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Best Ever Bread Pudding

The secret to incredible bread pudding with a soft middle and crisp edges starts with leftover dinner rolls. I picked up the rich brown sugar sauce recipe from my friend Kathryn Gartmann. A big drizzle of it takes this dessert over the top and really makes it the best bread pudding ever. —Maria Petrella, Taste of Home Prep Cook
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + standing Bake: 40 min.
  • Makes
    15 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2-1/4 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 20 dinner rolls (1-1/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes (18 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together the first 10 ingredients until blended. Gently stir in bread. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. or 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar; let stand until bread is softened, about 15 minutes. Bake until puffed and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, for sauce, melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar; stir until dissolved. Gradually stir in cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add vanilla, sea salt and baking soda, stirring well. Serve sauce with warm bread pudding.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Make sure the eggs are well beaten into the yolks; this will help the bread absorb them and reduce the likelihood of scrambled egg texture winding up in your custard.
  • Most leftover breads work well in this recipe—if it'll make good French toast, it'll make good bread pudding. In general, soft and airy breads are best for absorbing the custard.
  • To reheat, cut bread pudding into pieces and cook them in a little butter on the stovetop until crisp on each side. The texture is wonderful!
  • Chocolate-Cherry Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup dried cherries and 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips before baking.
  • Apricot-Almond Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots and 3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds before baking.
  • Cranberry-Walnut Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup dried cranberries and 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts before baking.
  • Fig-Pistachio Variation - Stir in 3/4 cup chopped dried figs and 3/4 cup toasted pistachios before baking.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 serving: 497 calories, 29g fat (17g saturated fat), 151mg cholesterol, 540mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 2g fiber), 9g protein.