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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! Holiday Roundup (highs and lows)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday season and a happy and safe new year. 

I just want to thank everyone for making my blog a success (at least in my mind). I've had over 1000 hits since I began and its all because of you guys. I hope to continue posting new, fun, recipes for many years. As always, send me your ideas or questions... I love getting comments and suggestions.

As for my Christmas baking, I was a fairly unsuccessful this year. While my cookies and banana bread turned out great, I tried a few new things this year. Namely making eggnog and making eggnog creme brulee. While the eggnog turned out alright, I added to much rum and it was overwhelming. In hindsight, I shouldn't have added the  rum all at once, but glass by glass. It would have make it easier to control. Oh well.

Also, my eggnog creme brulee was disappointing. I found a recipe online that I thought looked good, but the spice blend was overpowering. I have a relatively low tolerance for nutmeg (it has a strange flavor to me) and this recipe had way too much for my taste. Also, my new creme brulee torch did not want to work, so after a few tense moments between myself, Chris, and the torch, we gave up and I broiled them instead. The sugar never really got the nice crispy top and it warmed the custard too much. Of course, I dumped the rest of the creme brulee and just for the hell of it I tried the torch again and it worked. Oh well. I'm going to try again with a simple vanilla creme brulee in the near future.

One thing that I made for Christmas that did work out was my Red Velvet Bread Pudding. I got the recipe from Paula Dean. I mean, anything with creme, butter, cream cheese, and cake must be good. Now, I'm attaching the original cake recipe from Paula Dean's/FoodNetwork's site, but I used a box cake. It had a great flavor and a nice rich color. Its a great time savor, especially because red velvet has a few odd ingredients (buttermilk, a ton of red food coloring).

Another thing I changed was instead of creaming the cream cheese with the sugar, I just mixed it into the sugar with a whisk. This left a few large chunks of cream cheese which was great to taste in the final product.

Red Velvet Bread Pudding


Red Velvet Cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Bread Pudding Mix:

  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Greased 9 by 13 by 2-inch sheet pan.
In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely. When the cake is cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes.
Place cubes onto 11 by 17-inch cookie sheet. Place in oven for 10 minutes to toast (this keeps the cake from absorbing too much of the cream mixture).

Bread Pudding Mix:

Combine the half-and-half, eggs, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. With an electric hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the half-and-half mixture.

Place the red velvet cubes in a large baking dish or 8 individual ramekins. Add the pudding mixture to the dish. Make sure the cake cubes are completely covered. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pudding is set. Serve warm with ice cream. 

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