With the impending blizzard, I decided E and I could use a little hibernation food. I went through my recipes and came up with Caramel Banana Bread Pudding. It’s the first recipe submitted to the website, thanks Vicki! [No, it’s not my mom who submitted the recipe! Nuh uh! No way! No how! Ok. You’re right. It was my mom. But hey, help a girl out and submit one yourself! Seriously, I need some new recipes – tell me what to make next!]
I read through the ingredients and immediately realized this was going to give me diabetes. It’s bread, layered with chocolate and caramel, topped with more caramel. Oh, and butter. But, to be fair, there is a banana some where in there too. So, that cross cancels some of the sugar, I think. With that in mind, I did some quick math and realized that my daily calorie allotment is 10,000*. So really, this is like diet food.
* Note: I should mention, math is not my strong suit.
You have a decision to make. This is not a cheap recipe. It’s not a fast recipe. It’s not an easy recipe to make. It’s definitely not a healthy recipe. But it tastes amazing. Does that negate all the previous downfalls? (Recipe here, from EveryDay with Rachael Ray Magazine.)
Ease to Prepare:
This wasn’t overly complicated to make, once I figured out what the recipe was asking me to do. Basically you’re making five little caramel and banana sandwiches and then cutting them up (Don’t get hung up on the “cutting it into three triangles” bit. Cutting it into quarters tastes just as yummy.) and arranging them into a glass baking dish. It’s messy and mildly time consuming more than anything else. Also, remember to leave time for it to chill before you put it in the stove. Prep time, chill time, and bake time combined – it’s a several hour prep. It’s great that she mentioned that this can be made and chilled for up to 12 hours before baking – a really great idea if you want to serve it to company.
I happen to think Rachael Ray is notorious for complicated instructions. I love her cookbooks and her recipes, but you have to break through the clutter. There were a lot of unnecessary steps and confusing instructions. Here are a couple you can avoid:
- I hunted for brioche and couldn’t find any. Instead I bought Tuscan bread and it was still amazing. I think you could get away with almost any bread (not wonder bread or a heavy grain bread), so don’t stress out about that.
- I didn’t salt the caramel and banana sandwiches. The amount of sugar in this was already scaring me, I figured we didn’t need to add in extra sodium too. I know salted caramel is all the rage right now, but guess what? It was still decadent and amazing even without the extra salt.
- I’m not sure why she says to chop the chocolate chips. I did it and dirtied a chopper for no reason. It all melts down and becomes ooey and gooey, so as long as you’re not working with a semi-sweet chocolate bar, I think you’ll be ok skipping the chopping.
- Like I said, don’t worry about her “cutting it into three triangles” instruction. The point is to cut the bread down so they can be arranged easier in the pan.
- I’m not sure what she’s talking about with a “craggy top.” I laid most of the pieces down flat and then – to make it fit – squished a couple in there vertically, with the crusts pointing up. Again, don’t worry too much about this. It will all taste the same whether your crusts point up or not.
- I also poured butter over the top of the bread after the milk/egg mixture. I think that was just to make sure she had the fat content covered. Sugar, salt, fat. (Oh and cholesterol. Four eggs!?) Check, check, check. I also think you could skip this part.
- And finally, she says to serve it with ice cream. Your call, you could do that. But I think it’s rich and gooey and yummy without the ice cream. I did want a little somethin’ somethin’ with it though, so I did a teeny tiny bit of whipped cream.
All the irritation and time put into this recipe is worth it in my opinion. The banana is subtle (in fact, I wish I had put a little more in!) and plays off the caramel and chocolate so well. It’s smooth and gooey and the bread isn’t soggy at all. It’s nothing like the bread pudding I grew up with – definitely good enough for company! You’ll want something to cut the sweetness though. A glass of milk or cup of tea, maybe even a coffee to work with the chocolate.
Making the little sandwiches with the dulce de leche made a mess of my counter and the chopping of the chocolate was an unnecessary step to clean up after. You’ll also need a sauce pan to make the caramel to drizzle over the top at the end, but none of it is really hard to scrub up.
I decided to give this two dollars, mostly because it calls for some fancy shmancy ingredients – and ones that are kind of hard to find at that! I had a hard time finding the dulce de leche, but ended up tracking it down in my grocery’s ethic food aisle. It’s not expensive (I think it was a little over $2 for a 13.4 oz. can), just hard to find. I am so sad that I’ve lived my whole life without this in my pantry. It’s amazing and I’ll be adding it to my list of “staples” (right behind avocados).
It also calls for challah or brioche bread. I know what those breads are, but apparently none of my local grocery stores do. I ended up using a loaf of Tuscan bread because it was soft and had a nice crust to it. Tuscan bread is nothing like brioche. Brioche is an egg-based bread, and Tuscan bread doesn’t have any eggs in it. Moral of the story? Just find a nice soft loaf, it’ll still be amazing.
Thanks, Mom, for submitting this recipe! It was amazing. And I won’t be using the snow blower tomorrow – instead I have to go burn off some bread pudding calories and shovel by hand. #totallyworthit