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Baked Croissant Cinnamon French Toast Croissants should never go to waste. Not ever. Not even when they are stale. Turning stale croissants into delicious French toast or bread pudding is the ultimate in food upcycling. In this recipe, chunks of croissants soak in an egg-milk-yogurt mixture and then are covered with a cinnamon streusel. After one bite of this moist French toast and its crunchy topping, you’ll find yourself buying croissants just so they can go stale.

Baked Croissant Cinnamon French Toast
Recipe adapted by Pinch of Yum from The Pioneer Woman

INGREDIENTS
Bread Pudding
3 large or 6 small stale croissants
3 eggs
¾ cup milk
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
¼ cup sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Streusel Topping
3 tablespoons flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

DIRECTIONS
1. Grease a small baking pan with butter. Tear the croissants into small pieces and place in the dish.

2. Whisk the eggs, milk, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight in the fridge (or for a few hours if you are short on time).

3. For the topping, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the cold butter in with a food processor, a pastry cutter, or your fingers until the mixture resembles small crumbs.

4. An hour before serving, preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top of the croissant/egg mixture in the pan. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes depending on how soft/crispy you want it to be. Make sure the French toast is fully cooked before you remove it from the oven – usually the top looks done before the inside is really done.

5. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

Serves approximately 6

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used 6 small croissants that I had on hand.

2. I also used lowfat milk and no-fat Greek yogurt with delicious results.

3. For some reason, the consistency of my streusel was a bit off, not as crumbly as I wanted. I added a touch more flour to the mixture to make it more crumbly.

4. French toast and bread pudding are very similar, so this recipe could be served as a dessert too.

Enjoy!

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Bread Pudding Muffins My husband has two sweet loves that drive him crazy. Both possess endearing qualities that he cannot resist. If ever they appeared together, he would be beside himself with indecision. Recognizing that his birthday highlights this conflict, I decided to alleviate his stress this year. I figured out a way he could have his cake and eat it too—a way he could enjoy one love in the morning and one love after dinner. For breakfast I made him custard-rich bread pudding muffins and in the evening he blew out birthday candles on a moist and spicy carrot cake. Problem solved.

Bread Pudding Muffins
The Grand Central Baking Cookbook

INGREDIENTS
1 pound crusty artisan white bread
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS
1. Slice the bread and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Put it in a large bowl and toss it with the cinnamon.

2. Whisk the eggs, sugar, cream, milk, and vanilla together until well combined, then pour the custard over the bread. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

4. Line a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or generously grease with butter.

5. Scoop a heaping 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture into each of the 12 muffin cups; each one should be nicely mounded. Top off each pudding with the remaining custard.

6. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the tin halfway through the baking time. The puddings should be lightly golden brown on top. Dust them with confectioners’ sugar while they’re still warm.

Makes 12 Pudding Muffins

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Because of the amount of soaking time involved, if you plan on serving these muffins in the morning, it is best to begin soaking the bread the evening before.

2. I was able to get 18 muffins out of the recipe.

3. Although these are categorized as muffins, these little bread puddings would make nice individual desserts.

ENJOY!

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Spinach-Shiitake Bread Pudding

The only thing keeping me from eating a whole delicious serving of this savory bread pudding is that tomorrow morning I get weighed and measured by my trainer, as I creep towards my fitness goal. Nothing too indulgent can pass through my lips today and this bread pudding, with sourdough bread soaked in a rich egg custard, interspersed with a sautéed leek-spinach-mushroom mixture, and tossed with two different kinds of cheese, definitely qualifies as indulgent. The few bites I tasted today had me wanting more and tempted me to not care about my training progress, until I remembered that breakfast is after weigh-in. Guess what I’m having for breakfast? As Scarlett O’Hara once said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Spinach-Shiitake Bread Pudding
Recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
2 medium shallots, minced
1 leek, white and tender green, cut into 2-inch julienne strips
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 5-ounce bag baby spinach
One 1-pound round loaf of sourdough bread, crusts removed, bread cut into-1-inch cubes
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1½ cups milk
1½ cups heavy cream

Directions:
1. In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and leek and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

2. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 1 minute. Add the spinach to the mushrooms with the bread, Swiss cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and toss.

3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil, then gradually whisk into the eggs. Stir the custard into the bread and let stand, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, about 15 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins and set them on a baking sheet. Spoon the pudding into the ramekins and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for 15 minutes.

5. Preheat the broiler. Turn the bread puddings out onto an ovenproof platter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan and broil for about 30 seconds, or until golden brown. Serve hot. Spinach-Shiitake Bread Pudding

Serves 8

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Note that both the Parmesan cheese and butter have divided use.

2. It’s always easier to cut bread with a serrated knife. I cut the bread into 1-inch slices first and then removed the crust from each slice. Don’t throw away the bread crusts – throw them in the food processor and make bread crumbs!

3. Be sure to whisk in a tiny amount of the hot milk-cream mixture into the eggs to temper the eggs. If you don’t add small amounts of the hot liquid at a time, you run the chance of cooking the eggs – too much heat all at once. As the eggs gradually adjust to the temperature, you can add larger amounts of the hot liquid.

4. Although this is meant to be a side dish, for those who want to make it heartier and serve it as a brunch item, a little diced ham could be added.

ENJOY!

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