Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dessert for Breakfast by Victoria Hamilton

A very warm welcome to Amanda Cooper, author of the Teapot Collector mystery series! You might know Amanda for something else, though. Yes, she does write cozy mysteries as Victoria Hamilton. But that's not it.

Amanda is one of the queens of cozy giveaways. In fact, today she has not one, but two special giveaways. Don't forget to enter!


Random Observation #1:
I have a raging sweet tooth. Seriously. I have to be strict with myself, or I’d be eating cookies for breakfast, brownies for lunch, and French Toast for dinner. But then, who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?

Random Observation #2:
Recently I was reminiscing how much my mom LOVED bread pudding. Even in her mid eighties she’d make it for herself often. I suddenly thought, well, it takes bread, eggs and milk… isn’t that really French Toast in a casserole? And… if you ate it in the morning that would just be… dessert for breakfast? Or a breakfast dessert?

Random Observation #3
I occasionally buy raisin bread and Cinnabon bread, but I don’t eat a lot of bread these days, so I inevitably end up throwing half loaves in the freezer. Where they sit. Sometimes I’ll make French Toast out of them, but not often.

These random thoughts come together in today’s recipe. I have dragged out my bits of raisin and Cinnabon bread loaves, whipped up the other ingredients, and voila, dessert (bread pudding) for breakfast. Though it doesn’t need it, I’ve made a sugar free berry sauce to pour over it, just as if it was French Toast, using my Christmas gift, an immersion blender! If you don’t have one, you can use a blender or just leave the berry sauce chunky. The beauty of this recipe is, it’s readily scalable for however many folks you’re feeding, or however many ramekins you have!

Individual Bread Puddings
Yield: 2 Servings
2 cups day-old bread cubes, preferably raisin bread, Cinnabon Bread, etc.
*I actually used four slices, 2 of Cinnabon bread and 2 Weight Watchers’ Raisin bread, and it was a little too much for 2 - 12 oz. ramekins. It would easily have made 3 servings.
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 - Divide bread between two greased 12 oz. oven safe ramekins and set aside.
2 - Beat eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then pour equal amounts into each ramekin. Let the milk/egg mixture soak in for a few mintues.
3 - Bake uncovered, at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool slightly.
4 – Serve warm with Sugarfree Fruit Sauce (recipe follows), custard sauce, whipped topping or on its own.

Sugar Free Fruit Sauce

2 Cups Frozen Berries – I like Europe’s Best, which I use for my smoothies, as well.
2 Cups Water
2 tsp. lemon juice

1 – Put berries and water in pan and turn to medium/low.
2 – Simmer until the berries break down, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the berries, then using your immersion blender (or cool the mixture and use a blender, if you prefer) blend until the consistency you prefer. Simmer blended mix longer to reduce and thicken.
3 – Sweeten to your taste after you’re done cooking, if you’re using Stevia. If you’re using sugar, you must cook it with the berries. Don’t use too much Stevia because it is a powerful sweetener!
4 – Pour the fruit sauce into a glass jar once it’s cooled enough. Keep it in the fridge, but not for too long; this is not jam and will go bad. I would suggest it will keep for a few days.

Sauce Ingredients
Fruit Sauce

Bread Pudding Ingredients

Bread Pudding for Breakfast!


You could win one of two fun prize packages:

First Prize: Vintage teacup and saucer, Auntie Rose’s Tea-rrific Tea blend, a signed copy of The Grim Steeper, bookmark and a Cozy Mystery book tote!

Second Prize: A signed copy of The Grim Steeper, tea, and a bookmark.

Open to US and Canadian addresses.

Leave a comment, with some form of your name and email address so we can contact the winner! Contest ends at 11:55 PM on Wednesday, February 10th, so don't delay.


About The Grim Steeper:
The national bestselling author of Shadow of a Spout invites readers back to the Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove for more tea and murder...

Mid-October in the charming Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove means it’s time for the annual Fall Fling Townwide Tea Party. The highlight of the festivities is a roaming tea-tasting, which includes a stop at Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Sophie Taylor would like to share her enjoyment of the event with her sort-of boyfriend, English teacher Jason Murphy, but Jason’s dean has accused him of falsifying grades to help an athlete at the local college. Steamed and stressed, Jason shows up the night of the party with bags under his eyes.

But the dean shows up under Sophie’s Japanese Maple later that night, murdered, and now Jason is suspected of far worse than fudging grade reports. It’s up to Sophie, her Nana, and their friends the Silver Spouts to pore over the clues to find out who really decided to teach the dean a lesson.

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