Well guys, it's no secret that they who love chocolate chip cookies and their like can find East Asia to be somewhat desolate. I try to not hold this country liable for its lack of sweet things, as it is quite clear that its citizenry prefers the sour, spicy, savory, and bitter sides of life (and food). As I have already said...I'm trying to not hold it against them.
So what is a girl to do when she finds herself away from everything she holds near and dear to her dessert stomach*? Here's a possibility: make bread pudding out of what I've got.
You know what? This is actually almost as easy said than done! Jena recently made heart shaped sandwiches for a baby shower we threw for a couple of adorable pregnant friends. I eyed all those leftover bread scraps and some milk in the fridge that was due to expire...the wheels turned. And after a while, this emerged.
The best part of this was eating them from the adorable silver cupcake cups Jena and I got from Vietnam for Aubrey's birthday. I stored them in the fridge, unbaked, and took them out as we needed over the course of four days. They tasted like Americana, like home.
Chocolate Bread Pudding
To maximize satisfaction, make with milk you're about to throw out and whatever bread scraps you can find. It's amazing how these things come together (bound by chocolate of course) to make your day a little sweeter. For those who thrive on kitchen improvisation (Lis, I'm winking at you...), this is your recipe, impreciseness encouraged. (All the measurements are approximate.)
1 c. milk
2-3 tbp. sugar
1/4 c. chopped chocolate (chips, bar, anything you've got...I used a couple shakes from the bag of chocolate chips)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
couple dashes cinnamon
1.5 c. bread (bread with lots of crust like a baguette is the best, but here in the woods you've gotta rough it a little with sandwich bread crusts)
Heat the milk and sugar over medium heat. Simmering is good; boiling is too much heat. Remove from heat and add in the chocolate and cinnamon; stir to combine. In a different bowl, mix together the egg and vanilla. Slowly pour in the hot milk mixture as you whisk so that the egg doesn't scramble. Toss the bread into the bowl until coated fully. Spoon into individual cups and chill for at least 2 hours, even better overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
*dessert stomach is that interesting physiological phenomenon when you have been completely stuffed by dinner, but at the mention of dessert new hunger presents itself. May be specific to a certain dessert, i.e. ice cream stomach, cake stomach, cookie stomach. Bread pudding stomach?