Teens, Chocolate and Leftovers

School has been out for a week now for my 13-year-old daughter, which means she can now sleep in. This is a tween summer – she’s going to high school in the fall. She’s the youngest in her class, so she’s not old enough to work at a real job, and she’s a little too old for day camp.

She never liked camp, which is why this summer is not a camp-counselor-in-training year. As for babysitting, she has her certification. She just hasn’t met the right family yet. I know how that goes. One summer I babysat for a kid who liked to poop behind curtains and bushes. Her mother was more interested in tennis, golf and ladies who lunch. her father worked all the time. It was dreadful. I still recall chasing the kid from behind the couch to try to get her to the bathroom on time.

Thankfully, I met the Padden family or I would have been put off kids forever.

Now I am a parent, and I’m cutting her a break this summer. I’m home working on a book project, so I don’t have to worry she’ll be home watching television all day if I don’t get her to some sort of activity.

So while she sleeps in, I work. What wakes up, however, is ravenous. And I’m not a “Leave it to Beaver” mom with pancakes at the ready for when she does rise. We have a fridge stocked with yogurt and fruit, but it’s nice to have a little sweet in there in the morning. So faced with some leftover bread, I wanted to make bread pudding. The problem with bread pudding is there are just two of us. Making it in muffin tins was the perfect solution. We can have some now and freeze the rest for later. This would also be an ideal brunch dish, and so much more visually appealing as an individual serving.

bread puddingsChocolate Bread Pudding Cups

7 cups stale bread, torn or cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups chocolate milk (whole, preferably, or 1 cup chocolate milk and 1 cup cream)
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted and somewhat cooled
2/3 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
½ tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup chocolate chips, or more to taste

Coat 12-count regular size muffin pan with cooking spray or line with muffin cups. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir milk with bread to coat.

Mix sugar in with melted butter. Beat in eggs until mixture is lighter in color. Stir in vanilla. Add to bowl with milk and bread and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have it, use 3/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg). Stir into bread mixture until well combined. Add chocolate chips.

Equally distribute into muffin tin. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve warm plain, with whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Adapted from TastyKitchen.com