I was the best kind of teachers pet in school. For I did my work, got good grades, followed all the rules (never once getting detention or discipline of any kind), was helpful when asked but was not a suck up. But I was not a teachers pet in Junior High PE. Now I love sports, the only problem is we never did any sports I liked in Junior High. The problem was that both the girls PE coaches were competitive runners, doing marathons often. They were under the delusion that everyone else loved to run as well. I guess that is why our Track and Field Unit lasted most of my 8th grade year. We also ran the mile every Friday…in AZ heat, when I had 7th hour…that’s right, the peak of the heat. Plus they were insane to think that we could all run a mile quickly. You could not get an A if you did not run in 6:30 or less. Um, yeah, I was around the 8 minute and something mark. This body was not built for running. So needless to say I did a lot of extra credit work to keep my grade up in that class.
One day they said we were doing something special and NO running would be involved. I was beyond excited. I was up for almost anything at that point. That was until the said Square Dancing….with the boys PE class. Square Dancing? Touching another persons hormonal sweaty hand while dancing? Ew. I let them know my feelings and in return I got the horror of my life. My group of four nerdy girls got stuck with the stoner boys. I was mortified. Half the time they didn’t show up to school let alone for gym class and now half of my grade was depending on this. I was also told NO extra credit since no running was involved. I must have been pretty scary because I laid down the law to them that the darn well better get their butts to class every day or they would answer to me. It worked. They showed. They sucked. We would barely touch fingers.
I got what one might call the leader of the stoner group, A, as my partner. Hair down to the middle of his back and his perpetual red eyes. Luckily he never smelled of pot but always stunk of cigarettes. We learned the steps but were told that if we didn’t show some enthusiasm we would be marked down at the Jamboree.
The day came where we were to compete. My stoner boys were not there. Crap. Finally they strolled in. Brains fried beyond belief. Normally I would have been pissed, but this one time it worked in our favor. As these guys went full out Square Dancing dork. Slapping their legs and full on holding our hands and smiling the whole time. Me and the other girls just went with it. We won the blue ribbon that day and got an A+ for that unit.
My AZ friend sent me a newspaper clipping the other day. Apparently my former stoned square dancing partner now runs a multi-million dollar company. There was a picture of him, all clean cut with his wife and two kids. It made me chuckle out loud and reminded me that you never really know where life is going to lead you.
What does this have to do with bread pudding? Well when I baked the bread I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it. So you could say I didn’t know where the loaf was going to lead me. I thought about French Toast with some caramelized bananas. But while rummaging through my pantry I saw a bag of marshmallows. Mmm, S’mores. And then it hit me, I should try to make a S’mores bread pudding, so I did.
First you do have to make the bread which will make your house smell like hot chocolate got poured on it, so yummy. Then you chop that up, throw on some graham crackers and chocolate chips. Bake and top with marshmallows while still warm to get them to melt. Top with some chocolate syrup and you are in serious business.
Speaking of not knowing where life will lead you. Tomorrow is the US Presidential election. If you haven’t voted yet, PLEASE go and vote tomorrow. Don’t let long lines discourage you. Don’t believe fliers that tell you to vote on another day. Don’t believe that you will be arrested or any of the other BS that has been floating around. Tuesday, November 4th. That is the day you vote. So, go vote!
S’mores Bread Pudding
1 Guatemalan Hot Chocolate Bread (recipe follows)- cut up into square pieces
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 graham crackers
¾ cup mini chocolate chips
2 cups marshmallows (give or take, the amount is really up to you)
Butter a 8-x-8-inch pan.
Whisk together the heavy whipping cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, egg and vanilla extract. Set aside, this is the custard mixture.
Sprinkle bread pieces on the bottom of the pan so that the pan is covered. Break graham crackers in to pieces and sprinkle evenly half of them on top of the bread. Sprinkle evenly half of the chocolate chips as well. Add 1/3 of the custard mixture and press bread down so that the custard soaks in. You may need more custard depending on how dry your bread is. Then add bread pieces again, followed by remaining graham crackers and chocolate chips. Add another 1/3 of the custard mixture and again press the bread down to make sure all the bread pieces get soaked with custard. Keep adding the custard until all of the piece are soak through with custard. You will most likely have both bread pieces and custard left over, feel free to make a mini one.
Place dish in a water bath and bake at 350F for 1 hour. After the first 20 minutes, place aluminum foil on top of the bread pudding to prevent the graham cracker pieces and top of the bread from browning too much.
When the bread pudding comes out of the oven, immediately spread marshmallows on top to allow them to melt. You can use a kitchen torch or place under a broiler to get the toasted marshmallow look. Top with chocolate syrup and serve warm.
Guatemalan Hot Chocolate Bread
make 1 round loaf
4 TBSP unsalted butter, chilled
½ cup whole milk
2 tsp dried yeast
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coffee extract
¼ cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Cut butter into dime-sized pieces and set aside to reach room temperature.
Warm milk slightly in a small saucepan an d pour into bowl of your stand mixer. Add yeast, 1 TBSP of the sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix with a whisk to dissolve yeast, then let bowl sit for 5 minutes while yeast blooms.
Add remaining sugar, coffee extract, eggs, cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Using the hook attachment, mix on low speed for about 2 minutes to bring ingredients together. Switch to a medium speed and start dropping pieces of butter into the dough. Continue mixing for 12-14 minutes. Dough will look satiny and stingy. Let dough rest of 5 minutes.
Pull dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface and form into a ball. Place ball in an oiled, medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let proof in a warm room, 70 to 75F, for 2 hours. Dough will almost double in size.
Remove cover and place dough back on floured work surface. Flatten dough with your hands to release excess air bubbles. Pull edges of dough onto the top, repeating this action until you have formed a tight ball. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place ball in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm room for 1 hour. Loaf will almost double in size.
While loaf is proofing, preheat oven to 350F.
Remove plastic wrap and place baking sheet on center rack of oven and bake for 1 hours. The finished loaf will be deep brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Adapted from Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook by Leslie Mackie