Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding

Recipe by Libbie Summers from The Whole Hog Cookbook (Rizzoli)
Linen Napkins:Shiitake Linen Napkin Set available at Libbie Summers label
Linen Apron Dress: Atelier Apron Dress in black linen available at Libbie Summers label

Creamy, organic, salty and just a little sweet. It’s everything you will ever want in a side dish. Substitute this bread pudding for your usual holiday stuffing recipe and you’ll probably never make the other again.
Pro Tip: Up the bacon if you are feeling so inspired. Omit it to keep it vegetarian…but why?

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Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding
serves 6

What you need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound thick-cut bacon, chopped
1/2 cup white wine (can substitute chicken stock)
1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped (I use a mixture)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 cups day-old challah bread, crusts on, torn into cubes
Warm Sage Butter (recipe to follow)

What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with the butter and set aside.

2. Cook Bacon: In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it is crisp. Remove the bacon to a bowl and set aside.

3. Cook Mushroom Mixture: To the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the wine or stock to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits as you stir. Stir in the mushrooms, garlic, shallots, basil, parsley, sage, and thyme. Sauté for 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and browned. Remove from the heat and stir in the bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Finish Bread Pudding Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, 3/4 cup of the cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.  Stir in the mushroom mixture and transfer the pudding to the prepared baking dish.

5. Bake Bread Pudding: Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the top and bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the pudding is browned and the center has puffed up.

To Serve: Serve warm drizzled with Warm Sage Butter.

Warm Sage Butter
Yields 3/4 cup

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add the sage and simmer for 3 minutes.

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Let your food inspire your table decor.
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And always feel beautiful while you create beautiful and delicious things…always
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Atelier Apron Dress in black linen available at Libbie Summers label.

 

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Chocolate Saltine Double Toffee

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

My Aunt Darlene used to make a version of this midwestern holiday treat when I was a kid. She called it her “Special Toffee”. It wasn’t until last year that I knew there was a cracker inside. Some call them cookies. I prefer to think of this as Aunt Darlene’s Special Toffee 2.0. I’ve taken her recipe and raised it a toffee. 

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Chocolate Saltine Double Toffee
makes one quarter baking tray/24 crackers

What you need:
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
24 salted saltine crackers (or you can make these using  a 1/2 sheet tray and use a full sleeve of saltines. The rest of the recipe will work with either amount)
3/4 cup Chocolate Heath Toffee Bits
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a 1/4 baking sheet tray with foil and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Get a timer ready!!
2. Arrange Crackers: Line the baking tray with the crackers in a single layer.
3. Start Toffee: In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat add the butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Once the mixture has started to boil DO NOT STIR. Allow to boil for 3 minutes only. Pour the hot mixture over the tray of crackers and spread to cover crackers if you need to (I never need to). Bake for 5 minutes.
4. Add Second Toffee: Remove tray from oven and spread toffee bits over the bubbling mixture. Return to the oven for 2 minutes.
5. Add Chocolate: Remove tray from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes until the chocolate chips are almost completely melted. Be patient! Once melted, use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top.
6. Rest and Cool: Let the tray sit at room temperature for 30 minutes (this will help the crackers soak up all the goodness) then refrigerate until hard.

To Serve: Remove from foil and cut into uniform pieces or break apart into irregular pieces (I prefer to break apart). Package in a cute vintage tin for a lovely gift from the kitchen.

Check out these other Easy Candy Making Recipes! 
Chocolate Nut Clusters: Recipe or VIDEO
Homemade Tootsie Rolls: Recipe or VIDEO
•Beautiful Bark: Recipe and Video 

 

Chocolate Nut Clusters

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

If you interested in giving candy making a try, I’d like to introduce you to this Chocolate Nut Cluster recipe. It’s a very forgiving recipe that is as delicious as it is beautiful. Bonus, it’s my father’s favorite holiday candy! The recipe makes two dozen and let me tell you 6 of these make a perfect gift, so give away 3 gifts and keep one for yourself! Happy candy making! 

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Chocolate Nut Clusters
(makes 24)

What you need: 
1 pound white candy coating, chopped
6 ounces milk chocolate chips (can sub bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (can sub bittersweet chocolate)
2 1/2 cups dry roasted and salted nuts (I used 1 1/2 cups cashews and 1/2 cup peanuts)
Maldon Salt (optional)
Chipotle chili powder (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

What to do:
1. Prepare Trays: Line four 1/4 baking sheet trays or two 1/2 baking sheet trays (whatever will fit into your refrigerator) with waxed paper and set aside. *note: if you don’t have enough baking sheet trays, use any flat surface that you have that will fit into your refrigerator. Plates, platters or whatever.
2. Melt Coating and Chocolate: In a pyrex bowl set over a sauce pan of simmering water (a double boiler), add the candy coating and chocolate. Heat until melted and smooth.
3. Cool Chocolate Mixture: Remove the bowl from the double boiler and allow the chocolate to cool for 5-10 minutes. This step can not be skipped. Allowing the chocolate cool for a few minutes help keep your clusters together when you scoop them out.
4. Add Nuts: Stir nuts into the slightly cooled chocolate. 5. Scoop and Set: Using a small portion scoop (about a heaping 1 tablespoon size), scoop the chocolate nut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet trays. Sprinkle the tops of each cluster with a wee bit of salt, chipotle chili powder or sprinkles if you like. Refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

Try out these other Easy Candy and Sweet Snack Recipes!
They make great gifts from the kitchen! 

Homemade Tootsie Rolls
Beautiful Bark
Homemade Caramel Corn

Quick Craft: Patchwork Ornaments

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

This year, the holiday season is about all the the heart thumping cozy things that make this time of year special. No big box stores or mall shopping for me (in all honesty, nothing has changed there). This year I’m decorating my tree with homemade bits and bobbles including these Patchwork Ornaments. I’ve been collecting fabric scraps for years from old clothing and family heirlooms (like my grandmother’s bed sheets) that just couldn’t take another wash. Coupled with some of my new favorite fabrics from Rifle Paper and a modern nostalgic craft is born.

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Patchwork Ornament
(makes 1)

What you need:
1 smooth finish (not that rough styro) styrofoam ball (any size, I used a 4″ diameter ball)
Craft Brush
Mod Podge Glue Sealer (or make your own by mixing 1 cup white glue with 1/3 cup water)
Cotton fabric scraps cut into small squares (thin cotton is best, I cut mine into 1″ squares for the 4″ diameter ball. The larger the ball the larger the squares)
1 Screw Eye (size will depend on the width of ribbon you are using for hanging)
Ribbon for hanging
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What to do: 
1. Brush a thin layer of the Mod Podge glue sealer onto a small area of the ball. Apply one of the fabric squares to that area and coat the top of the fabric square with another layer of the glue sealer. Line up the next fabric square to the last square and top with a coat of the sealer. Continue around only half of the ball…applying the glue sealer to the ball and then topping with the squares and sealer (I only do 1/2 of the ball at a time because it’s easier to hold. The process can get sticky, this keeps your hand free and clean). Allow to dry (2-4 hours).
2. Continue the process with the other side of the ball until the ball is completely covered in squares. Allow to dry overnight.
3. Screw the eye screw into the ball.
4. Thread the ribbon through the eye screw and tie in a knot at the top.

To Use: Hang on a tree, decorate a package, tie on a doorknob or just fill a beautiful bowl with them.

PS Have a bandana collection? Try using bandana fabric
Cotton fabric scraps cut into small squares (thin cotton is best, I cut mine into 1" squares for the 4" diameter ball. The larger the ball the larger the squares), bandana crafts

More Holiday Crafting Ideas Here! 
DIY: FUN HOLIDAY WREATHS

12 Handmade Ornaments to Trim Your Tree

6 Unique Handmade Holiday Garlands

DIY: Pom Pom Tree Skirt

•Handmade Stockings

 

 

 

 

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