It’s midnight, you’re wide awake and hungry. Possibly drunk, but there’s no way to confirm that…
For absolutely no reason, you start thinking about that trip to New Orleans that you took a few years ago. Normally gumbo is the primary focus of your memories, but this time you begin to fall into a paralyzed state where your only memory is of the bread pudding you had at one of the many great NOLA restaurants. Eggs, cream, butter, and an addictive Irish whiskey cream sauce turn already beautiful french bread into a dessert that could make a grown man squeal with joy.
Now you can’t sleep for fear of this bread pudding entering your dreams like a certain striped-shirt horror film character. There seems to be only one way out in order to fight this craving: YOU MUST EAT BREAD PUDDING.
You may or may not have all the ingredients to make the dish, but even if you do, it’s MIDNIGHT (and you might be drunk). Do you really want to spend all that time in the kitchen, in the middle of the night? WHICH, coincidentally, is the exact situation in which you’re most likely to be attacked by ninjas. So, you can either be killed by ancient warriors while trying to make bread pudding from scratch, or you can fall asleep and become trapped in a dreamworld, drowning in eggs and cream.
Luckily Chef Barb Batsiste has a third option for just this scenario. (You might know Chef Barb from her successful LA food truck and catering company. I’ve never eaten from the truck, but my sources in LA tell me it’s worth checking out.) Chef Barb’s B Sweet Hot Bread Pudding is a microwavable frozen bread pudding found in the freezer section of your local Target stores. Thanks to Chef Barb, you’re never more than six minutes away from this warm, rich dessert.
Of course this is a great idea in theory, but how good can frozen bread pudding be? Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to sample the goods. Flavors include Apple Pie, Glazed Donut, Cookies and Cream, and Fudge Brownie. Here’s what I thought of them, along with a few “grocery store hacks” to elevate this ready-to-eat treat:
Apple Pie with Caramel Drizzle
Aside from the fact that I’m a sucker for anything with “pie” in the name, there was nothing about the taste, texture, or appearance that would lead one to believe that this was ever frozen, let alone microwaved. What made this one stand out the most was the fact that the apples weren’t over-cooked mush that resembled apples–they were still al dente. Joining nine pints of random ice cream, the Apple Pie bread pudding will be a new staple for our freezer.
Grocery Store Hack: I haven’t tried this, yet…but I bet if you flatten any left-over bread pudding into patties, lightly coat in flour, and fry like pancakes it will taste awesome. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to complete the a la mode of your dreams. Yeah, that hack basically combines most of my favorite things (pancakes, bread pudding, and PIE), so I will probably be trying that soon… UPDATE: I finally got a chance to try this “bread pudding pancake” (check it out on Instagram) and I must say that it was fantastic (and I’m starting to realize that ALMOST ANYTHING can be made into a pancake or French toast). No, it will not win any “healthy eating” awards, but you’re not coming to this blog for tips on losing weight.
Glazed Donut with Icing Drizzle
If you love Krispy Kreme donuts and you have a sweet tooth, THIS is the bread pudding for you. Nearly as rich and decadent as my doughnut french toast, Chef Barb finds a way to make donuts even more fun. Although I love desserts, this one was a little sweet for my taste, but my Dad (who used to eat sugar out of the bag when he was a child) couldn’t get enough of it.
Grocery Store Hack: Add fresh berries to insert a touch of tartness to complement the sweet, rich deliciousness. I had a few blackberries lying around, so that’s what I used. A minimum “one berry per bite” rule typically applies in our house.
Cookies and Cream with Icing Drizzle
A quick confession… I generally don’t love cookies and cream things. Aside from an occasional milkshake, I won’t search out this flavor profile and I’m not a huge fan of Oreos (the original “cookie and cream”). BUT. I do like chocolate bread, which comprises half of the equation in this bread pudding. The icing drizzle ties it all together in a pleasantly sweet way. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be scraping the sides for all the icing, as this bread pudding is probably the least sweet of the bunch (a good thing in my opinion).
Grocery Store Hack: I had some left-over Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to crush them up and sprinkle on top. The texture really helped sell the “cookie” part of the bread pudding.
Fudge Brownie with Chocolate Drizzle
The chocolate bread wasn’t overly rich and went well with the pockets of dark custard and chocolate sauce. It doesn’t beat out Apple Pie as my top choice, but it’s not really a fair fight, ’cause…well…PIE. If you’re prone to brownie cravings, keep this on hand for such emergencies (it might also work as a good diversion when being attacked by ninjas, but the container does not confirm this).
Grocery Store Hack: I like the way coffee enhances chocolate, so serving this “affogato” worked well. One hot scoop of bread pudding, splash of cold brewed coffee, all topped with melted vanilla ice cream. You won’t be adding a sprig of mint if it’s midnight, but you also won’t be taking pictures of your food.
So, now that your midnight bread pudding craving has been satisfied by B Sweet Hot Bread Pudding (ahem…found at local Target retail stores…ahem), you can worry about more important issues like climate change, the economy, or ninja attacks. Although, like I said, I’m pretty sure this bread pudding can help with the ninjas, too…
Legal blah blah blah: My fictional attorney, Bob Loblaw encourages me to mention that although I was provided samples of the product, I was not provided compensation for this review. All opinions expressed in this post are mine (with some strong influence from my wife).