Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding w/ Chocolate Chips (Vegan and GF)
So I finally caved and I’m putting out a Pumpkin Spice recipe! I felt like it was selling out just a bit but I can assure you it was worth it! Although this time of year pumpkin spice emerges in far too many places I felt the need to share my first pumpkin spice creation this season: Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding with Chocolate Chips. Why bread pudding? And why add chocolate? First off I love bread pudding. It’s just so pleasant. I hope you can relate. It can be served warm with toppings or eaten cold out of the loaf pan (not speaking from experience here) and it hits a warm ’n fuzzy spot in your soul either way. Plus its bread, enough said there. For this version, I went gluten free! I do love myself some gluten (i.e. sourdough all day, everyday) but I had a loaf of gluten free bread lying around and I figured it would be perfect to use in this application because even if the gf bread was slightly dry it wouldn’t matter once turned into pudding magic. I’m all about finding gluten free desserts that work out better than their gluten boasting alternates because everyone deserves good dessert! And I was super content with the results here, it all turned out just as I'd hoped it would. Feel free to use any bread for this recipe; I've always used whatever bread was about to go stale for my bread puddings and I have yet to be let down.
A couple of weeks ago I remembered bread pudding, as if a lightbulb came on reminding me that it’s the time of year for warm, soul satisfying desserts. I immediately knew I had to satisfy the craving. So I finally got my act together in this last week and found some time to put this bad boy together. Part of me wanted to make it the same way I have been making it the past couple years, which, to be honest I’ve never measured anything I’ve put in my bread puddings nor have I always remembered what I used the previous time BUT they always seem to turn out delicious. I guess as more of a savory chef I like the version of baking where I don’t have to measure much and I can use my instincts to create something wonderful and new. This time around I wanted to bump up the nutritional value of the dessert and also incorporate the seasonal vibe and I could not help but visualize pumpkin, spice, liquor and bread marrying quite nicely. What I learned is that the pumpkin provides another level of richness and flavor to the texture and taste and it’s pretty awesome. Plus what a great way to get some plant power in! The chocolate makes an appearance (and I almost forgot to add it in!) because it reminds me of the pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins my mom made me as a kid and I never quite got over how much I loved that combination. To be fair I am a chocolate-on-everything-advocate.
I hope you thoroughly enjoy this creation as much as I did. Also, there are ways to make this fancier. Slice and pan sear in butter you say? I’m all ears. Add vegan vanilla ice cream or coconut whipped cream?! See my “optional” tips at the end of the recipe. As always, let me know how it goes be it success or failure. I love to hear from you, happy cooking and happy fall!
Roughly 3 cups cubed bread, I used GF this time (Approx. 1/2 in cubes)
1 cup puréed pumpkin
1/2 c coconut milk
3 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Frangelico
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
Preheat your oven to 350. Place the cubed bread in a large bowl and pour the frangelico over top of the bread somewhat evenly and toss with hands to coat a bit more, set aside. In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and whisk to combine. You can add another dash of frangelico to this mixture if you want. Allow this pumpkin mixture to sit for a couple minutes so the flax meal can start to “bloom”. While this is blooming coat a loaf pan with either coconut oil, vegan butter or if you choose a nonstick spray. Pour the mixture over the bread and combine until evenly coated with a spatula. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour mixture into pan and spread evenly with a spatula and lightly press down the top smoothing it out. Bake at 350 for about 35 min. Cool and serve.
Options: You can slice the finished product and eat it straight away as is or you may top with a little vegan vanilla ice cream or coconut whipped cream. If you want to get fancy you can heat a skillet and add vegan butter and heat a minute over medium-high heat until butter starts to brown and then pan sear a slice of the bread pudding a couple minutes each side until it starts to caramelize and brown around the edges, then top with topping of choice. Enjoy!