One of my Grandma's most charming quirks was that she actually preferred bread heels more than the soft interior slices. She's the only person I've ever known who would request heels for a sandwich. Everyone else I know only eats the heels if there is no other bread in the house. That's definitely the case for Steve, Trevor and me.
When we get down to just the bread heels, I toss them in a ziplock in the freezer. They're handy to have if I'm making meatballs or something else that needs bread crumbs. But I don't need bread crumbs nearly often enough to keep up with the ever-growing supply of bread heels. Usually when the ziplock fills, I pull out the heels, cube them, spritz them with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle them lightly with seasonings and pop them into the toaster oven. I check them around 10 minutes, give them a good shake and pop them back in for another 5 minutes or so. We always have some of these tasty homemade croutons on hand.
That was the case the last time the ziplock bag got full. We didn't need more croutons, so I thought about what else I could make with the many bread slices. How about bread pudding? A cinnamon roll bread pudding! Yum! It was just as easy as the croutons and we all agreed it was fabulous for breakfast.
Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding
10-12 slices of bread, cubed 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
5 eggs 2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 c. milk 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
Butter a 13" x 9" baking dish. Add the cubed bread. In a bowl, beat the eggs until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the milk and the sugar. Add the spices and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the bread, taking care to moisten all areas. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top. Bake at 375° F for approximately 45-50 minutes. Serve warm or chilled. It's good either way!
This recipe is not fussy. Increase or decrease the amount of spices, change out (or eliminate) the nuts, and don't be afraid to use different types of bread (I have a mixture of whole wheat, oat bread and sourdough in this one). This is not overly sweet. Try it with a drizzle of powdered sugar glaze if you want something a little extra special.
I have some ideas I want to try for future batches of bread pudding. Stay tuned...