Triple Berry Bread Pudding with Baked Doughnuts and Vanilla Glaze

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And, when life gives you over baked mini doughnuts that look more like muffins than doughnuts, make bread pudding! Okay, so maybe the second saying isn’t going to catch on, but it is the inspiration behind this recipe.

good_IMG_1564editWhile attempting to make baked buttermilk doughnuts, something went wrong, like really wrong. I should have known better than to bake during the middle of the day when it’s over 90ºF outside and there’s no A/C, but one thing led to another and I suddenly found myself with flour on my hands and doughnuts in the oven.

Everything seemed to be going well, other than the fact that due to the heat the dough had barely risen and was far too sticky. Oh what’s that you say? That should have been a warning sign. I know, I know. But my craving for doughnuts outweighed my common sense, and I decided to try and bake these bad boys anyway. The at first adorable mini doughnuts quickly morphed into overgrown muffin wannabes that had no right to even look at another doughnut. Hmph. As I scanned the nearly 3 dozen “doughnuts” that now lined my counter, I knew I had to do something with them.

Think. Think. Think

Aha! Bread Pudding to the rescue. But not just anyway bread pudding, triple berry baked doughnut bread pudding with vanilla glaze. Now we’re talkin’. 

I decided to substitute berries for the traditional raisins because 1. berries are just better 2. I was out of raisins 3. berries. If you want to be a weirdo and use raisins, go for it. But I’m warning you, it won’t be the same. And, if you don’t have a surplus of baked doughnuts lying around, you can make this with day old bread; I recommend sourdough.

Alright friends, get ready to test your self-control, here’s the recipe:

Bread Pudding
Doughnuts or sourdough bread, cubed/broken (enough to fill the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar will also work)
¼ teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 and ½ cups mixed berries, frozen or fresh (I used, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)

Glaze
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar (light also works)
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions

Begin by preheating the oven to 350ºF and spraying a 9×12 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; fill the prepared pan with cubed doughnuts or bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugars, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Next add in the heavy whipping cream, milk, and eggs. Whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture over the bread in prepared pan; use your hands or a spoon to make make sure all the doughnuts/bread are covered with the milk mixture. Finally, sprinkle the doughnuts with mixed berries and again stir to make sure berries are evenly incorporated. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the filling is springy and the sides begin to pull away from the pan. Check the bread after 20 minutes; if the top is becoming too golden brown, cover with foil for the remaining time.

While the bread pudding is baking, you can prepare the vanilla glaze. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all ingredients excluding the vanilla. Continually whisk ingredients until the sauce thickens and could coat the back of a spoon. This should take between 5-7 minutes. Once this consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Sauce can be drizzled over warm bread pudding or served on the side.

Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

With blueberries still on my brain, I knew what had to come next. Muffins.

Blue.Berry.Muffins.

I’m talking muffins that are real, thick, and juicy…. no wait, sorry, that’s not referring to muffins. But, seriously, whenever I pick out muffins, I go for the one that has the biggest top. I’d be a loyal customer at Top of the Muffin to You! So my challenge in this baking endeavor was to make a muffin with the ideal golden brown top bursting forth from a base that would be moist and overflowing with berries. Also, I knew I wanted to add a streusel topping. Because, yum.

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I knew certain baking pans were made specifically for muffin tops, but I didn’t have one and that also felt a little like cheating. So, I did some research. Turns out there are some tricks you can do to help your muffin top reach its fullest potential.

  1. Fill er’ up: fill your muffin tins at least ¾ of the way full or to the top, if you dare!
  2. Turn up the heat: turn your oven to 400 instead of the recommended 350 or 375, this will quickly activate the leavening ingredients and allow the sides to rise while the center bakes more slowly.
  3. Run the clock: since you’ve increased the oven temperature, be mindful of the baking time. 18-20 minutes should do the trick but you can also start with less time and regularly check the trays.
  4. Chill out: let your cold ingredients come to room temperature before adding them to your batter; this encourages proper mixing and even baking.
  5. Mix like a pro: after combining the dry and wet ingredients, fill the trays and place in the oven as soon as possible. This allows the leavening agents to work properly.

I applied these tips and added a streusel topping to a basic blueberry muffin recipe found on William Sonoma’s website. Thanks WS!

Streusel Topping
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼  cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter

To prepare the streusel, mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and then cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking. Voila!

Blueberry Coconut Bread

One of the things I look forward to most during summer, other than replenishing my body’s Vitamin D levels, are fresh berries. Berries on berries on berries. While recently telling my friend how excited I was for blueberry season, she brought up that her family faces a dilemma each year. A dilemma? Wait, I thought we were talking about berries. The only berry problem I could think of was having no berries. Intrigued, I asked her to explain what she meant. She told me that her family has a blueberry bush at their house and each year they don’t know what to do with all the berries. As she said this, my jaw literally dropped, and I started to feel like a little kid in school waiting to be called on by the teacher. Ooo, ooo. Me! Pick me! I nearly had to sit on my hands to contain my excitement. While attempting to regain composure, I told her I would gladly take some of those fresh, juicy, blueberries off her hands.IMG_1184

Thinking of the blueberry harvest I was about to come into, my mind started to dance and skip around the endless recipe options. My first thought was bread. Yes, bread. Don’t give me that look. A moist loaf of bread with a slightly crunchy top that perfectly balances sweet and savory and would be oozing with fresh berries, how could I resist? Well, I couldn’t.

While perusing one of my trusted recipe sources, Smitten Kitchen, I came across an easy Coconut Bread recipe. Eager to bake, I quickly scanned the ingredients. Flour, check. Milk, check. Baking powder, check. You get the idea. Luckily it looked like my pantry was stocked and just waiting for me to make this bread. Reading the recipe, you might be wondering what happened to those berries we were talking about. Oh, don’t you worry. Knowing that coconut and blueberries pair nicely, I decided to load this loaf with berries. Lots and lots of berries. For the complete recipe check out the amazing step by step post from Smitten Kitchen. Before I leave you, three things to keep in mind:

  1. To make this a Blueberry Coconut Bread, simply add berries! I added about 2 cups.
  2. I’d highly recommend making the Salted Honey Brown Butter Spread. Don’t be intimidated by how fancy it sounds, it’s really easy, and you know you want it.
  3. Heed her warning when it comes to cinnamon. I’m a cinnamon fanatic and opted to add the full amount. However, I think the flavors of the coconut and blueberries are better enhanced when they’re not fighting for the spotlight.