Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November Daring Bakers' Challenge - Sfogliatelle

This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge was a real challenge. Despite the relatively simple ingredients and well written instructions, this was a true challenge from start to finish!

Sandie of the lovely blog, Crumbs of Love, was our November hostess. Sandie challenged us to make a traditional Italian dessert, along with its American version – Sfogliatelle (or better known in the US – lobster tails!) The flakey, 1000 layers of super thin dough, shaped into a horn and filled with a scrumptious filling. Così buono!

I'd seen these flaky, layered cookies in my favorite Italian bakery, but, to the best of my memory, I really don't think I'd ever tasted it before.  But just looking at the photo... it was daunting! It looked so complicated and difficult!

Reading the recipe and directions, the first thing that jumped out at me is that the whole process "requires" a pasta roller - it's how the initial dough is kneaded, and how the final dough is rolled out to form the thin, flaky layers.

I don't have a pasta roller.  

No problem. Other members were having luck without one, so I hoped I would do just as well. 

The dough is actually incredibly simple. Flour, a touch of salt, and water.

The problem is the proportions.  The dough is, by design, very, very dry.

Very. Very. Dry.

According to the instructions, this very rough, very dry dough should be brought together and worked through a pasta roller many times, which works to hydrate the dough enough to make it cohesive and smooth.

I tried kneading the dough. It did not work well at all.

So I used my counter, rolling pin and body weight to create my own pata roller.

Pushing with all my weight, I was able to work the dough enough that it finally, actually, came together!

Now, it was still VERY tough, but at least it was smooth, and looked kind of right.  The dough then rested for a few hours in the fridge, then at room temperature for a few more hours (totalling overnight resting for this dough. Trust me - the time helps hydrate the dough. Don't rush it!)

I was then ready to proceed with the next daunting part - rolling out the dough.

In order to work the dough as thin as it needs to be, the dough is divided into four sections.

Each section is then rolled as thin as possible (if you have a pasta roller, use it!!) into a long, four inch wide rectangle. The rectangle is then coated with a mixture of butter and shortening (well, the recipe calls for lard... I used shortening...)...

...and then stretched even thinner and rolled up. This process is repeated with each of the four sections of dough, with each section being rolled up around the previous sections, until you are left with one greased up dough log.

This is then wrapped in plastic wrap and put back in the fridge. Overnight. Again. (yes, this took  me three days!)

And now came the fun part. Actually making the cookies!

It starts with cuttting the dough log into half-inch sections.

Then you take a few photos with some jokesters photo-bombing the whole thing...

Then I handed the camera over to daddy because I knew my hands were about to be greasy.

Each of those half inch sections is pressed, using the heal of your hand... create a cone-type shape.

Now, let me step back  here for one second. The next step is to pipe in filling.  The filling is supposed to be a ricotta-semolina filling. Which sounds amazing.  With little man's dairy allergy, I skipped that part. I made a filling using vegan cream cheese.  So what you see here is that vegan no-bake-cheesecake-style filling being piped into the dough cone.

Then just press the open end together and they're ready for the oven!

And that is where the magic happens. The layers open up, all that butter and shortening crisps everything to a nice goldenn brown, and you are left with these cool looking cookies!

A sprinkling of powdered sugar...

...and they were finally done!

I have to say - while they weren't all picture perfect, and while I know that there were a few technical errors in there (hello, gaping holes!), I was really proud of myself after making these. They were a lot of effort, but were well worth it. My in-laws told me that they were just like what they remember from fancy Italian bakeries, in looks, taste and texture. How cool is that??

Sandie, I can't thank you enough for this awesome challenge. Truly challenge, truly rewarding, this was a great challenge and you were a lovely, encouraging and enthusiastic hostess!!

And a special shout-out to my baking buddy this month, Korena! She and I spent the whole weekend messaging each other back and forth with questions and tips and progress reports - it made the whole thing so much fun. Couldn't have done it with out you, Korena!!

To see the other amazing sfogliatelle baked in the kitchen this month, check them out here.

And to see the full recipes as provided by Sandie this month, check out the full challenge here.

Sfogliatelle Ricci 
Servings: 14-18 pastries

For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm water (about 100°F)
4 oz lard (I used vegetable shortening)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
filling of your choice (recipe for what I used below)

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir in the water, or use your standing mixer with the paddle attachment. The dough will be very dry. If you feel absolutely compelled, add an extra teaspoon of water but it is supposed to be very dry. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it together, bringing in all the dry bits as best as you can. At this point get your pasta roller out and ready. Roll out the dough to about 1/3 inch (10 mm) and pass through your pasta machine at the widest setting. Fold the dough in half after each pass also change the direction of the dough occasionally. After about 15 passes the dough should be very smooth. 
If you don't have a pasta roller, this will take a lot of muscle, time and determination, but I promise, you can do it. Letting the dough stand for a few minutes after every few minutes of kneading will help the dough to hydrate a bit better, which will make it a bit easier to knead. I promise, the dough will become smooth.
Knead the dough back into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate and rest the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When you are ready to proceed, beat the lard/shortening and butter together in your mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer) until very fluffy. Make sure it is thoroughly combined. Set this aside, you will need it in easy reaching distance once you start rolling.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time (cover the other pieces with a towel or plastic wrap), lightly flour a piece pass it through the pasta roller set at the widest setting. Try to get the dough as even as possible, your goal is an even rectangle strip, about 4 inches (10 cm) in width. If needed, fold it over on itself a few times until you get an even strip. Once even, pass the dough through every setting, ending with the highest.
If you don't have a pasta roller, you will need to roll the dough by hand. A little bit of warmth is a big help in rolling the dough by hand. You can either create a heat tent by heating a pot and placing it over the dough or by gently microwaving each section as you begin to work with it. Be patient with it and roll carefully.
Whichever way you roll out the dough, you should end up with a long 4 inch wide strip. Repeat with the other three remaining pieces of dough.
Place one piece of a strip on you clean work surface and paint (or smear) it liberally with the lard/butter mixture. It might be easier to spread only section at a time rather than the whole thing at once, but you will find what works for you. Gently pull the sides of the dough and stretch it, starting from the middle and going out, until it is about 8 or 9 inches in width. Again, do this slowly and carefully. Begin from the short end and start rolling the dough into a very tight roll. When you start to reach the end of your stretched section, stop and liberally grease up another section, stretching and rolling until all the dough is finished. When one strip of dough is finished, overlap the end of one to the beginning of the other; continue to pull, stretch and roll up until all of the dough is in one rolled-up log.
Spread the lard/butter mixture over the entire finished log and starting in the middle gently run the hands down the length to extend the length another inch or so. This will release any air pockets and tighten the roll. Your finished roll should be approximately 10 or 11 inches long.
Wrap the log in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. The dough may be frozen for up to 3 months at this time. Once frozen, simply defrost it in the refrigerator overnight before using.

When you are reaady to bake, preheat your oven to moderately hot 400°F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment, remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place on a cutting board. This is also when you need your filling ready, so be sure that you have it made and in a piping bag (or plastic bag with the corner cut - whatever works!). 
Slice off about an inch from each end of the dough log so that the ends are straight and even. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices. 
Take one slice of dough and place it on your workplace. With the heel of your hand, push out from the center in one direction. Rotate the dough and do this in all four directions. This forms the dough and opens up the layers. Pick up the piece and insert your thumbs on the inside with your forefingers on the outside meanwhile gently stretch the center to make it more into the shape of a cone. You don't want the layers to actually separate. Holding the cone in one hand, squeeze some of the filling into the cavity so it is full. Lightly push the opening closed. 
Place the closed dough triangle onto the prepared baking sheet and very lightly brush the outside of each completed pastry with the lard/butter mixture (I skipped that part - there was plenty of the butter/shortening mixture on my dough so I didn't feel the need to add more.) 
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown.
Remove the trays from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. These are best served warm with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar on the day they are made. To reheat them, just place them in a moderate 350°F oven for about 5 minutes.


The filling that I made was a vegan no-bake cheesecake filling:
8 ounce container of vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until it is soft and fluffy.
Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until well incorporated and very fluffy.
Transfer the filling to a piping bag or plastic bag from which you can cut the corner to create your own piping tool.
Simple and delicious! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sourdough Kolaches

This month's Sourdough Surprises was particularly awesome, in that it was inspired by one of our members! She suggested that it might be fun to try to make kolaches, a pastry of Czeck or Slovak heritage consisting of a soft dough surrounding a sweet (usually) filling.

To be completely honest with you, I'd never heard of kolaches before this. I had to google them to get an idea as to what we'd be making.

And to make it trickier, we couldn't find a sourdough version anywhere. Sure, we'd seen references to sourdough versions, but we could not find a single sourdough-risen kolache recipe to use as our inspiration.

So this was a double challenge, as we would now all be forced to step outside of our comfort zones and either create or adapt a recipe for these treats.

Never having had kolaches before, I knew I couldn't create a recipe from scratch, so I chose to adapt one. I started with the King Arthur Flour version. To adapt the recipe, I started by omitting the yeast. Obviously.  I then looked to the wet ingredients. The easieset to look at, for substitution purposes, was the water.  1/2 cup.  Since my starter is at 100% hydration, it is comprised of equal parts water and flour. Well... by weight, not by volume. That's okay, it's close... I figured. So I thought... half a cup of water... there's approximately half a cup of water in one cup of starter... that's what I'll use. But, since that cup of starter also contains half a cup of flour, I figured I'd have to adjust the amount of flour called for in the recipe by, you got it, about half a cup.  Using these calculations and this jerry-rigged recipe, I was ready to start.

I'm pretty much going to let the photos tell the story here, because... well... there are a lot of them.

Once I'd figured out my recipe, the dough came together relatively easily, though it has a bunch of components, as this is a nice, rich pastry.  Melted butter, sour cream, sugar, eggs... and of course, our star... a cup of nice, bubbly, well fed sourdough starter.

And it's seriously just a matter of combining everything together...

...then adding flour until the douch turns into... well... dough.

The yeasted-version recipe that I was basing mine on had said that it would be a soft and smooth dough, but I was surprised at just how soft it was. I wound up needing to add about a cup more of flour than I'd anticipated, but was soon left with a dough that was super silky and soft, yet that I could shape into a ball for its overnight rest.

The next morning was when the real fun started.  My dough was nicely rested and ready to play. The recipe called for the dough to be divided into 20 equal sections. I made my job a little easier by starting with four so I could more readily make the smaller sections.

Little man tried to help me roll each section into balls. We both wound up washing our hands a lot that morning.

We soon had 20 balls of dough...

...which then needed to be flattened out.

Little man found this process to be hysterically funny.

Once the flattened dough balls had rested for another ten minutes, it was time to shape and fill them. I tried to use the back side of a spoon to create the indentations in the middle, but soon found that my fingers worked much better.

You can use any number of fillings, but I went a bit easy on myself and used jam. I used home-made peach jam to fill eight of them, pre-made grape jam for six, and for the final six, I decided to be decadent and used Biscoff.

All that was left was the streussel topping...

...and off to the oven they went!

Now, I knew that mine would take longer to bake than the recipe called for, since the base recipe had said that each of my 20 dough balls would be roughly the size of a golf ball. Mine were definitely larger than golf balls, so I had to really keep an eye. I waited until the dough got nice and puffy and golden...

...and knew that they were perfectly done.

The peach jam worked out really well. The grape... a little runny.  The Biscoff was delicious, but made for an overall pretty dry pastry, so the fruit ones definitely received the better reviews, overall. But everyone really enjoyed them and they made a yummy treat (as well as a special breakfast, too!).

The batch made so many that I even packaged a bunch up to share with neighbors and friends.

What a great introduction to kolaches, and what a fun double challenge for myself!

So how did your kolaches work out? I can't wait to see everyone's posts!

Sourdough Kolaches
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

For the dough:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup 100% hydration starter, recently fed
2 large eggs
4 cups all purpose flour (approximately)

Warm the sour cream gently, and combine it with the sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sourdough starter and eggs, and  mix to combine. Switch to the dough hook attachment and begin adding the flour. Knead the dough, continuing to add flour, until it’s soft and smooth.  This will take a little bit, so be patient. The dough will be very soft, but you will be able to make a loose ball with it. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for a couple of hours, then refrigerate the dough overnight. Note: This dough won’t rise much, so don’t worry about having to put it in a huge bowl.

For the filling:
There are many, may options for filling. I used two different jams (one homemade, one store bought) and Biscoff for my three different fillings - be creative here!

For the streussel topping:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Combine the flour and sugar, then stir in the butter, mixing until it is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.
*note: this made way more topping than I needed - I recommend cutting back a bit... or, since the streussel topping is super delicious, finding something else to top with it!

When you are ready to assemble and bake:
Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into about 20 pieces, rolling each piece into a ball. Place the dough balls on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between them. Flatten the balls till they’re about 1/2-inch thick, then cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.

Using your fingers, make a wide, deep indentation in the center of each flattened dough ball. Don’t be afraid of being decisive here; you want to make a deep enough indentation that it doesn’t just disappear as the buns rise and bake. Place about 1 tablespoon of your chosen filling into each bun. Cover the kolaches, and allow them to rise for about an hour. Don't worry if they don't rise much.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle the streussel topping on top of each bun.

Bake the kolaches about 35 minutes, until golden brown (I checked mine every few minutes starting at about 20 minutes). Remove them from the oven, and serve warm, or at room temperature.


Friday, November 15, 2013

#tributetolis #daringbakers

This is, quite possibly, the most difficult post I have ever written.

This post is a tribute to a wonderful, caring, funny person. Someone who touched the lives of countless people all over the world.

If you remember way back to my first posts, the whole reason that I started this blog was so that I could join the Daring Kitchen.  Since that time, I have completed 90 challenges, hosted two, and written several product and cookbook reviews for the site overall. I have learned so many things, from different cooking techniques to different world cuisines. I've also made countless friends. Good friends. All because of the Daring Kitchen.

And the Daring Kitchen was able to thrive because of the dedication, love and commitment of its founder, chief and backbone, Lis.

This week, we suddenly and very unexpectedly lost Lis. The Daring Kitchen lost its leader, the world lost an amazing person, and I lost a friend.

I can't find the right words to put here. I've been staring at the screen for a very long time just putting together these few sentences. There is nothing I can say to make sense of this. She was young. She was vibrant. She genuinely cared about each and every member of the group that she started. She was funny. She was a good person. And I can't believe that I'm writing a post about her in the past tense.

As painful as it is, as difficult as it is to understand, we (Daring Bakers, Daring Cooks, bloggers, family, friends and anyone who was touched by Lis) wanted to come together and pay tribute to the person behind the scenes. Through writing, through cooking, through baking - whatever helps.

I made pretzels.

These pretzels are made based on the first challenge that Lis ever hosted for the Daring Bakers back in November of 2006. They were the basis for the whole group, for the whole reason I have a blog at all.

So I made pretzles to honor a friend gone too soon.  To celebrate a life lived for others. To honor all of the love she put into everything she did. To honor her family and friends who are hurting so much right now.

The best way I can honor my friend is to try to help her legacy live on, which is what I will do.

Today, I do that with pretzels.

Lis, you will be forever missed. And forever remembered.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November Daring Cooks' Challenge - Sopa Castellana

Our November Daring Cooks’ hostess was Begoña, who writes the beautiful blog, Las recetas de Marichu y las mías. Begoña is from Spain and didn’t want to go with the more common challenges of paella or gazpacho, she wanted to share with us another very popular recipe from Spain that we don’t see as often called Sopa Castellana which is a delicious bread soup!

Our hostess provided us with several delicious looking (and sounding) recipes, but the real requirements were that we make our own stock, use it to make a soup, and include a bread element. The recipes that were provided all looked delicious, but I wasn't sure if the kids would eat them, so I went pretty simple, in order to make something the family would enjoy.

I started with stock - chicken stock, to be precise.

And while the stock simmered away, I prepared a simple bread dough to make baguettes.

Once the stock was strained, I used it to make a simple chicken and corn soup. And once the baguettes were baked, I prepared my bread element - I sliced one of the baguettes into rounds and rubbed each round with a cut piece of garlic (adding a tiny garlic sliver to the top of each, as well). I then popped the rounds in the oven for about 7 minutes to toast them up a bit.

Three rounds into the bottom of each bowl, a hearty and healthy serving of soup right on top...

...and dinner was served!

My version is a bit more like... chicken soup with giant (soft-ish) croutons, but it was tasty! We always have our chicken soup with noodles, so this was a change, but it was a nice one, and everyone really liked the garlic rounds with their soup.

Thank you, Begoña, for this challenge - I hope one day to try the full, flavorful recipes that you provided, and I appreciate the opportunity to try something a little  bit different.

To see the full challenge, take a look here.

To see the other soups cooked up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Caramel Glazed Apple Bread

Happy Monday! And happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day!

This month's assignment brought me over to Family, Food, and Fun, a delicious blog written by Rebekah, an absolutely amazing woman. She has five absolutely adorable children and cooks and bakes beautifully. Reading her blog, it seems that we have similar approaches in how we feed our families (as much from scratch as possible and as many "real" ingredients as possible), so flipping through all of her posts was both fun and moutwatering.

I had a hard time (as always) choosing what to make, but found myself repeatedly drawn to her Caramel Glazed Apple Bread. Full of apple-y goodness and drizzled with caramel, how could I go wrong?

The only changes I made to the recipe were to eliminate the dairy aspects from it to make it a bit more little-man-friendly. While it does contain eggs, he can eat those baked into products like this. But I don't like to push my luck, so I like to try to make substitutions where I can. In this case, it was pretty straightforward - replace the buttermilk called for with coconut beverage. No problem. And I omitted the (optional) nuts, as well. Oh, and I took Rebekah's suggestion to add a bit of vanilla extract to the recipe - yum!

Little man helped me combine the dry ingredients...

...while I cracked the eggs and grated the apples.

The batter came together super easily, and was soon in the loaf pans, all ready for the oven.

And they baked up beautifully, all golden brown and yummy looking.

The only thing left to do was to make the caramel sauce. Now, the recipe calls for butter and milk. No problem, I thought. For the milk, more coconut milk. For the butter? I tried coconut oil.  Melt the coconut oil, add brown sugar and stir, stir, stir.

Umm... yeah. We had a bit of a problem.  The coconut oil melted easily. But the brown sugar didn't incorporate with it. No matter how much I mixed. All it did was...

...burn. Ew. Thank goodness it was a nice, mild day around here - I had to air out the house!

But a bit of fresh air (for the house, for the kids and for me, too!) gave me the breather I needed to try again. This time with Earth Balance buttery spread.  This time it worked, and I had a delicious sauce ready to drizzle all over the now-cooled breads.

Oh my gosh, this was delicious. The bread itself is moist and delicious, with a nice apple flavor. And it isn't overly sweet, either - which is perfect, seeing as the caramel sauce is absolutely decadent.  They pair together beautifully and make for a super delicious treat. We had this for dessert after dinner, then again for breakfast the next morning.

And I absolutely loved the color of the crumb of the bread - slightly pink and absolutely, invitingly appetizing.  The second loaf went directly into the freezer so that we can enjoy it in a couple of weeks as a delicious treat.

Rebekah, thank you for your delicious and inspiring blog - I am so impressed with you and already have a list of other recipes I plan to make from your blog! (Including these S'mores On A Stick - I had something like that at a fair over the summer and they are so fun!)

Caramel Glazed Apple Bread

For the Bread:
1 1/2 cups apples, grated and peeled apples (I used Jonagold)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used coconut milk beverage)
1/4 cup canola oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil)
1/4 cup applesauce
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups white whole wheat flour (I used all purpose)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:
2 tablespoons butter (I used Earth Balance buttery spread, a vegan alternative)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk (I used coconut milk beverage)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease bottoms only of two loaf pans with cooking spray or butter.
In a large bowl, stir together apples, the 1 cup of brown sugar, buttermilk (coconut milk), oil, applesauce, and eggs.  In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until moistened.  Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
While the breads cool, prepare topping:
In a small saucepan, melt butter (or substitute) over medium heat.  Stir in the 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  Heat until boiling, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low.  Boil and stir for another 2 minutes.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling; remove from  heat.  Cool for 10-15 minutes. 
Gradually stir powdered sugar into glaze mixture.  Stir in additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, as needed, if mixture is too thick.  Beat until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.  
Drizzle glaze over loaves. 
Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to four days or refrigerate up to ten days. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Wow - a non-challenge post? Shocking! 

I know I keep saying we've been busy, but that's not really a good excuse. Yes, I'm still cooking and baking, but I feel that I've been in a bit of a blog rut. And for that I apologize. But I promise I have not forgotten about you, and I greatly appreciate that you are here reading this. Thank you!!

So, I know how it sounds... vegan bread pudding... honestly, only the hard-core vegans I know find the thought of it appealing. I mean... the whole idea of bread pudding is the custard, rich with eggs and milk (or, even better, cream!). But when one member of the family is allergic to those two key ingredients. well, it just doesn't seem fair to load up a dish of deliciousness with things he can't eat.

Believe it or not, this recipe is super easy. And tasty enough that non-vegans like it!!

It starts the way "normal" bread pudding starts - with bread. Lots and lots of bread, all cut up into cubes.

And then we go to the "custard." Only, in this case, it's not custard. It's coconut milk (or whatever milk you choose), maple syrup and spices.

If you're lucky enough to have a cute baking assistant, by all means, have him help you mix together the "custard."

Once the bread soaks up the "custard," mix in some mashed bananas and chocolate chips.

Then just smoosh everything into a  sprayed loaf pan.

Yes I said smoosh.

Trust me, it's what you have to do.

Into the oven, everything all toasty and golden...

...then all that's left to do is to wait for it to cool... and to find someone brave enough to taste it. A lot of people were a bit... put off by the word "vegan" in the title.

But then they tasted it.  And were shocked. This is very rich and very, very delicious. With pockets of chocolatey and banana-y goodness mixed in, this is an absolutely delicious treat. That you can even have for breakfast, if you are so inclined... just sayin'...

So call it allergen-friendly if you must, but definitely give this a try - I promise you won't be disappointed!

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

6 cups 1″ cubed stale bread (about 1 lb)
1 cup chocolate chips
3 ripe bananas, roughly mashed
2-2 1/4 cups rice milk, almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk (I used coconut milk beverage)
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder or tapioca flour (I used cornstarch)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place cubed bread in a large bowl.
In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of the milk you are using with the arrowroot powder (cornstarch) until no lumps remain. Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk you are using, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Pour over cubed bread and stir to coat every piece. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes for liquid to soak into bread. Depending on what kind of bread you use and how stale it is, you may need to add a bit more milk - just do so slowly, then allow more soaking time till every piece of bread is saturated and there’s a little bit of extra liquid. Mixture should look mushy and wet. Fold in chocolate chips and bananas. Pour mixture into loaf pan, patting down to make an even top.
Bake 28-35 minutes till top is puffed, slightly browned and feels firm. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving. Also pudding can be scooped with an ice cream scoop when slightly cooled.

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