Waste Not, Eat Well

Let me say up front that I stole this idea. Put another way, it’s derivative. Or if you believe that copying is a form of flattery, then what I do is an homage. However the facts are framed, the truth is that my breakfast cupcakes were inspired by the wonderful brioche bread pudding muffins from Zoss the Swiss Baker in Cleveland Heights.

I regularly buy their European style breads, and I also patronize the other great artisan bakeries on my side of town: On The Rise Stone Oven; and Lucy’s Sweet Surrender. Often the husband and I don’t make it through a whole loaf before it goes past its prime. But wasting food, an issue of pressing environmental concern, even on this small personal scale makes me feel bad. And this stuff is just too good and made with too much care to simply toss in the trash. And there’s a limit to how much breadcrumbs we can use. So I’ve found another way to recycle the bits, butt ends and crusts.

I cut what’s left into cubes, lightly toast in the oven, cool, and squirrel away in the freezer until I have enough for a batch of my muffins redux. They turn out differently every time depending on the mix of yeasty scraps in the ziplock bags. You can use any recipe for bread pudding. This is a basic one that works for me. They always taste great, with just the right amount of virtue in every dozen.

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Bread Pudding Muffins

Makes about 2 dozen

about 8 cups small dried/stale/toasted bread cubes

4 eggs

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups milk

¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup raisins, optional

1 apple peeled and minced, optional

 

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Preheat oven to 350°. Beat together eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in milk and butter.

Pour liquid over bread, stir to combine and let it sit 15-20 minutes. Add more milk if bread seems too dry. Add dry ingredients. Stir. The bread cubes should be falling apart soft and form a mushy mixture. I like to pick up about a palms-worth in my hands, lightly form into a ball and press into a muffin tin lined with paper cups. Use a spoon if you don’t like to get so down and dirty with your ingredients. An optional pan of water in the bottom of your oven as they bake gives more of a pudding consistency. Bake till done, firm to the touch and just beginning to brown.

 

Journalist and author Laura Taxel started writing about local food before it became a trend, a  movement or a scene. And she still hasn’t run out of stories to tell or wonderful things to cook and eat that are grown and produced in Northeast Ohio. We’re delighted that she’s agreed share her enthusiasms and her discoveries with a monthly blog here at EdibleCleveland.com.

Photos by Barney Taxel of Taxel Image Group