Made with Love
As the semester comes to a close, it's time for one last hoorah before finals week. Instead of dealing with crowds at the mall to find gifts for your friends, why not make them a delicious treat?
Since you’ll be studying all week, these recipes are quick and delicious. You can make some to give and, obviously, some to keep for yourself as a reward. Peppermint bark and panettone bread pudding are holiday classics, so it cuts out the pressure of making sure your gift is "right." Everyone loves food and the thought of taking time to bake for others. Before you give them as gifts, find some cute holiday containers and wrap them in bow.
Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup
2 lbs white chocolate
Peppermint flavorings (optional)
Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate and add peppermint flavoring, if desired. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle).
Panettone Bread Pudding
1 Italian panettone, about 1.2 pounds
Unsalted butter, for greasing the dish
3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Trim the dark brown outer crust from the panettone (optional). Cut the rest of the loaf in 1-inch cubes and place on a sheet pan in a single layer. Toast the panettone for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Grease a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish with the butter. Place the panettone cubes in the baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, vanilla and almond extracts and sugar. Pour this custard mixture over the panettone. Set aside for 10 minutes so the bread soaks up the custard. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top of the pudding.
Place the baking dish into a larger pan and add very hot tap water to the larger pan until it's halfway up the side of the baking dish. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes, until the custard is set and the top of the pudding is light golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.