Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Bread Puddings

This recipe was far more time consuming for a vegan than it would have been for a non-vegan, but it's so worth the effort! The reason is that the original recipe called for Hawaiian sweet bread. This bread, typically available in the bakery section of the grocery store, is made with eggs and milk, and I could not find a store-bought version that catered to the vegan consumer.

I didn't let that stop me though! How hard could it be, after all, to make Hawaiian sweet bread at home? Further, the recipe I found online to adapt made use of a bread machine, so it gave me a wonderful opportunity to try out the bread machine I received over Christmas (thanks Dad!).

So first I'll tell you how to make your own vegan Hawaiian sweet bread, and then I'll tell you how to make the puddings.

In the basket of a bread machine, combine 1/4 cup room temperature plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/4 cup softened vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), 1/2 cup mashed banana, 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, with juice (such as Native Forest), the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G), 1 teaspoon coconut extract, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/3 cup raw sugar, 1/2 cup instant potato flakes, 3 cups bread flour (lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife), and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast.

For the potato flakes, Whole Foods' 365 organic brand is 100% dehydrated potato - no butter etc. added. Also, I only had 1 banana at home, which yielded 1/4 cup mashed - but I crossed my fingers that this discrepancy wouldn't impact the final loaf too much, and it doesn't seem to have mattered.

Check your bread manufacturer's instructions, but the order in which I've listed the ingredients above is typical - wet ones, then dry ones, than the yeast on top - the yeast shouldn't touch the wet ingredients!

Set your bread machine to "light crust" "sweet bread" and "1.5 pounds", then sit back and watch it go! It should take about 3 hours, but unlike handmade bread, you just get to relax while the machine does all the work. My crust actually came out a little too blackened, but since this was my first time using the bread machine, I wasn't fazed by a little error - and the interior of this sweet bread was perfect.

You'll only need 1 and 3/4 cups of the bread (cut into 1/2-inch cubes) for the puddings, so save the rest for another use. I highly recommend sandwiches using vegan deli-sliced 'ham', which marries well with the pineapple flavor of the bread!

Now we can move on to the pudding...

Place the cubed bread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, until toasted.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine 2/3 cup plain soy milk (I used 3/4 cups by accident! Luckily this is less than a 1-ounce difference), 2 tablespoons raw sugar, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, 1 tablespoon Kahlua (yes, vegan, as per the company), 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, and the equivalent of 1 egg. Stir well with a whisk. Add the toasted bread, and toss to coat, then cover and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. I let mine chill for about an hour.

Divide half the bread mixture evenly among 2 (6-ounce) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Coarsely chop 1 ounce of dark chocolate (I used Newman's Own organic). Divide half of the chopped chocolate evenly among the ramekins. Repeat the layers (i.e. the second half of the bread mixture and the second half of the chocolate).

Place the ramekins in an 8-inch baking dish, and add hot water to the pan to a height of 1 inch. (Note: I find it easiest to do this using boiled water from a tea kettle). Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes. Dollop 1 tablespoon of vegan whipped cream (such as Soyatoo) over each pudding and serve while they're still warm!

Each pudding is 320 calories. This makes a perfect romantic dessert for two.

banana $0.28
canned crushed pineapple $3.19
instant potato flakes $1.99
Kahlua $24.99 (for a big bottle, the rest of which I intend to make into vegan mudslides!)
dark chocolate $2.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance