantly healthier bread crumbs than the typical white bread fare. Each serving (without the whipped cream) is about 230 calories.