My subway is working again! I am so happy. I would jump for joy if I were into that sort of thing. It feels good to have that last bit of normalcy back in my life, though. Now I can resume travel throughout the city without worrying about trying to catch a cab at rush hour or making sure I have cash for livery cars. I’m going to dinner at Cafe de La Esquina tonight, which I was supposed to do last week but all of this Sandy nonsense got in the way. You, too, can dine in style at this very restaurant by checking out and commenting on my black beans and rice post. I’m sure my fellow New Yorkers could use a good meal (and a margarita) to get back into the swing of things, especially after the crazy weather this week – rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. I’m so over it. Hopefully I’ll get to go see a movie this weekend, do some cooking, and hey, would you look at that, it’s almost time to start prepping for Thanksgiving. My brothers are both coming out to visit for the holiday, so I’ve got to make it good this year! I’m beyond excited. Next week will probably drag on and on and on as I wait for the 22nd. Thanksgiving really is the best holiday – don’t try to argue with me about it.
Trying to find a cab while slipping around in the snow is the worst.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving planning, I present to you this Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread Pudding from, you guessed it, Baked Elements. They have tons of great pumpkin recipes in this book, as it’s one of their 10 favorite ingredients, so I highly recommend grabbing a copy. I went for this bread pudding because I can’t think of anything more rich, comforting, and delicious. Sure, it’s a bit of work – you have to make the bread (although it’s a quick bread, so stick with me, people), then toast the cubes, make a quick custard, and bake it, but it’s completely worth the effort. I made enough to bring in a bit for both my office and Kramer’s office, and I will go ahead and say that it was quite a hit. Who doesn’t love bread pudding? It sounds fancy and unique, but really, it’s just warm and gooey and filled with aromatic pumpkin and plenty of chocolate. You can even use leftover muffins or other bread for this – it doesn’t necessarily have to be the bread the recipe describes. Make this ahead of time, stick it in the fridge, then cover it with foil and warm it up the next day. If you’ve got some vanilla ice cream to scoop on top, hey, I won’t stop you!
Outside of my office before the nor’easter.
Earlier this week, my office still didn’t have heat. It was freezing!
Found this sippy beer in our 6-pack on election night.
First, you’ve got to make your pumpkin bread.
Bake until golden, then allow it to cool before toasting cubes of it.
Make your pumpkin custard, then add 6 cups of your toasted pumpkin bread cubes. Allow it to sit for just a bit to soak up the moisture of the custard and thicken.
Then pour into a 9×13-inch dish and bake until mostly set. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and enjoying!
- 1½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup room-temperature water
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (feel free to just use chocolate chips)
- 2 large eggs, plus 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 cups half-and-half, at room temperature
- 1¾ cups pumpkin puree
- 4½ ounces (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, divided
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, dust it with flour, and knock out any excess. You can always line your pan with parchment, but this makes sure your loaf doesn't have any weird creases or folds in it, as it would from the paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree and oil until well combined. Add in the sugar, whisk to combine, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined, then do the same with the vanilla. Add in ⅔ cup room-temperature water and whisk until combined. Add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until just moistened, then fold in the chocolate.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 65-85 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool before removing it from the pan, which you can do by running a butter knife around all of its edges, then flipping the pan upside down to loosen the bread. This loaf is delicious on its own and stores well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Cut the loaf into 1-inch cubes - this will make about 7 cups of bread cubes. Spread the cubes out onto the prepared baking sheets and toast for 10 minutes, then flip the cubes, and toast them for another 10 minutes or so, until lightly browned. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and brown sugar until combined. Add in the half-and-half, pumpkin puree, and 5 tablespoons of melted butter, then whisk until combined. Add in the cinnamon, salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and vanilla, and whisk. Fold in 6 cups of the toasted bread cubes, stir to combine, and allow to sit for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 glass baking dish very well. Toss the remaining 1 cup of toasted bread with the remaining butter.
- Pour the custard into the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining bread cubes over the custard, and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the custard is set. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving warm (preferably with whipped cream or ice cream). You can sprinkle sugar on top for presentation, but that's up to you! This will keep well, covered, in the fridge, for up to 2 days. Just reheat in the oven at 225 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until warm.